I must admit that there was never a point in my time at college where I would have considered the possibility of making a part of my career by writing informative satire. But whether it be for good or naught, my countless time browsing Cracked.com seems to say that there indeed is a popular niche in the internet for such a calling. Any repeat reader of the site should know at least a couple of names of columnists by heart, whether it’s because the reader directly likes their work, or if their work just happens to coincide with the reader’s interest.
For me, my go-to columnists are typically Michael Swaim and Wayne Gladstone. I particularly like Gladstone because his articles have never failed to interest me, and his “Hate By Numbers” video series has been a favorite of mine for years, so his work will be the primary topic of this post.
Gladstone’s topics are usually focused on oddities within the mainstream media, pop-culture, or simple, everyday annoyances that are agitating enough to warrant an article on them.
Also, his post counts are usually in the range of 1500 words or so, but word counts may occasionally drop into the 700’s. View counts and comments can be all over the board, so it’s hard to tell if there is a rhyme or reason to one article’s popularity over another’s.
Seeing he has been writing for years, and keeping in mind that this is for a journalism class, I decided to mainly choose a few examples of articles/videos that relate more to this profession, and only put in a couple irrelevant ones for the sake of a better overall picture of his work. As I mentioned in the initial post discussing Gladstone as a potential topic, his work isn’t always the most work-safe, so those of weak constitutions, the easily-offended, and anyone with young children may wish to exercise caution.
Gladstone’s articles are almost invariably satirical, but he occasionally has moments where he drops the humor and flat-out says his opinion, especially regarding controversial topics. A specific instance would be his response (which earned almost 283,000 hits and 1100+ comments) to a particularly controversial article eulogizing Amy Winehouse.
A more topical post he made recently was “3 Types of Wall Street Protesters Hurting Their Own Cause,” which garnered over 811,000 views, and has over 2200 comments ( (at the time of writing). This was, and still is, an article with an extremely active comment board, with people arguing for all sides of the argument with extreme passion. One criticism was that the article wasn’t even all that funny, as one poster going by the handle of “flibflab” said, “This is by far the WORST Cracked article I’ve ever read. First of all, it tries to be serious on what is supposed to be a HUMOR site.” Flibflab went on to criticize the rest of Gladstone’s article, and was in turn criticized for his comment. Alas, such is the nature of internet comment sections.
But it begs the question: Should a website that usually known for humor only write for humor, or is actual commentary something to be embraced?
Another article I felt could contribute at least marginally to writing in this class is Gladstone’s article about “The Five Most Overused Jokes On the Internet,” which, as a blogger, is something decent to take into consideration. Like using crossed-out text, making posts about someone’s “TMI” moments, or using the terms: “interwebs” or “Series of Tubes.” I’m actually guilty of a couple of them, though I easily use my status as a fledgling blogger as a cheap crutch.
Not directly related to journalism, but intriguing because of it’s interesting aggravation of inconveniences and its rampant success are his “7 Obnoxious Behaviors That Should Be Punishable By Death, ” which earned an astounding 1,017,085 views and 2,211 comments at the point of writing this article.
With “Hate By Numbers,” Gladstone takes clips from news segments, music videos, movie trailers, etc, and counts off the issues he has with the clips, using a variation of cheap props, skits, straight satire, as well as a number of his videos even include cameos by his wife and his own children (a notable appearance by his daughter is in HBN 51, about Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” but that one is a little more crude than I’d like to directly discuss in this particular post).
The view counts for his “Hate By Numbers” are far lower than they should be because he has had videos hosted on a couple separate sites, so the numbers are a little skewed. As a quick example, I later mention Hate By Numbers #4, which originally had over 500,000 views, and because of its reposting, is currently down to a “meager” 23,000.
In HBN #75, Gladstone takes on a story done by Fox News about Congressman Donny Rehberg from Montana defending a statue of Jesus as not being a religious icon. I’ll let that sit for a minute. A particular point to add is that there is no counter-point to the discussion, just advocates for the statue, and none against.
To even the criticism of the mainstream media, in HBN #54, Gladstone discusses an CNN report with Anderson Cooper about a Wisconsin district attorney threatening to sue teachers who comply with a state law mandating them to teach sex-ed in schools. The pivotal problem raised by Gladstone is that Cooper never actually asks how it makes sense that a DA would bring people to court for upholding the law actually in place.
Two “Hate By Numbers” not directly journalistic in nature, but still got a very respectable number of views/comments are #39: Black Eyed Peas Write the Worst Song Ever, and #4, about Kid Rock. I chose these in particular because I mostly agree with what he’s saying, I find them hilarious, as well as the absolutely hilarious comments both have gotten in defense of the respective artists. There are mostly supporters for what Gladstone is saying, but as anyone familiar with Youtube knows, the comment sections are, well, a joke at best.
So notwithstanding if you, my largely non-existent readers, like Gladstone enough to check out more of his articles, or if you find him to be inexcusably offensive, that is entirely your call and that’s totally fine, and please feel free to leave a message on this blog why exactly that is.
That about covers it, so in a most respectful parting rip-off (homage if anyone else asks) of Gladstone, this is Electronic Blogging Endeavors, and that’s all… for now.