A few years ago, I published an article in Cracked.com. It its inception, it began as a straight forward article about the ups and downs of working as a paranormal investigator. Mostly the kinds of people you encounter, the filthy environments (sitting around in roach-infested basements, etc.), and the sheer boredom of something that is edited to look a lot more exciting on Halloween TV programs.
I used to be a Cracked addict. I loved that website. I read all the articles, going back as far as they had an online presence. I never really read the magazine much when it was in print because it just seemed like the kid at the party trying really hard to be MAD Magazine. But the website was a daily dose of hilarity that was a little bit more ridiculous than the Onion. When I found out they would pay $100 for articles, I was stoked, so I submitted a query and heard back from them almost immediately.
The editing process was long and frustrating. It went from a funny article that people could read to a Huffpost-esque List of Five Things That are Mind-boggling! Or somesuch. The process, as I call it, was akin to the digestive process of chewing something up, boiling it down to a bunch of crap and then passing it out the other end. They kept telling me “No jokes!” Which reminded me of playing GI-Joes with my cousin Cory, who always used to get mad at me about throwing comedy into fighting Cobra. (He was a very serious kid.) Come on! He had the Raven stealth bomber, which just sets itself up for jokes about “We’re bombing them, but they don’t know it.” To my 12 year old mind this was hilarious to think of a giant plane dropping bombs on people that were exploding all around them and everyone going about their business because of stealth.
But I digress. (My apologies to my dear cousin too).
After the jokes were removed and the article was turned into a list, three edits later and the addition of captions with some really weak-sauce jokes, the article was Cracked-out. I got a ton of hits, but before it could hit the bonus million hits within a week that would have paid out another hundred bucks, they pulled the article and then put it back up again. The interesting thing was how the comments section generated such hate for the paranormal community. As well as anything that was outside of the cult of Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye, or anyone else the intellectual elite could throw at superstition, religion, belief in the paranormal, and all with such rancor and animosity I realized what the majority of the audience of this website was like.
They missed the point entirely. It wasn’t supposed to be about finding proof of ghosts or the the existence of an afterlife. It was supposed to be a funny article about people who had a sex castle set up in their Nebraska house, complete with webcams and filthy mattresses, but their primary concern was ghosts. Along with other stories of equal absurdity.
Recently, the online magazine lost its main writing staff. Everyone just quit at once. Or were dismissed. I don’t know. The site is now choked with cookies, pop-ups, and is about as plagued with bandwidth sucking viruses as a bit-torrent site of the newest Star Wars movie. Which is why I didn’t link the article.
That and I also feel like I’ve grown as a writer since then. Also also, because what the article became is mostly the editor’s voice and not my own. So, meh. Anyway, since they published my article (read fact-filled list with jokes in captions and a hate-fueled comments section), the magazine really started to fall apart. I think I might have had something to do with that. Well, me and the pure Social Justice Fueled Evangelism it became infused with.
So, in the spirit of list articles, I think this is an appropriate list.
6 Reasons Cracked.com Sucks
- The general consensus of the content of the magazine makes the assumption that everyone who reads the site is in lock-step with the opinions and agenda of the “writers” of that content. Which is so left of center most of the time now that the Communist Party of California asked them to water it down a little bit.
- Only a handful of movies ever existed: Among those are Back to the Future, Star Wars, the Goonies, Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, Ghostbusters, the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, the Breakfast Club, and Home Alone. Any actual relevance of these movies is to point out how rape culture has plagued the Cis-gendered heteronormal patriarchy, or why the 1980s were ironically genius, or why you are an idiot for liking these movies. Which considering the number of times the people writing these lists must have watched these movies, reminds me of the reclusive kid in school who hates the cheerleaders, but made a shrine for them in his bedroom out of their old socks.
- Clickbait that will blow your @#$%^& mind!!! Hyperbole is just dishonest when it is done to entice readers of some really lame factoids. Hence my title for this post.
- Viruses, cookies, ads that will crash your browser. Seriously, you are better off using your mom’s AOL browser to surf porn sites.
- Smug narrative voice on content that was stolen from other websites. Usually tinged with comments about why you are a terrible person for liking the things you do, why you are secretly a racist, bigot, misogynist, xenophobe, all the while opening up the possibilities of how much better your life and the world would be if you were more like them. The agenda is not only indoctrinating, but also didactic. So funny!
- The constant, pervasive, continuous use of the word “Dong.” SMH.
So, I’ve stopped ranting about the site. And stopped reading it. I don’t need to be told I’m a moron for believing in God, how my enjoyment of The Running Man makes me a homophobe, or how a website that used to make people life is now educational and informative “fact-based” tidbits first and foremost. I don’t really care about making counter-cultures mainstream. I don’t care about the hipster mentality of making something mainstream and then tisk-tisking people for If I wanted a lecture, I would sign up for master’s classes, not read a website that used to be based on satire and fart jokes.
So, I’m just gonna say No to Cracked.