WINOOSKI – If you haven’t spent any time in the comment section of Vermont’s premiere, locally sourced, organic satire site The Winooski, you may be unaware of the fact that the site is both funny when it shouldn’t be, and also not funny at all. Facebook and Twitter commenters are especially astute observers of how inappropriate and humorless the site is, and has always been.
“As funny as this might be, this is not something we should be joking about,” says one reader. “Profoundly unfunny,” says another. “What the hell is this crap?” asks a confused follower unfamiliar with the concept of satire. “Is this supposed to be funny?”
Satire, like so many of life’s most delicious pleasures, is in the eye of the beholder, at least according to site founder Adam Hall, who says that he tries to be as funny and as un-funny as possible in each article.
“If you think the comments are bad, you should see the e-mails we get,” Hall says. “I don’t even write all the articles, but since I’m one of the only ones to put my name on the site anywhere, I tend to get blamed for most of them. But I do try to make sure to upset everyone equally. Satire isn’t always ha-ha funny, sometimes we try to make a point. But when we do try to say something about society or life in general, we definitely want to annoy as many people as possible.”
According to Hall, it all starts with the headline. Each day time is spent crafting a sentence fragment that will instantly bother anyone who sees it in their feed, and then it is shared as widely as possible. “Once we get them in a huff, we hope they will click on the link, which will take them to an article that will not amuse them or, if it does amuse them, it will be in a way that makes them upset enough to write to us. Honestly, we’re just very lonely and we like the attention. And people are much more likely to have a conversation with us when they are upset, versus when they are satisfied with our work. And look at the world today. I think people genuinely like having something to be upset over. Most of my social interactions come from people yelling at me on Reddit.”
For anyone looking for something to be upset over, you can subscribe on their site to The Winooski for twice-weekly updates, which can then be complained about via firstname.lastname@example.org.