“quis custodiet ipsos custodes”
What is the Nevada County Scooper?
First off, what kind of dolt reads a manifesto? Answer we do and apparently so do you. So congrats.
The Scooper is a satirical website is in scope and intent. Sometimes it’s funny; often it is not. It provides social criticism in a satirical, sometimes news-genre setting. Sometimes it’s just plain-old crappy writing with a few bad jokes.
We are not a “fake news” site, but rather an entertainment one. Fake news is propaganda and we’re just a bunch of smart asses. Our intention is not to fool or trick anyone, but obviously it happens. We firmly believe that you can soften a person’s willingness to listen by injecting irony and humor into the conversation.
Liberal? Conservative? Authoritarian? Anarchist? If you think you’re seeing a slant, check your bias. More particularly, check your confirmation bias, which seems to be the chief plague currently consuming the Internet. More than likely, and this is true for smart and dumb people, you’re going to see what you want to see, or worse, what people tell you to see. (We like to exploit that weakness…you’ve been warned.)
We’ve found that many people are confused by the satirical genre, often believing that it is supposed to be funny. Although that often is true, satire is primarily a medium of criticism that employs irony, criticism, juxtaposition and hyperbole to illuminate the issues of the day. In recent years, television shows such as the Daily Show have injected non-satirical humor into their formats, which has probably lead to the confusion. This is why the Scooper’s first commandment is: Don’t try to be funny. Humor is a byproduct of the Truth.
Here at the Scooper, we are undoubtedly use satirical mechanisms, but in a more conservative style in the spirit of Mark Twain and Jonathan Swift. We are not trying to be fake, nor “real.” For no one ever accused Adventures of Huckleberry Finn or A Modest Proposal as being real insofar they are representations of notable events and persons. Part of the confusion seems to stem from the Scooper lampoons the news genre, largely through the medium of Social Media. This certainly could be the source of this incertitude, whereas with a novel or even a television show the reader/viewer has a different set of expectations and a different kind of suspension of disbelief.
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Often, satire directs the reader’s outrage at the author, which frees his/her mind to be more receptive to the message in the material. In the Social Media world, this outrage can be amplified by sensational images and headlines, where you’ll find readers taking great offense to a Facebook post without ever having read the article. However the effect and the benefits are the same: as the reader projects his/her anger onto the author/picture/headline, they exorcise (as in exorcism) certain cathartic energies within him/her, generally freeing their more rational minds to explore the content of the writings. Here are the Scooper, we call this cognitive disruption whereby the reader is alienated, or freed, from the constraints of their biases and irrational emotions. Both Lou and Fink are students of author and playwright Berthold Brecht, who championed a similar theatrical mechanism called the alienation effect or the a-effect (Verfremdungseffekt). Whereas Brecht wanted audiences not to connect and empathize with the characters in his plays, the Scooper wishes to disruptively alienate people from what they perceive as the news.
That’s all you get. Want to know more? Write for us.
The 13 Commandments for Good Scooper Writing
- Don’t try to be funny. Humor is a byproduct of the Truth.
- Only write about what you know. Write one true thing, followed by another.
- Be brave
- Don’t be afraid of no.
- If you think you’ve gone too far, you haven’t gone far enough. Row harder. Then row even harder.
- Attack people’s behavior, not the person. Unless they deserve it, then attack the person. Sometimes they do.
- Choose snark over mean-spiritedness
- History has a Liberal bias over the long-term; Conservative in the moment.
- Use lots of dialog. Tons. Let your characters tell the story, not you.
- Mercilessly attack Penn Valley, CA at every chance. They like it as most hostages do.
- Try to re-use the Scooper’s large cast of characters in your articles, when possible. Fans love Moonash, Brock Whalen, Tommy Empire, Merrilee Longshoes and Janet Williams, despite her eye make-up issues. There are more than 60 and growing.
- Thou shall not ever mention Dr. Oz in a positive way. The chief goal of the Scooper is to eliminate him from Earth.
- Remember you are telling a story. There’s a beginning/lead, with a hook, a middle narrative and lastly a wrap-up. People tend to remember the last thing you said. Make it count.