There’s a lot of news to report out there in the world. With the internet being a technology that bridges the gap between people we are now able to report on absolutely anything, and we do. With this we are able to read about stories we maybe would have remained ignorant about, which is a good thing; it means we’re being introduced to new concepts and ideas, as well as the various hardships people from all over have to live through every day.
But then there are stories that are simply a gigantic waste of everyone’s time.
This article is about one of those stories.
United Press International is a news outlet very much like Reuters or Associated Press: they gather together their own original news articles and distribute them to various news outlets for publishing. Just today I came across one of their recently released news articles on AOL News. The entire article is only 127 words long, yet it might be one of the most useless news stories ever published. I encourage you to read the article, which you can find here, and lose your faith in journalism along with me.
The title of the article is “Celebs boost mustache interest”. On the surface, this seems like it would be one of those fluff pieces that local nightly news shows would save until the final thirty-seconds of the telecast so you don’t go to bed a depressed sack of shit that has dreams of rapists on the loose and earthquakes destroying the world. It seems like it would be an article about how a recent trend in celebrities growing mustaches has inspired non-celebrities to grow mustaches of their own. It wouldn’t be a substantial news piece by any means, but we all enjoy a tasty little bit of non-news mixed in with our real news every so often. If that’s what the article was about, it’s forgivable. It’s just a small piece of cake that’s meant to be eaten after a substantial, nutrient-rich meal of important news.
The article isn’t about that, though. It’s about something much dumber, and something a grand total of zero people care about: it’s about how one (just one) costume shop owner from Ohio is stocking his shelves with 60 fake mustaches (as opposed to the 12 he normally keeps on hand) because of, and I quote, “Justin Bieber’s March 5 Twitter announcement about growing out his mustache and Miley Cyrus’ fake mustache during a March 3 appearance on ‘Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.’”
If you were to read the entire article (which would take you approximately 3.8 seconds, from beginning to end) you would do the same thing I did, which was to wonder if I had just read one of those great articles from The Onion where they treat a normal, boring everyday occurrence as some kind of all-important, earth-shattering news event that requires nothing short of journalistic excellence.
Reporting what one dude in a costume shop in Ohio thinks about the potentially lucrative future of the fake mustache industry because some pathetic teenaged pop stars recently discussed or sported one on TV is exactly the same as never having reported on anything at all. To go back to the news-as-food analogy, reporting on a random guy putting a few more fake mustaches on his shelves is the news equivalent of thinking about eating a slice of cake after dinner, but then opting to shit in your own mouth instead. You went from the guilty pleasure of empty calories to the shame that comes along with munching on your own ass-trash.
I wish the costume shop purveyor nothing but the best of luck, and I hope he was right in predicting the fake mustache boom we’re all going to be trying to cash in on in the coming months. I hope by this time next year his foresight has him living in Hawaii for the rest of his life as he sails the seven seas on a rhodium-plated yacht. UPI, or, more specifically, the person that wrote the article, can burn in the 9th level of journalism hell.