Can a Parody News Website Work in City Where Real News Is Already a Parody?

When the real news is the joke news, it's only funny for a moment.

Well, that didn’t take long — just eight days, by my count. That’s how long it took the newly launched, Onion-style Dallas parody news site Dallas Brisket to go from making up funny fake headlines about local events to just printing stuff that actually happens in Dallas.

If you missed it, Dallas Brisket launched on August 25 with a few laudable headline zings. “After Three Weeks, District Attorney Susan Hawk Found at Her Desk,” read the inaugural headline, quickly followed up with “Wylie H. Dallas Stops Giving a Sh*t After Reading Facebook Comments.” Not bad. They made me laugh.

I wondered how long our new online yuk monkeys would be able to keep it up. By the end of the week, they were firing a few blanks, like “Dallas Girl Spotted at Kung Fu Not Wearing Designer Stilettos.” Ah, yes, we get it. Uptown is funny. But the problem with that joke is that it isn’t really Dallas-specific. It could be rewritten as, “[Enter city] Spotted at [Enter Chichi Bar Everyone in Said City Makes Fun of] Not Wearing Designer Stilettos.” But it was the first week. We could let a few misfires slide.

Then this happened yesterday. A city worker showed up at a soccer field in Lake Highlands, tore apart the soccer goals, and tossed them in the creek. Why? Well, like those prison guards at Nuremberg, he was just following orders.

Here’s CBSDFW’s headline for their story: “City Worker Destroys Youth Soccer League’s Goalposts.”

Here’s how Dallas Brisket handled the news: “City Decides Polluting River Preferable to Minorities Playing Soccer.” Then they made up some fake background story about the incident.

The story poses a dilemma. When Dallas news is already comedy, how do you make fun of it? Brisket’s answer: you just punch-it-up a touch. Only the problem with the story about the goal posts is that it isn’t really that funny. A Latino youth league lost their goalposts because of some idiotic code drone followed an idiotic code rule that didn’t allow parents to build their own goal posts so their kids could play soccer in a public park that didn’t provide goal posts in the first place. And then the worker tossed the goal posts in the creek. That really happened. This is how our city works.

I’m happy to see Dallas Brisket trying to bring some levity to local politics, which, like those Bar Politics events, will hopefully help to get this city’s younger residents more engaged in how this city works. But I think Dallas Brisket has to sort out a difficult conundrum. When the real news is the joke news, it’s only funny for a moment. Then all the joke does is make reality feel all the more depressing.

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