The people that brought us “Alan Rickman Ends Pizza Delivery Order With Ominous ‘So Be It'” and countless other hilariously bizarre fake news stories (that a lot of people still think are real) are launching a new website this June that promises to go after that distinct slice of 21st century media that manages to be both compulsively clickable and extraordinarily irksome (we won’t name any names). Enter: Clickhole.com, the BuzzFeed and Upworthy (whoops) parody website of your dreams.
At the press event held in Midtown yesterday, The Onion, who unfortunately up and left New York for the far lesser city of Chicago in 2012, previewed a few sample headlines from the new site, including “Which Pizza Should I Have For Dinner Tonight? Sponsored By Pizza Hut,” a slide show entitled “Six Kinds of Hay” with no words, and a video called “What This Adorable Little Girl Says Will Melt Your Heart,” which ends up being an explanation of how brands monetize cute kids, spoken by an adorable child. Onion News Network anchor “Jim Haggerty” (who is also the host of the criminally underrated parody food series, Porkin’ Across America) described the site as “putting content and sponsored posts side by side, with barely any distinction between them.” In addition, this quote from the Dalai Lama was projected on the wall: “A life spent in service to others has no purpose without a strong social media presence that raises brand awareness.”
You get the idea. Clickhole will be an extension of The Onion’s recent interest in mocking “shareable content” and sponsored journalism (some examples: “10 Sandwiches That Look Like British Novelist Martin Amis,” and “10 Reasons Falling For Shameless Clickbait Makes You A Bad Mother”). And even as online satire becomes an increasingly niche sport, nobody plays the game like these guys.
In other words, there are One Billion Reasons We Are So, So Excited For The Onion’s New Parody Website, not the least of which is the possibility that, as these types of content farms multiply ad infinitum, they’ll be forced to make the choice between drifting into Internet obscurity (remember ebaumsworld and cheezburger?) or turn themselves into bona fide media behemoths, complete with—gasp!—actual reporters (lookin’ at you, recent-years BuzzFeed)! Because when the default reaction to a shared Upworthy link becomes less of an “OMG” and more of an “ugh”, sites like these are going to have to choose: continue being mocked, or find a better, more substantial way to attract Internet eyeballs.
Word comes alongside the happy news that our favorite (and the only!) Brooklyn-based women’s magazine parody Reductress.com has relaunched their website. One geographically appropriate standout: “Brooklyn’s New It-Girl, Brooklyn, Dons Brooklyn’s New Brooklyn-Inspired Trend,” in which fictional It-Girl “Brooklyn Graham-Wythe,” known as “the Belle of Bedford” and “the darling of Driggs” launches the fashion line Née in Brooklyn. Tragically, it does not exist, (because we would totally be all over that).
Follow Rebecca Jennings on Twitter @rebexxxxa