Have you ever wanted to be a tabloid writer? Now you can live the dream!
Adopt the persona of a right-wing tabloid writer who has realized that climate change actually matters and wants us all to do something about it. The writer should still sound like a tabloid writer though, with all the same political inclinations and such - they've just realized global warming matters, or may conceivably matter, or, even if doesn't, we're still better off getting off fossil fuels.
See the three examples below. Note: it's not satire! The idea is to really appeal to people who don't believe in climate change, or don't think it's important, and to communicate why it is and why it's better to do something about it than not... and to do that in a voice they enjoy.
Winning bits will be part of a climate-change-oriented, New York City-centric tabloid website and devious email campaign we're launching this month - and we'll send you something nice in the mail, too.
Pieces should feel at home in a tabloid (funny, angry, etc.), should be about climate change (the disastrous effects, cool initiatives to fight it, etc.), and should be fully based in reality. Again, not satire! (Please include, with your submission, any URLs that will help us to see how it's based in reality, if it's not obvious.)
Articles can be as short as 80 words, and no longer than 600 words or so (if they're longer that's ok, but we'll probably have to shorten it), have one of those funny blaring headline with puns and weird shortenings, and be simultaneously dramatic and possibly funny and ABOUT REAL THINGS. See below for a few ideas.
We also need ads and cartoons (see below).
Winning entries will go on a website we're helping to launch in August, and will be used in a devious email campaign shortly afterwards. They'll also receive a cool prize in the mail (of your choice, pretty much, within strict limits).
The sooner you can get them to us, the better - but August 15 is our deadline!
- Whoa! Official New York City study shows climate change really scary after all! (There really IS such a study, by the way....Here it is: http://www.nyc.gov/html/om/pdf/2009/NPCC_CRI.pdf)
- How gov't inaction is screwing us! We're screwed, because the pols are taking their fat-cat paychecks and doing what?
- Putting up a solar panel, getting a bicycle, etc. is a way of screwing over the "big guys" with their massively subsidized coal and nuclear plants, etc. Nuclear is big gov't at its worst, gets the most subsidies! Gov't needs to subsidize me and my solar for a little, not nuclear and coal for a LOT
- We don't have to get energy from the Middle East - I can get all the energy i want right there in my back yard, and there's no terrorists in my backyard
- They keep talking about energy independence from the Middle East - what about energy independence from that power plant over there?
- Real "Joe the plumber"-size companies now profiting off sustainable investment - especially interested in a New York City slant
- Many horrible statistics but in fun, easy-to-digest diagrams etc. - weather report?
- Wacky human-interest stories - like this one, which happens to be about freeganism
- The (real) ways that New York, for example, is fighting back - with real initiatives and subsidies and so on (e.g. "cool roofs," green roofs, etc.) and with cool big new projects (e.g. turbines in the East River)
- How I used to be a climate change denier (and probably still am) but then realized it was a pretty good bet. I mean maybe climate change isn't real - since 97% of scientists believe it's real, it's a trend, and therefore probably false - but I'm starting to think it's better to have been right and over-reacted than wrong and totally screwed. Or, if you do believe in it, to be wrong and over-compensated than right and quite fully dead... Wait, let me explain more simply.
- The REAL victims of climate change will be the [choose local team]. Because if climate change gets really bad, the stadium may not be underwater, but the hordes of "climate refugees" will mean no one will have time for sports!! Hell, we'll have to house people in stadiums, and we all know how good THAT is for sports.... Here's one story already along those lines!
- Fat cats get rich while pretending to do good, with carbon offsets and carbon trading (we can get the real inside scoop on that)
- Also many fun elements - police blotter with stuff like "10,000 cars parked in bike lanes last month"
- The biggest oil spill in the country is in Green Point, New York City!! Lots of tabloid outrage about that.
- All the cool new technology there will be - that who cares if it's good for the planet, it's going to be COOL! "So many things are possible! Why are we stuck with this crap, cars that break down and stink and so on?"
- If we DON'T lead the way, China will
- Some guy figured out if you put a magnifying glass over a solar panel, it makes it work better. Duh. Any kid who's burnt a bug could figure THAT out. we need some serious R&D money so that we can do something more than just advanced bug-burning. article, video, diagram
And of course it'll have lots of ads - either
- real ones for the cool thing of your choice (a pre-owned bicycle ad modeled on a tabloid car ad, etc.) or
- crazy funny ones like a "Gear Up for Summer" Hummer ad in which Hummer says, like, "Yeah, we're making for an endless summer, but so what! We've got A/C." or whatever
There can also be all kinds of cartoons, op-ed bits, etc. etc. etc.
For inspiration, pick up your local tabloid and read through it. Think weather report, police blotter, local heroes page, celebrity gossip page, sports page... The possibilities are endless! Let your imagination roam!
Again, the only criteria are that they should feel at home in a tabloid, and they should be fully based in reality.
Can't wait to read your submissions!! Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Yes Men and friends
p.s. Here are a couple of examples we threw together, just so we'd have some examples. They can be funny:
FREEGANOMICS: DUMB DEAL OR SMART MONEY?
What kind of dummy eats out of a dumpster? The shocking answer to that question, coming after an exhaustive investigation, is... NONE. As it turns out, even the most dread-locked patchouli-wearing "freegan" isn't so dumb after all. As we discovered in a day-long study of this wackiest of urban customs, we're the dopes, not them!
"Freegans" are people who will only eat other people's discarded foods. They go around scouting dumpsters and back alleys for scraps of burgers, day-old bread, and – in New York – stuff the rest of us can't afford, like caviar and croissants.
The word itself is a mix-up of the American word "free" and the pseudo-French word "vegan." "Freegans" claim to be eating waste so that they don't become part of the so-called "problem" of what they call "endless growth" and "throwaway culture."
Yup, sounds like elite-speak to me too. But it IS true (according to the ultra-liberal EPA, at least) that the average American produces about 4.4 pounds of garbage every day, or 1,600 pounds a year. That sounds like a staggering number, but get this: Mexicans waste even more, 30 percent more in fact!
Finally, a REAL reason to shut down the border!
Our investigators thought the EPA stats were a conspiracy, but the deeper they dug, the deeper the doo-doo: with the garbage produced in America alone, you could form a line of filled-up garbage trucks and reach the moon. Or cover the state of Texas two and a half times. Or bury more than 990,000 football fields under six-foot high piles of waste. And so on.
But here's the real shocker: according to WM Recycle America, LLC, Americans throw away enough aluminum every year to duplicate the full commercial air fleet of the US.
Speaking of air fleets, most of these "freegans" believe in climate change, too, and they say there's a "trickle-down" effect from our billions of tons of food waste: it ends up in landfills, where it decays into methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times worse than the dreaded carbon dioxide.
Now I'm not saying "climate change" really exists - but if it does, America's waste is bad news for all of us!
So the next time you see a skanky "freegan" eating out of a dumpster, go up and congratulate him (or her!). He might be saving your skin. And for your part, you might want to clear your plate like your mother told you. Whether or not the scientists are right about climate change, there really are kids starving in Africa, and America throws away enough food every year to easily feed 100 million people.
possible illustration: http://blorbis.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/freegan2.jpg or http://images.businessweek.com/story/08/600/1009_mz_freegan.jpg
with caption: "It's what's for dinner" or "Eat Sh** and Live!"
They can be very dramatic:
Baseball Clobbered by Climate Catastrophe asks Commish
NYC Baseball commissioner Bud Selig cried foul yesterday at the results of a report released by New York City Department of Environmental Protection.
"Babe Ruth would be rolling in his waterlogged grave," said Selig at a packed press conference at his office on Park Avenue and 46th Street, flanked by Hizzoner, A-Rod, and Yanks owner George Steinbrenner.
The report's spelled doom and gloom for Yankee Stadium and Mets Stadium, which were flagged as the most likely structures in Gotham to house climate refugees driven out of lower Manhattan and coastal areas of Brooklyn if sea levels rise up to 18 inches. This is the lower number predicted by a recent study from the Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies (COAPS) at Florida State.
The reports worst-case scenario, which Selig says gave him "palpitations," predicts a Big Apple bereft of subway series, box seat corruption scandals, and summer game nights unless world leaders in Copenhagen hit an out-of-the-park agreement this December pushing at least a 70% global reduction in C02 emissions. At the press conference Hizzoner said the city might have no other options for housing the 140,000 city residents whose apartments and homes could be flooded by the rising tide.
Gotham's baseball fans were left wondering how many more strikes it would take before the ugly scenes played out at New Orleans Superdome four years ago become as common as high taxes and MTA fare hikes.
"What am I going to do, sell hot dogs out of a canoe?" asked Marta Rivera, a Fordham resident who has been selling franks and cold beers at Yanks Stadium since it reopened in 2008.
Carmine Notaro, whose son plays in a junior league that sometimes uses Mets Stadium for spring training games, gave the report a Bronx cheer, and accused the Commissioner of giving in to "liberal global warming flim flam."
"But even if we do have to evacuate Sheepshead Bay, why can't they put 'em up at Arthur Ashe?" Notaro asked, referring to the fabled Queens tennis stadium, home to the U.S. open.
In true New York fashion, others are seeing opportunity in the potential bonanza that a new tent city at Yank Stadium might bring. Tent & Trails, the popular downtown outdoor emporium, is reporting a run on its inventory, with sales up 40% since the release of the report.
"We live in Battery Park City, so better safe than sorry," said Tony Chang, a Hunter College Prof wearing a Mets cap who was sizing up tents on a recent afternoon. "I'm from Sunnyside though, so maybe I'll just move back in with my folks."
NEW YORK’S ALL WHITE!
They used to call it the tar beach. The roof where New Yorkers hung out to keep cool in the summer was pitch black. But dark roofs absorb heat, and the asphalt on top of the city’s buildings can hit an ouchy 180 degrees on a scorcher.
So these days more and more Big Apple residents are turning their roofs white. A light-colored roof reflects the sun’s heat. It helps keep the rooms inside cool without the need to run expensive air conditioners 24/7. And as thousands are discovering, cool really is the new cool, in more ways than one.
Studies show that white roofs can reduce air-conditioning costs by 20% or more.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu, has been pushing his “Make it White” campaign for years. Now manufacturers are following his lead, producing shiny white plastic skins for use when re-roofing. Chu reckons that in two decades every roof in the nation could be made from the energy saving material.
Alfredo and Maria Scarlatti installed the new roofing on their four bedroom house in Ozone Park last fall. This summer is the first time it’s been put to the test. “It’s great,” says Alfredo, 63, standing proudly in his front yard, “We never need the air conditioning these days.”
Maria, 57, agrees. “We’re using the money we’re saving to take our grandkids on a summer vacation to Newfoundland,” she says. Now that's cool.
These are just examples - there are many other kinds of things to write, but they should be based on reality. The only criteria are: they should feel at home in a tabloid, and they should be fully based in reality. Please send your submissions to email@example.com.