My Favorite Annual Wrap-Up

How many ridiculous Top 10 lists are we subjected to at the close of each year? Top 10 Britney Spears Moments; Top 10 Recipes Starring Rutabega; Top 10 Mash-Ups of Songs That Sucked to Begin With. The only time of the year that seems easier to broadcast “news” than the month or two leading up to a Presidential election is that period when no one cares whether “news” is new, and instead everyone decides to make one last buck on everything of which they’ve already made hay. Revive a couple of hackneyed stories while all the real news people are on vacation in Aruba. But today, my favorite annual round-up is hitting the Interwaves: Fark’s headline competitions.

I’m going to assume that if you’re a friend of mine, you probably know this site. If through serendipity or random link you’re here, though, I’ll briefly describe the site: Fark was started by Drew Fark and is a collection of various daily links and Photoshop contents. Each submission of a link is captioned by a headline invented by the submitter (and supposedly, sometimes improved by the admins), and is categorized (e.g., Hero, Fail, Assinine, Florida, Cool, etc.). I know how many sites this sounds like, but the subscribers to Farkers are legion and the wit is second to nothing I’ve ever experienced on the Web.

At the end of each year, there is a vast voting competition. They have a voting thread for “context” links, which are funnier if you read the article, but most of the contests demand that headlines be self-contained — funny regardless of whether you follow the link to the story. My favorite voting is for the best of the Geek tab. In the space of a dozen entries, I found references to math, geometry, music, Fantasy Island, pop culture, computer programming, and more.

A couple examples of why these competitions make me giggle:

  • Patent office rejects perpetual motion machine that was rejected by the patent office that rejects perpetual motion machines that are rejected by patent offices
  • Multitasking DOING ONE THING is for people AT A TIME who don’t like WORKS to think BETTER too much
  • British health advisor recommends giving twenty five year olds sex education, but class sizes should be no bigger than that
  • Tattoo may help track blood sugar, da plane
  • Winners for the first International Longest Tweet contest announced. Unfortunately, the longest entry was a 3,748,839,101-way tie at 140 characters
  • Scientists find first ever southern tyrannosaur. Say it’s distinguished by its love of NASCAR, tendency to monophthongize diphthongs
  • Computers cannot replace scientific thinking, says obsolete bag of meat
  • New drug treats both brain and prostate cancers simultaneously, which is good news for your boss

Not into Geek headlines? How about Sports, or Politics, or Business? Go to any one of these, and you’ll be able to click the “More Surveys” link at the top to choose from among the topics – don’t worry if you can’t choose, because the people submitting these links are way too smart to resist crossover.

The thing is, I’ve run some of these headlines past other people and come to the conclusion that if you don’t get it right away, there’s a pretty good chance that you won’t think it’s funny when you finally figure out the reference. Maybe the headlines appeal to the geek in me … maybe I like one-stop shopping for my news and memes … maybe I just like the getting the jokes. In any case, I say “bravo,” Drew Fark. And fark you.

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