Fake AP Stylebook (and other hilarities)

I don’t normally promote twitter feeds, but the fake AP Stylebook is one of my faves.  Here are my fave entries (in random order):

  • Advice columns should avoid the following phrases: “justifiable homicide,” “purifying flame,” “just cut it off.”
  • The plural of apostrophe is “apostrophe’s.”
  • It is not necessary to refer to the Mountain Time Zone. There will never be a story from there.
  • Avoid reader confusion about whether Africa is a country or a continent by never writing about it.
  • Write stories about American Idol as if winning leads to real success rather than careers like Ruben Studdard’s or what’s-her-name’s.
  • irregardless – The process of watering crops with lack of regard.
  • Having the right word is much more satisfying than just sleeping around with any old word that comes along.
  • Do not use the phrase “sources have said” unless you can’t get any real sources to say anything.
  • expert – 1. A person knowledgeable and well-known in a relevant field. 2. The first person you could get to call you back.
  • Always reference how much money a critically panned book or movie has made. That’ll show those snooty “critics” what for.
  • To avoid charges of riot incitement, never run articles on CEO pay next to the “Help Wanted” ads.
  • Do not change the name of the police blotter section to “Things Drunk College Students Did.” It is understood by all readers.
  • “Twilight Mom” – a woman above age forty who masturbates to descriptions of teenagers not having sex.
  • Avoid accusations of political bias in your editorial pages by only running columns by idiots and lunatics.
  • Veterinarians who have served in wars and have authentic credentials should be referred to as “vetted vet vets.”
  • Avoid using foreign-language phrases in your articles unless they have a certain je ne sais quoi.
  • Natural disasters don’t just happen. Be sure to investigate to find out what the affected area did to anger God and/or the planet.
  • “Farmer’s” Market is the correct term for a place where hippies sell you food.
  • It’s better to plagiarize from Encarta than from Wikipedia, because people actually read Wikipedia.
  • Use “zaftig” to refer to an actress or model who wears size 2 or larger.
  • It is important to close all parentheses. We’ve all been trapped in a Mike Royko aside since 1978.
  • If you feel like your technology column is lacking something, it’s probably condescension.
  • soccer – the game sissy Europeans play instead of football; football – the game sissy Americans play instead of rugby
  • Avoid “at the end of the day” in your story’s conclusion. Use instead “as the giant space dragon eats the sun…”
  • When writing about low-rated TV shows, try not to think about their viewership numbers versus your paper’s circulation.
  • When writing for a conservative publication, substitute “Arabic numerals” with “Islamofascist numerals.”
  • It is imperative that you get comments from “real people” on important topics like government decisions they’re not aware of.
  • Articles on auto recalls should be held until after the local dealership’s three-day weekend sale.
  • Due to increasing birth rates, reminders that MTV used to play music should be made more frequently.
  • All doctorates are interchangeable, making your allergist just as much an authority on global warming as a climatologist.
  • Stories on global warming should always be accompanied by pictures of snowstorms or polar bears.
  • When a public figure denounces homosexuality, prepare accordingly for said public figure’s eventual outing.
  • Remember that the word “synesthesia” is spelled with a silent freshly mowed grass odor.
  • Remember to define “habeus corpus” when used in a news story as “that thing they talk about on Law And Order.”
  • Use “dance card” in articles to confirm that your expected audience is primarily the elderly.
  • Don’t put winning lottery numbers on the front page. Why give away your most popular feature?
  • When covering the latest kid lit bestseller, note with breathless astonishment that adults are reading the book too.
  • Characterize public meetings where no one shows up as “sparsely attended.” Describe half-full meetings as “standing room only.”
  • Include ages with quotes from non-public figures. If the source refuses to give it, just say they “looked about a billion.”
  • Feel free to run the underwear ads opposite the funny pages. It’s not like kids are reading “Beetle Bailey” anyway.
  • Articles on fashion should probably be outsourced to freelancers. Why? Because look around your office, that’s why.
  • If you abbreviate the character name to “Dr. Who,” nerds will get upset. But are nerds ever NOT upset?

    When covering the presidential inauguration, remember that a large group of Trump supporters is called a “Reichstag.”

    When writing about the border wall’s effectiveness, don’t bring up uncomfortable topics such as “digging,” “ladders,” or “the ocean.”

    It’s a whole lot easier to fill column inches if you embed the tweet instead of just pasting the text.

    As of January 20th, replace all references to years prior to 2017 with “the Long Long Ago” or “when the Earth was green and lived.”

    You can pass off any old bullshit by simply prefacing it with “some claim that” or “some wonder if.”

    Robots should only be referred to by gender-neutral pronouns, no matter how sexy they may be.

    Be sure to get the opinion of failed political candidates on major legislation. Their opinions still matter, apparently.

    Use “gay” or “lesbian” to refer to people, “alternative lifestyle” to refer to Trekkies and “Twilight” fans.

    It is no longer necessary to write new stories about Facebook privacy issues. Just change the dates.

    If your story reveals the perpetrator of a crime, it is polite to put a spoiler warning at the top.

    Acronyms for supervillain organizations should not contain periods: SSOSV, SPECTRE, MLA. #VillainGrammar

    All distances should be expressed in the standard journalistic unit, the football field.

    Avoid using the word “gauche” in stories. It’s uncouth.

    The improper use of transitive verbs does not impress.

    Thorough research is the key to quality reporting. Read the ENTIRE Wikipedia article before writing your story.

If this amuses you, see also my Caterpillar in the Pudding and my faves from the Overheard in New York website.






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