I don’t want to give Fiction Press (FP) any more publicity than it deserves (which is why I’m taking themediaslut‘s lead by not hyperlinking it), but after reading the various responses to the issue, I feel compelled to make a point.
I will make the point later. First, a quick background for readers who have no idea what I’m talking about.
A blog was recently created, very obviously for the sole purpose of earning money through blog advertising. The blog’s title is “Fiction”, it’s tagline “We create news… and stories”.
Each day, a juicy tabloid-style local story appears in the blog:
“Homosexual Men BULLIED Completely In MRT”
“5 Singapore Girls Earns $8000 In Youtube, Just By Dancing!”
You get the idea.
The blog got a lot of hits because of its titillating headlines.
Then, themediaslut wrote a post to question the ethics of such an endeavour:
I should credit Fiction Press blog is their creativeness in coming up with fake news about Singapore
However, what they are doing is bad for the blogosphere and it seems Ping.sg members are becoming unwittingly supporting them.
Yes, the make-up headlines are getting the hits, but it is like the boy calling wolf.
The post is great because it said what I had thought since I discovered FP, but couldn’t be bothered to do anything about it.
The author of FP wrote all these sensational stories with no clear indication that the stories are fake, save for the title and tagline, which are too subtle to serve as proper disclaimers.
Most readers supported what themediaslut said, although some did try to play devil’s advocate. (More about that in a while.)
The response from FP itself was quick, I have to give the author that. He has made a public apology (on his blog), removed all FP posts to date and allowed a clear disclaimer.
All the post in the blog are made up. They are totally fiction and is not related to any person. And from today onwards, we will put [Fiction] in front of our pongs. Once again, all the posts here are completely fake and untrue.
We’re refining our posts’ appearance. The posts will be up soon. Sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused.
— Fiction Press
And now, my point.
Among those that commented on themediaslut’s posts were some who thought that FP shouldn’t be judged too harshly.
After all, asks APLink, what’s wrong with a bit of satire?
Should creative writing be blasted, what is considered satire, should Singaporeans lighten up … is it just easier to agree with TMS than to think about the loss of a small piece of humor, in reality there is both drama and humor don’t we need to balance both ???
Well, here’s what I think.
FP stories cannot be even remotely called satire. Satire is only satire when readers actually can recognise it as satire because of its wit or humour.
FP stories read like The New Paper stories, except with bad grammar. (Not that grammar in The New Paper is 100% credible, but that’s a can of worms I would be well-advised not to open.)
Many readers have read FP stories and thought them true. (Myself included, although only once and for five minutes.)
So, how can anyone call it satire?
I cringe when I read comments from readers likening FP to The Onion.
The Onion is one of the best satirical publications there is. To mention FP and The Onion in the same breath is sacrilege of the highest order. (Yes, I know I just did it myself, but it had to be done.)
Satire requires irony, sarcasm, wit and humour, all of which are lacking in FP stories, so please do not even use (do not even think) the word satire in any conversations involving FP.
APLINK is correct in questioning Singaporeans’ ability to laugh and graciously accept jibes at our culture. I feel, too, that we could do with more humour. But I believe that this discussion should be taken somewhere else. Somewhere where FP isn’t used as case study, because it doesn’t deserve that accolade.
If you want Singaporean satire, there’s already TalkingCock.com. We don’t need another Singapore satire website. Singaporeans don’t write satire very well, if you must know the truth. Most don’t even know how to laugh at themselves yet.
So, there’s my point.
I do not fault FP for this outrage. If people can’t tell the difference between satire and bad writing, then it’s the people’s problem. FP can go on creating fake stories to earn advertising dollars for all I care, as long as a proper disclaimer is in place, and as long as it stops slandering innocent parties.
But I would urge readers not to give it your readership unless the quality of writing improves. Because there must be something wrong with you if you want to read a news story which is neither entertaining nor true.
17 thoughts on “My response to the Fiction Press brouhaha”
Very well said, I couldn’t put it better myself. ^^
(rushes to his blog to clean up grammar…)
Very good, you really know how to put our thoughts into words! But I never heard of this FP — Too bad… the badly written stuff were all deleted. LOL. :D
“there must be something wrong with you if you want to read a news story which is neither entertaining nor true.”
That is a great closure to the whole brouhaha, sister!
Daniel: Thanks! :) But I don’t see anything in your blog that you have to clean. Hahaha. You have a great blog! ;)
modchip: Thank you again. You wouldn’t have heard of FP. It’s very very very new and it’s only known in Singapore thanks to Ping.sg, a Singaporean blog aggregator.
precious: Haha. Thanks, sister! I only hope I won’t make more enemies from this statement… lol.
…is it closure… maybe others are unable to communicate as well as others would like them to, maybe they thought it MIGHT be entertaining to others, maybe contributing via a blog is unstructured and an expression…all that aside… just because Singapore has a “perceived” ok satire site why can’t others be created, it is only thru mistakes that people learn… besides, it was easy to see that FICTION existed on FP – without the stringent warnings that are being called for…I hope Fiction Press comes back, learns from this hiccup and goes on to having a humorous and sensationally popular blog…
What to do? We live in a peaceful country with no riots, protests, wars, disasters and not porn even………. Our country have no hate and we ban love. Thats why people like to read such articles, just to spice up their boring ordinary life. Especially people without a PS3. :P
APLINK: I applaud your willingness to support new writers, I really do. But some things can do more harm than good. I feel that, as it is right now, FP is doing more harm. It already did some harm to one legitimate business in Singapore, it did mislead some people into believing untruths, and it’s spreading its bad English to be picked up by our kids.
I have no qualms at supporting it as a satire site if it looks like it’s trying. But it’s not. Have you read the articles in there? (Too bad the posts have been taken down and people can’t read for themselves now.) The author wasn’t even trying to write satire. There is not one ounce of satire in his/her stories. I doubt he/she even knows the meaning of satire.
It is very obvious that what the author was trying to do was make up headlines which he/she thinks would attract Singaporeans to click on, and then sloppily draft out a story to fit.
I have nothing against people who start blogs and who don’t write well but sincerely want to improve and work hard on it. But it just doesn’t sit well with me when people try to get hits in sneaky ways.
The Goonfather: Huh? You like to read fake stories that aren’t even well-written? You don’t even like to read blogs unless they’re gaming or tech related, you told me.
A couple of points: I’d take issue with the idea that Singapore doesn’t need something other than talkingcock. The more the merrier – satire needs to be close to the news and needs to be fresh, but there’s no reason why it has to be limited.
I haven’t bothered to read FP (and I won’t), but I do agree 100% that satire needs to be well-written, ironic, and humourous. Just making stuff up is not even close. For those who like it I would also recommend a true competitor to the Onion – SatireWire (http://www.satirewire.com/) now only a collection (it’s no longer updated), but brilliantly written nonetheless.
The Goonfather: If you don’t already know it then you should be aware that women (especially wives) have an incredibly good memory for stuff that they can bring up later to shoot you down in flames when you make an innocuous comment.
It’s all indexed and cross-referenced so be prepared to have your own words used against you :o)
Exactly what I thought the first time I saw the site – that the author was trying to attract traffic to make money. All those times that I unwittingly visited the site from clicking on the Top 10 list, I felt CHEATED and it wasn’t a good feeling.
QY: I didn’t say I like to read. What I meant was majority of Singaporeans are bored. I am too busy to be bored. Look at all those stupid fark singaporeans who slow down on Benjamin Sheares bridge just to see a lady trying to commit suicide. Freaking morons have nuttin better to do. If I could, I will push the lady down, so the show will be over and traffic would clear for me to get home and complete my Uncharted. hahaa….
No doubt the stories/news created by FP are fake and with misleading headlines. Some of the comments are really harsh and uncalled for.
I don’t see anyone condemning those who post sex content being condemn in ping.sg
Jesta: I only said Singapore doesn’t need another TalkingCock because Singaporeans can’t write good satire. If any can, I haven’t seen them. And it’d be a crime if sites like FP were to get accorded satire site status.
Larry Lim: Thanks for commenting on my blog! Haha, join the club. I also felt somewhat cheated the first time I clicked on that blog and actually believed the article after reading it.
The Goonfather: If you push the lady down, the show won’t be over. It will get even bigger. :P
motd: I don’t really know about the sex blogs because I don’t click when I see sex titles, sO I can’t comment about those. :P
Umm … luckily I’ve not received any complaints yet about the stories on my blog :P
Miss Loi: How can you compare your stories with FP ones?? That’s sacrilege also. Haha.
The Onion has got to be the best satire publication out there. Comparing it to FP is a far stretch for anyone who tries.
I had some experiences with FP and I can tell you, most of their writers are wannabe writers for TV sitcoms.
Those are the worst kind :)
As long as there is free press there will be people who use it to get their stupid points heard