Posted on 22 September 2016.
Some people have claimed that the reason cults find it so difficult to get a grip in Britain is because we do not take anything seriously. Any topic, no matter how serious, is turned into a sarcastic joke. For example, here are some people mocking the deaths of tens of millions of people:
I am not suggesting this is in any way a bad thing. It is a very positive force that sheds light on serious issues, as well as being side-splittingly funny.
Similarly, any public house on a weekend will be full of people exchanging jokes about Madeleine McCann, Jimmy Savile and the Irish potato famine. The best ones get them all into the same joke. Americans may have to wait decades for a topic to become funny, but if you are British, I bet the first Michael Jackson joke arrived in your inbox before his body was even cold.
When I was a growing up, I used to read The Onion. You could even get the print version in my local Borders (remember Borders? Back in’t day…). Some of their stories were hit, others were miss. Their headline Microsoft Patents Ones, Zeroes still makes me chuckle.
It still is funny, and usually worth a read.
However, its power simply cannot match that of The Daily Mash. I started reading Mash while I was still working at Buzz, which must have been two or three ago now. That is a long time to be consistently funny. But they manage it. If anything, they are getting funnier.
Far from knocking out a few good headlines a week, The Daily Mash produces five brilliant headlines a day. I despair working out what I should retweet and what I should post on Facebook, because everything is worthy of it. Even its least amusing headline is generally far more worthy of such attention that the current bollocks being put out by BuzzFeed.
Of course satire has long been a British art form. Spitting Image, Private Eye, Monster Raving Loony Party, Mock The Week, Brass Eye and Boris Johnson represent just a tiny handful examples that I could pick out from an ocean of possibilities. John Oliver is currently turning into a US export. Nor is Mash the only people in the game: NewsThumb, NewsBiscuit and others produce excellent headlines as well.
But few have refined the art as well as The Daily Mash. For their contribution, I am grateful.