Note: This post may bend the rules of “Netplay” a little bit, as it is technically print. However, my mothersources tell me that this link is being forwarded all around the Web and back again.
As many Northwestern students know, journalism comes in many shapes and sizes. “Standards” and “relevance” are about as concrete as they were back in the days of Hearst himself! Interestingly enough, it was in those days of “yellow journalism” that the New York Times decided that they were just too cool for anything and everything that wasn’t “fit to print” — a direct reference to the sensationalist contortions of truth common to most reporting.
Nowadays, as many students of media history will tell you, this slogan just makes the Times sound like a bunch of butt holes. Last week, however, the Times challenged that reputation with an article about… butt holes.
The article, entitled “No Snickering — That Road Sign Means Something Else,” reveals the hardships of living in one of Great Britain’s many hilariously-named villages, roads and townships. Author Sarah Lyall explains:
Mr. Bailey, who grew up on Tumbledown Dick Road in Oxfordshire, and Mr. Hurst got the idea for the books when they read about a couple who bought a house on Butt Hole Road, in South Yorkshire.
The name most likely has to do with the spot’s historic function as a source of water, a water butt being a container for collecting water. But it proved to be prohibitively hilarious.
“If they ordered a pizza, the pizza company wouldn’t deliver it, because they thought it was a made-up name,” Mr. Hurst said. “People would stand in front of the sign, pull down their trousers and take pictures of each other’s naked buttocks.”
The couple moved away.
Yes, what she said indeed. Lyall goes on to document the people of Penistone, Crapstone and Spanker Lane, to name a few. If I were still in eighth grade, chances are this article would be printed, highlighted and taped on my wall.
But be careful not to enjoy it too much! The Times reminds you not to snicker and to enjoy the article responsibly. While one can’t help but be surprised to see this in the Times, it seems a safe bet to say that the paper’s target audience would at least get a chuckle out of the article. After all, even the staff of the New York Times can let down their gates and have a little fun, once in a while.
Full article is available here.