Well, here I am again. Incredibly, after my attempts to offend the rest of the on-line satire ‘community’ last Summer, the Doc is allowing me, the Big Sleazy, another outing on the editorial page (basically because he can’t be arsed to write an editorial himself this issue). So, to business! First of all, let’s get the subject of The Satire Awards out of the way. A lot of people have been asking, “Big Sleazy, why are you such a slobbish bastard?” They then go on to ask why we aren’t part of these alleged satire awards. There are several reasons, the first being one of principle. Basically, the Doc and I have no intention of entering The Sleaze into any kind of popularity contest with other sites. We do not see ourselves as being in competition with anybody else and have no need of ‘awards’ to tell us how good our satire is. We let our readers decide for themselves whether we’re any good – the fact that they’re coming back in ever greater numbers seems to indicate we’re doing the right thing.

Secondly, I have a very real problem with the way these ‘awards’ are organised – I can’t think of any other genuine awards system in which the participants have to nominate themselves. Surely the sites and stories up for awards should either be nominated by the readers or by some form of ‘academy’. It rather devalues the process if just anyone can get in by nominating themselves (in my opinion, anyway). Which brings me, rather neatly I think, to the other major problem I have with the ‘awards’ – the quality of the participating sites. Whilst many absolutely top-flight sites (including such stalwart friends of The Sleaze as Watley Review, Utterpants and Newshax), are there, a heck of a lot of the more recent additions have, in my humble opinion, sucked. Finally, we flatly refuse to sign up to a site which can’t even spell the word ‘satirical’ – as I recall, it was originally inviting owners of ‘satarical’ sites to join up! So, don’t expect to see us on The Satire Awards any time soon – we’re proud to be one of the few non-participating satire sites!

But just why do some of these sites (in my opinion) suck? Well, part of the trouble is that the internet is a bit like those TV ‘talent’ shows (you know the ones; Pop Stars, Pop Idol, Fame Academy, etc.), in that it encourages every Tom, Dick or Harry out there to think that they’re capable of being some kind of top entertainer. If you’ve got access to a PC and an internet connection, you can set up shop and inflict yourselves on an unsuspecting world, regardless of the fact that you’ve got the literary abilities of a dyslexic marmoset. Now, this isn’t too bad when these budding Samuel Pepys confine themselves to writing personal blogs – they’re easy to ignore. The problem comes when the would-be Jonathan Swifts are encouraged by certain ‘satire’ sites to submit material, which is then published, apparently completely unedited, on the web! The fact that their writings are usually incoherent drivel doesn’t seem to deter them – the very fact that they’ve been published encourages them to believe that they are some kind of writer. In the worst cases, it inspires them to set up their own dire sites, where they publish not only their own crud, but that of their equally talentless friends. Now, I hold The Spoof mainly responsible for this state of affairs, as it actively encourages these talentless bastards to submit stories, and then floods the web with their shite! We’re in danger of drowning in it! It’s devaluing the whole body of online satire. Please Stop! Now!

By this point, anyone who recalls my last editorial on the subject of on-line ‘satire’ will be concluding that I think the situation has worsened over the last year. Actually, I don’t think the situation is entirely hopeless. Last time around I criticised the new rash of ‘satire’ sites which were springing up for being based on identikit PHP scripts and composed of interchangeable stories. Well, since then many of those sites have vanished and most of the survivors seem to at least have customised their scripts to try and differentiate themselves. However, as I’ve indicated above, I still think the state of their writing leaves something to be desired. Basically, even the best of their stories seem to be undeveloped ideas – don’t get me wrong, often the idea is OK and there’s a kernel of a good story there. But the initial idea is just left sitting there, bewildered and blinking in the harsh sunlight!

Now, I know some people have criticised The Sleaze for the length of its articles, but the fact is that we believe in taking a good idea (and sometimes a merely mediocre idea) and developing it to realise its full satiric potential. We also believe that we are writing for adults with an attention span of slightly more than thirty seconds and capable of actually reading and comprehending complicated ideas. And we’re not the only ones- possibly the only site we’ve moved closer to over recent months has been the aforementioned Utterpants, a site after our own hearts which understands fully the link between smut and satire and isn’t afraid to tackle difficult subjects. (Actually, the Doc seems to spend an inordinate amount of time over on their message boards consorting with their saucy minx of an editor, Miranda Givings). However, on the whole we’re content for The Sleaze to continue its splendid (relative) isolation. Like the Millwall fans say on the terraces, ‘Nobody likes us, and we don’t care!’ – except our readers, of course! OK Doc, have I written enough? Have I offended enough people? Can I go back to my poker game now? Thank God for that! The Doc should be back next time, so until then, keep it sleazy!

Big Sleazy