12 March 2012

Tips for Writing a Bullshit Column for a News Conglomerate


I am not a scientist, but I do have opinions, a platform, and and unchecked tendency to give advice about things nobody understands. Which is why I'm hoping meatiocrity will soon become a subsidiary of msnbc. Too bad I have to compete with the brilliant Joyce Cohen.

But I'm a team player, so with Joyce's help, I'd like to outline some tips for writing a bullshit column for a news conglomerate.

Tip #1: Make an assumption, and always write as if that assumption is unquestionably true.

Watch how Joyce does it:
The time shift disrupts the body's natural circadian rhythm, according to sleep scientists. So the alarm clock blares just as your internal sleep-wake cycle orders you to stay snugly in bed. 
You see what happened there? Joyce assumes that daylight saving time is the disruption, not the alarm clock. Obviously, it's the alarm clock, but this is an article about daylight saving time, and it needs to remain an article about daylight saving time, no matter what.

Tip # 2: Terror always wins.

People need to understand that everything in the world carries some implicit threat, or they won't care about it. That's why we combat daylight saving time fatigue. Here's an example:
For [the 20-30 percent of the population who don't adjust easily to daylight saving time], the consequences can be grave. Rates of workplace and traffic accidents, as well as of heart attacks, rise in the days following the spring time change. One study showed a nearly 6 percent rise in workplace injuries on the Monday after the daylight-saving switch. 
That's right. Daylight saving time is going to fuck you up if you don't listen to Joyce.

Tip #3: Vague, generalized advice always applies to specific situations.

That's why horoscopes and personality tests almost always seem accurate. It's called the Forer Effect. Like this:
Practice good sleep habits, with a comfy bed, a quiet room and white noise to drown out sounds if necessary. 
Sound familiar? It's because you already know that sleeping will tend to make you less sleepy. That doesn't matter, though, because once you read Joyce's column and get good sleep, post-daylight saving time, you'll assume that Joyce was right all along.

I can't believe news organizations aren't breaking down my door to get me to write for them. Also, news organizations, your job offer better include money for a new door.