Bat Boy, RIP
July 22, 2007 10:54 PM   Subscribe

Bye Bye, Bat Boy! The Weekly World News is suspending publication.
posted by Yakuman (80 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
We still have fox news.
posted by Iron Rat at 10:56 PM on July 22, 2007 [9 favorites]


Really, they were The Onion of the grocery checkout line for most of my life. Have things gone so doggo that the WWN can't compete with reality now? Dang.
posted by maryh at 10:59 PM on July 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


No, seriously!
posted by miss lynnster at 10:59 PM on July 22, 2007 [2 favorites]

After they posted about Bush having an affair with an alien I suspect that their readership turned against them.

I may be kidding. I may not be.

How many people have Bat Boy tattoos? I bet a lot.
posted by Kickstart70 at 11:02 PM on July 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

this would be the first victim of the blogs, since they're killing newspapers now, right?
posted by paul_smatatoes at 11:03 PM on July 22, 2007

I actually have WWN covers pinned up on the bulletin board in my office I love that paper so much. I don't like the National Enquirer & stuff because that stuff is borderline truth. I'm not sure what to believe. But when a woman in Chile talks about giving herself a sex change in the basement? When there's an exclusive interview with Bigfoot? When I got to see wedding photos of Osama Bin Laden & Saddam Hussein's gay marriage as well as photographic proof of the demons that escaped from middle Earth when the Northridge quake tore the 10 freeway apart? When I read & see that stuff, I am happy because of course I know it's ALL true.

R.I.P. Ed Anger. And Ask Dottie. And Bat Boy. And the alien that likes to hang out with U.S. Presidents. You will all be missed.
posted by miss lynnster at 11:08 PM on July 22, 2007 [8 favorites]

Kickstart70, that alien hung out with all Presidents, he was a bit of a political whore really. He was pretty tight with Clinton too. Actually, I believe Hillary adopted one of his kids if I recall.

The Wikipedia for the WWN is chock full of great headlines, by the way.
posted by miss lynnster at 11:13 PM on July 22, 2007

Not wanting to get all stavrosthewonderchicken on your asses, but I have seen quite a few FPPs in the last few days where has beaten to the punch by a good day or two.

They also had the same Fox quip. Made me laff both times!
posted by uncanny hengeman at 11:16 PM on July 22, 2007

This is a tragedy on par with the death of Bigfoot's sister as she led the attack on an Iraqi prison to rescue Bat Boy.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:16 PM on July 22, 2007


my grandfather (r.i.p.) used to claim that they were the only paper in the world with the cojones to print "the stuff the other papers won't"
he also bought UFO magazines;
told me how they cured gonorrhea in Iran during WWII (he was Navy, then merchant marine, served in Pacific and Indian Ocean...let's not dwell on how he knew about this.);
and told tasteless jokes about not leaving your toothpicks in the men's room (crabs can pole vault)...

so, papa was a colourful character...and this was his preferred news source. :)

i'll miss that little hit of batshitinsanity at the checkout line...
posted by I, Credulous at 11:18 PM on July 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

Well, uncanny hengeman... then why aren't you posting stuff here before fark gets it? I mean, help us all out, man. Make us look good & quit dropping the ball with us losers, will ya? You could, y'know...
posted by miss lynnster at 11:19 PM on July 22, 2007

The alien seemed to me to be a bit of a bellwether. Shortly after he was spotted hanging out with Rush Limbaugh, the Republicans took over Congress. Later, he was spotted with Clinton, and Bill won reelection shortly afterward. The alien snubbed Rush, left him to fend for himself among the OxyContin dealers at Denny's, like yesterday's trash.

meanwhile ...

posted by raysmj at 11:30 PM on July 22, 2007

posted by Samizdata at 11:32 PM on July 22, 2007

Somehow, I suspect a correlation between the Weekly World News suspending publication and the death of Tammy Faye Bakker.
posted by adipocere at 11:45 PM on July 22, 2007

:( I'm sorry miss lynster. I always check before I often go days without checking at all.

I worked in a newsagent for 4 years and we used to stock this newspaper. My opinion of it was more "meh". A bit of a laff the first time I read it but ultimately way too stupid, even for my puerile 16 year old brain. Never understood the following it got.

FYI: According to Batboy got captured on a roof during a flood after a "27 state reign of terror"!!! But I know there's some bad blood between the two forums so I better shut the hell up right now.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 11:51 PM on July 22, 2007

Oh, no!

I thought it was stupid until someone gave me a compendium of the articles, then I thought it was hilarious.

What a loss!
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:58 PM on July 22, 2007




posted by dirigibleman at 12:01 AM on July 23, 2007

Have to tentatively agree there lupus_yonderboy. Scanning thru the highlights on the *ahem* thread has been a laff fest.

"Who left beer cans on the moon?"
posted by uncanny hengeman at 12:03 AM on July 23, 2007

I forgot to say that I'm also Pig-Biting Mad that I missed Ed Anger's Mefi obit from 2004.
posted by miss lynnster at 12:06 AM on July 23, 2007

The weekly world news was the only one of those things that ever had the courage to be truly insane.

When I was doing speech in high school, I always wanted to cite the WWN just to see if any of the judges caught the reference, but I never had the guts to do it.
posted by dismas at 12:08 AM on July 23, 2007

Oh, no, this can't be happening!

I feel guilty. I used to buy a copy with my groceries almost every time, just for fear that this would happen someday.

Surely there is something that we can do!

I always really loved "Dear Dotty" -- and some of their articles were just so delightfully silly that I still laugh when I think about them. Those were the ones I really loved, I remember one with a picture of a cute dog with a ball in its mouth, and the headline was "Stupid Dog Dies Because it Won't Drop Ball".

posted by pazazygeek at 12:19 AM on July 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

When I was about 11 or 12, I really, truly thought that the WWN was printing real, honest-to-god news. I guess I just figured that if it was in a magazine sold at Walgreens it must be true.

I mean, Walgreens wouldn't lie, would they?

Am I the only one?
posted by Avenger at 12:21 AM on July 23, 2007

Fortunately, Rupert Murdoch has hired the staff of WWN to work at his newly-acquired Wall Street Journal.

Good, responsible journalism lives!
posted by Cranky Media Guy at 12:22 AM on July 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

Transcript of the household conversation that followed my reading this FPP;

"HOLY POOP! They're canceling the Weekly World News!

"What? Why?

The "why?" is the important part here. Utter incomprehension. They have a duty to the US public, dammit.
posted by lekvar at 12:28 AM on July 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

Ack! This is terrible!

I had always hoped to write for them, someday. Man, this makes me sad.

posted by The Great Big Mulp at 12:33 AM on July 23, 2007

One of the best birthday gifts I ever received was a subscription to the WWN. That was over 20 years ago, now.

A part of my coming-of-age just came of age. On an alien.

posted by maxwelton at 12:49 AM on July 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

You know, I always thought the WWN was serious, just preying on the stupid. I didn't realize it was Onion-esque.

There were two really good headlines in the 80s that I think were WWN. The headlines I remember; the actual newspaper I'm blurry on.

"DID DRACULA HAVE AIDS? -- Vampires spread more than terror, say experts!"

(and then, under a dusty picture of probably four mounted SCA guys):


I enjoyed those enough to remember and repeat for many years, but I always thought they were unintentionally funny. Oops!
posted by Malor at 12:56 AM on July 23, 2007


The Weekly World News will always remind me of Francine Prose's novel Bigfoot Dreams, about a writer who works for a WWN-style paper. One day she makes up a story to go along with a photo of two kids selling lemonade outside their house, assigning them made-up names and a fictional psychiatrist father, then claiming that the water used to make the lemonade has curative properties. After the story runs in the tabloid, the writer is then horrified to discover that the names are correct, the kids really do have a psychiatrist dad, and that people are now flocking to that house in search of a miracle cure.

I always thought it would be cool if something like that happened with a WNN story.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:03 AM on July 23, 2007

Fortunately, the Sunday Sport remains in print
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:06 AM on July 23, 2007

I'm depressed now by the loss of the Weekly World News, but I'm not that surprised.

When I was back in the States in March, I picked up an issue. And along with an "interview" with Sam and Dean Winchester from Supernatural, there was this giant disclaimer on the first page, saying that all the stories were made up.

And a little part of me died, because what kind of country are we in when the Weekly World News needs a goddamned disclaimer?
posted by Katemonkey at 1:17 AM on July 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

Has anyone else ever staged a dramatic reading of an edition of the WWN? That was actually something I used to do at parties for years. It never ceased to be hysterical. Passing the paper around a table and picking stories to re-enact was just such a bonding moment between strangers. I'm not even kidding. SO much fun. Livened up even the dullest of parties.

I just realized that I misquoted an article above, though... I just remembered the headline... "Gay doc performs sex change on sleeping wife." Apparently he performed the sex change on her in the basement as she slept. And I remember that she loved him so much she didn't mind too much. And that they lived happily ever after. Oh, and that after the sex change she no longer complained or nagged about anything. Because apparently she was suddenly too manly for that bullshit.

Another favorite was "Michael Jackson's face is melting!" which showed an artist's rendering of his face looking pretty much like a half-burned candle in an italian restaurant.

Seriously... I'm going to mourn the WWN more than I can even say. I just bought an issue about 2 weeks ago for old time's sake.
posted by miss lynnster at 1:17 AM on July 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

Some things you just think will go on and on for eternity. WWN, I've taken you for granted. I'm so sorry.
posted by schmedeman at 1:19 AM on July 23, 2007

PeterMcDermott has a point.
posted by chuckdarwin at 1:36 AM on July 23, 2007

It always comes in threes.
posted by painquale at 1:42 AM on July 23, 2007

It always comes in threes.

Well, Yakuman did give us the same link twice, so maybe there's only one more coming.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:09 AM on July 23, 2007

Damn, this is depressing. I didn't need more depressing news today; I'll tell you that much. But yeah, I had a lot of fun with the WWN back in college. I'd clip the best articles and tape them to my dorm room wall-- pride of place went to "MAN WITH THREE ARMS AND WOMAN WITH THREE BREASTS HAVE BABY WITH THREE LEGS."

I also clipped out bits of headlines and pasted them onto my friends' name signs on their doors:

I'll miss the WWN.

posted by Faint of Butt at 3:17 AM on July 23, 2007

Sad, but yeah, once they lose all pretense of being legit, most of the joy and life has already drained out. A staple of my youth and adolescence.
posted by absalom at 3:50 AM on July 23, 2007

Odd, I was going to mention that the WWN was inspirational to Talking Heads' Byrne when he wrote "True Stories".
posted by Gungho at 4:01 AM on July 23, 2007

My favorite headline ever: "Fairy Community Rejects Their Own Gays!"

My favorite that I never saw, but heard about from my mom: "I Was Bigfoot's Love Slave!"

Obviously a bunch of disaffected English majors. I'm not one of those, but I always kind of wanted to write for WWN.
posted by naoko at 4:16 AM on July 23, 2007

Oh no.

The WWN made a big impact on me growing up, it will be missed. Hearing this sad news made me rummage though old suitcases to find the News Shirt I wore at my first wedding, (in Vegas of course - the Living Elvis would approve).
posted by jettloe at 4:28 AM on July 23, 2007

posted by lester's sock puppet at 4:57 AM on July 23, 2007

WWN always makes me think of my cousin's hot next door neighbour, a tabloid writer, surprisingly down to earth (though I may be biased -- did I mention she was hot?). Told me about her application process, which consisted of her and a bunch of other hopefulls being herded into a room and told to write the most imaginative, outlandish story they could. Well, she got the job. Though she never did tell me what story got it for her.
posted by dreamsign at 4:58 AM on July 23, 2007

Where will my grandmother get her news now? (I grew up on these things)
posted by Rogalian at 5:05 AM on July 23, 2007


posted by Pecinpah at 5:47 AM on July 23, 2007

In the early 1990's, I was told in all seriousness that the photos of Bat Boy were based on a guy who hung out at Lucky's bar in New Orleans.

That is all.
posted by Tube at 5:50 AM on July 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

I used to have a subscription. I actually got the issue with a grossly overweight Diana on the cover the week she died; they pulled those from the stores, and the next issue had someone else's corpulent form on the cover with the exact same insides. Only the names had been changed.

Fabulous stuff. They went through a slump for a while, repeating stories, but they got a new editor and it kicked into high gear again. ::sigh::

There was a booklength study of the tabloids, and one of the findings was that people who bought the WWN and took it seriously did so selectively. That is, some would believe all the Elvis stories but discounted the alien stuff, and vice versa.

posted by ancientgower at 6:00 AM on July 23, 2007

Best damn investigative journalism on the planet.
posted by psmealey at 6:05 AM on July 23, 2007

Weird, I was just in an out-of-town supermarket the other day, and saw the first copy of WWN I've seen in quite some time. Maybe they were getting crowded out of the checkout lanes by all of the US Weekly clones?

At any rate, RIP WWN. Back in middle school, when my friends and I had a public access show (mix of live studio stuff with pre-recorded skits and whatnot), we'd always cull our weekly "news bits" from the more obscure (and sometimes almost believable-ish) WWN filler stories. Stoned college student viewers would call in and beg for more information on some of the stories. Ah, those wild, heady days before the rise of INTERNET.
posted by Lee Marvin at 6:25 AM on July 23, 2007

posted by davelog at 6:39 AM on July 23, 2007

When New York Times-toting informed citizens would shake their heads in disgust to see me reading the WWN, I could only feel pity for them, and their delusions that what they read differed in kind, and not just in degree.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:41 AM on July 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

I knew something was up when they changed to that glossy newspaper-paper and new magazine-ish size.

Well, damn, damn, damn...trips to the supermarket just got less interesting.
posted by PHINC at 6:46 AM on July 23, 2007

I'm madder than Michael Jackson at an all-girls slumber party that the WWN has shut down.

posted by jason's_planet at 6:47 AM on July 23, 2007

I don't want to get all - truth is out there - but, uh, all web sitse are linking to this SFScope website, and there is no formal announcement from the publisher yet?

If you look at the demographics for the mag,
it seems strong enough?
posted by cavalier at 7:19 AM on July 23, 2007

Craigslist and Google claims another journalism victim. Curse you, Internet advertising!
posted by Nelson at 7:34 AM on July 23, 2007


I don't understand why they couldn't at least keep the web site going... I'm sure someone would do it for free, if necessary.
posted by fungible at 7:46 AM on July 23, 2007

Does no one find this suspicious? The article even talks about a buyout offer being refused. That makes no sense.

This sounds like the work of the aliens. Bigfoot and his business assistant Rupert Murdoch were certainly involved.
posted by eye of newt at 8:18 AM on July 23, 2007

I'm shocked that its even possible for that paper to become unprofitable. I bet you could run it with 1 guy to write stories and another to do the photoshop.

I used to love this paper as a kid, and kinda suspected it was fake, but a kind of acceptable fake like professional wrestling. It was worth skimming through in line, but never worth purchasing. The onion does this gag better and its free. When Bush became president I saw a few headlines there were pretty shocking in how they towed the hard right-wing line about arabs, nukes, and "heathen" religions. Something I loved for being quirky was suddenly Fox News with more craziness and hate.

Now, its a pretty big embarassmetn to still see it on sale, especially in the information age. The people who I rarely see buy it look pathetic clutching their no brand foodstuff, people magazine, and WWN. I dont feel too bad about its passing because I suspect only a very small percentage of its readers were truly in on the joke.
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:35 AM on July 23, 2007

Needless to say, I'm “pig-biting mad” about this. As a kid, I collected WWN for years. For Christmas in 1994 I only asked my parents for one thing: a copy of Ed Anger's book: “Let Pave the Rainforests and Give our Teachers Stun Guns and Other Ways to Save America.” The ‘Sabrina’ and ‘Dear Dottie’ columns were falling-down hysterical. The New York Post could learn a thing or two about their knack for using snappy syntax in the headlines: My favorite was "Scientists discover the earth moves at 666,666 miles per hour: the speed of Satan!"

They were masters of satire, and in my opinion, a huge inspiration to publications that would come out decades later like The Onion.

RIP Weekly World News.
posted by tiger yang at 8:35 AM on July 23, 2007

Yeah, Clontz' death finished it off, but the real end was Bush's ascent.
posted by cookie-k at 9:19 AM on July 23, 2007

In the early 90's I was at a party in NYC where I happened to meet a guy who had done a cover story for WWN. (Benji Died of AIDS!). When I confessed my long-time desire to write for them, he looked at me like I was an idiot and said "Operators are waiting for your call." Stil never plucked up the courage, though.

posted by lumpenprole at 9:30 AM on July 23, 2007

For thirty years dumbass journalists have been saying "The National Enquirer" when they meant "The Weekly World News." I called them on it once or twice. Now I don't know wht to say to them.

Even after they raised the cover price last year or so, it was the best reading per dime out there. I will so miss it. Let's hope someone else buys it.

posted by kozad at 9:36 AM on July 23, 2007

Ahhh, man. That sucks. I decoupaged a lampshade once purely in WWN headlines and just a couple of years ago I actually used their suggested Bat Boy Christmas cards "Put the Bite on Santa for Lots of Great Gifts!" as the backing of my own cards. I love them and besides, my kids grew up with WWNs in the house and as standard read aloud fare on road trips, which has no doubt contributed to their delightfully high wackiness factor. Or ensured the livelihood of yet another generation of psychologists, one or the other.
posted by mygothlaundry at 10:05 AM on July 23, 2007

The WWN was masterful, pretty sophisticated actually, in maintaining its tone over the years -- a carefully calibrated breathlessness that never, EVER, spilled over into a knowing wink. That had to be difficult as publications over the years from Spy to the Onion turned hipster, so-bad-it's-good irony into cash. The paper was written for believers, and if only 5% of the audience was, all the better for the other 95% who made decoupage from the cover headlines. That takes a lot of editorial discipline and it's a shame the market is finally punishing them for it.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 10:27 AM on July 23, 2007

My dad died a few weeks back. Then the Chris Benoit tragedy happened.

And now this. This is turning into the worst summer ever.

posted by jtron at 10:46 AM on July 23, 2007


posted by brundlefly at 12:32 PM on July 23, 2007

Strange that there's nothing about this posted on the WWN web site yet and that you can still purchase a new subscription.
posted by christopherious at 12:57 PM on July 23, 2007


Dammit! I'm surprised at how upset I am...but I loved that paper.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 1:10 PM on July 23, 2007

Aww... I had always dreamed of working there...
posted by klangklangston at 2:40 PM on July 23, 2007

posted by MythMaker at 2:51 PM on July 23, 2007

WWN was one of the finest, longest-running projects in absurdism ever perpetrated on the American public. The world is a little less wonderful for its loss.

I fondly remember, after 9/11, when Bat Boy went to Afghanistan to find Bin Laden. (If I'm not mistaken, it was their first issue after the attacks.) I honestly misted up a little when I saw that. WWN knew its single most appropriate response for a stunned nation.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:24 PM on July 23, 2007

posted by amberglow at 4:32 PM on July 23, 2007

Aww... I had always dreamed of working there...

Me too, kk. Either as a writer or as a Photoshop artist. Not that any of their photos are ever doctored or anything.
posted by brundlefly at 5:18 PM on July 23, 2007

I actually entered a contest in the 80s they held. They were looking for reporters in the field and I remember I wrote an article about a haunted house in the neighborhood of my childhood. Many decades before, a man had murdered his wife there. See, he was an artist and he created giant toothpick sculptures of famous historical figures. His wife didn't like his obsession to his art, she wanted him to get a real job. She didn't understand his passion. One night they got into an argument and he pummeled her to death with a giant toothpick sculpture of Lincoln. For many years afterwards, the property was kept off limits but every once in a while someone would sneak onto the property... on a dare or because they were homeless squatters looking for shelter. The police would eventually find their bloody, toothpick-riddled bodies. There was never any trace of the killer.

Man, I'm really gonna miss that paper.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:47 PM on July 23, 2007

WWN once did a front page spread of 12 senators, claiming that they were all aliens, and Senator Phil Gramm had a quote along the lines of "Well, of course. We thought everyone knew." Anyway, I asked Senator Gramm to sign my copy, and he did, bless his pointed head. I had it in my office for ever, but it got packed up when I moved a few years ago. I'll have to see if I can unearth it.
posted by dejah420 at 8:13 PM on July 23, 2007

Aww. I loved the Weekly World News too. I remember the Michael Jackson face melting story. Other favorite tales that have rattled around in my brain for decades now are one about a girl for whom an ambulance had to be called because the jeans she was trying on were so tight she got trapped in them in the dressing room, and, perhaps my favorite:

a man, who after a hard day at work, came home to sit on the toilet and smoke, threw his cigarette butts in the can which then EXPLODED because his wife had been killing roaches all day and put the roach spray covered bugs in the toilet. When the ambulance arrived, the EMS workers were laughing sooo hard they dropped the stretcher carrying the man down the stairs.

Absolutely brilliant. I will miss that crazy rag.
posted by dog food sugar at 6:31 AM on July 24, 2007

I dont feel too bad about its passing because I suspect only a very small percentage of its readers were truly in on the joke.

I suspect that only a very small percentage of its readers enjoyed the jokes more than they enjoyed imagining all the hordes of people dumber than they are who think the stories are real.
posted by straight at 11:01 AM on July 24, 2007

Aw damn. The WWN is the source of my all-time favorite headline:


Gotta love it. :)

posted by zarq at 3:13 PM on July 24, 2007

posted by shakespeherian at 6:42 PM on July 24, 2007

Does anyone have any links to anything that analyzes and perhaps classifies WWN in terms of what sort of satire and/or parody it actually represents? Why, for instance, is it more brilliant than The Onion, as funny as the latter publication is in its own right?
posted by christopherious at 9:19 AM on July 25, 2007

I'm saddened of course, but I knew it was going to happen. Countess Serena told me so--she's been despondent since AMI heartlessly canned her; perhaps she could have warned them.

Miss Lynster, our family considered WWN the only reliable news source in America, and winter months were often warmed by reading choice news stories around the kitchen table. I raised my boys on Ed Anger and Bat Boy.

Body suit culture wins.
posted by beelzbubba at 4:41 PM on July 28, 2007

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