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Chapter 1
Days of ARNS Past

Fake News, Real Tsuris [ARNS]

by BRENDA BRUNDTLAND-GOVANNI, Alternate Reality News Service Editrix-in-Chief

There is no such thing as fake news, there is only news that didn't happen in your universe.

Now that we have cleared that up, I'm going to get back to extreme macraming and you can get back to...whatever tawdry affairs occupy your - yeah, yeah, I have no doubt that you were stunned by the Bartbites.com headline, "Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani's love child arrested in connection with death of Vince Foster!!!" Personally, I prefer to stun people the old-fashioned way: with my Tasetron 2000. Headlines lose their charge too quickly no matter how many exclamation marks they contain. People with weak constitutions should be barred from reading the news these days.

And, sure, you were shocked by the headline, "President Obama makes secret pact with Satan to delay George R. R. Martin's next novel indefinitely!!!!!" That's what you get for reading your news on an ungrounded tablet. Take a pill, dumbass!

Okay, there seems to be some confusion as to what the Alternate Reality News Service does and what fake news outlets do. Be thankful that my tech department hasn't perfected the technique of slapping people over the Internet, because if they had right about now there would be a spike in emergency room visits for whiplash! (Only one exclamation mark? Damn straight. Excessive punctuation to emphasize the seriousness of what I'm saying? Please! My slapping gloves are all the authority I need!)

So. The differences. When a fake news outlet reports on President Obama making a secret deal with Ventrosian Squiggles to send American auto manufacturing jobs out of the universe, it claims that that actually happened on Earth Prime; the purpose of such an article is to confuse a gullible populace and reinforce their support for a demagogic political extremist. By way of contrast, when we report on President Obama making a secret deal with Ventrosian Squiggles to send American auto manufacturing jobs out of the universe, we state very clearly that it happened in another universe. Any confusion we may cause in the gullible population is a mere by-product of what we do. A wondrous, highly entertaining by-product, but not our intention.

What part of the motto "If you don't like this universe, try another one!" do you not understand, double dumbass with sprinkles?

And, anyway, why are there so many gullible people in the world today? Haunting the shoreline to feed off scraps left by tourists only to show your gratitude by pooping on them from a great height is no way to live, you ask me.

The fact that fake news sources are given the same weight as respectable news services such as the Alternate Reality N - okay, respectable may be stretching it a bit. Somewhat respectable? Well, no, not that, either. Respectable in certain circles? That's kind of grasping for straws, there, isn't it? And, I don't even have any alcohol in front of me! Not - wait, why don't I have any alcohol in front of me? Give me so - give me a second, will you?

Aah, much better.

How about...not entirely disreputable? In the right light... If you don't look too closely...

Okay. The fact that fake news sources are given the same weight as not entirely disreputable in the right light if you don't look too closely news sources is clearly - Jesus begesus! When you phrase it like that, it's ferking hard to take the argument that fake news is undermining the value of real transdimensional news seriously!

Okay, forget the Alternate Reality News Service. Instead, let's base our comparison on a well known satirical publication: The New York Times. The fact that fake news is given the same weight as The New York Times should give reasonable people everywhere the mumbling heebie jeebies (I had originally intended to write screaming heebie jeebies, but our lawyer advised me against scaring the horses).

The answer to this problem is, of course, giving me a million dollars to study it in further depth.

No? How about half a million dollars? If I downgrade the quality of the servants' quarters (they probably wouldn't appreciate such luxuries as bathrooms or...beds, anyway, ungrateful bastards) and drop the plans for the pony ride in the stables of the mansion, I should just about be able to scrimp by on that. Still, no? Hunh. Tough audience.

Okay, the other answer to the problem is, of a different course, better public education; this would allow the average person to be able to tell the difference between fake news and real news that didn't actually happen in this universe. Yep. That's the answer, alright. Public - tee hee - public - ha ha ha ha ha ha - pub - snicker snort! Oh! Give me...please give me a moment to dry my eyes. I slap me!

Once a substantial portion of a country's population is so gullible that it is willing to believe that its leader isn't just colluding with Ventrosian Squiggles, but is a Ventrosian Squiggle, rational arguments are useless because duh! Irrational solutions, though appealing, are also problematic. For example, if real alternate reality news organizations start running fake news articles in order to compete with real fake news organizations, they will just confuse the issue further, not to mention losing two of their last three readers.

Personally, I'm waiting for this generation to die out so we can start fresh.

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Welcome, Science Fiction Fans!

If you came to Les Pages aux Folles curious about my writing thanks to science fiction or fan fiction, welcome! You can find the complete text of Alternate Reality Ain't What It Used To Be, +

Welcome Back My Friednishes To The Show That Never Ednishes

I now have a Facebook author/fan/whatever you want to call it page: Ira Nayman's Thrishty Friednishes. Go, look around, like it if you feel so inclined and feel free to leave a comment. I have only just started it, so it may be a little sparse at the moment, but I will add content based on what people post they would like to see. Within reason.

Would you be interested in immortality?

The Alternate Reality News Service (ARNS) has two advice columns: Ask Amritsar, a column about love and sex and technology, and; Ask the Tech Answer Guy, a column about +