“Alright, let me have it.”
~AFFotD Editor-in-Chief, Johnny Roosevelt
When people are asked to describe America Fun Fact of the Day, the most common responses tend to be “brilliant,” “incredible,” “life-affirming” and “What the fuck is AFFotD, what are you doing in my house, where are your clothes, oh God you reek of whiskey, that’s it, I’m calling the fucking cops.” However, every once and a while, a handful spineless dick-cough weasel pansies say that we’re “harsh and kind of mean.” Specifically, people say that when we take the time out of our day to viciously insult people that aren’t living up to our standard of Americaness. This usually occurs when we write articles with lengthy titles that begin “Wherein” and result in 3,000 word screeds that mercilessly and often personally attack and insult the writers of stupid articles about Thanksgiving, Fortune Magazine, or, um, small children.
The fuck you looking at, punk?
Since today marks the 4th anniversary of affotd.com existing as a website as opposed to a series of note cards jammed randomly into a file cabinet labeled “The Internet!” in our editor-in-chief’s bedroom closet, we figured it was time to turn the mirror on ourselves. That’s right, we’re gonna rip into our own articles, which is totally not a fancy way to avoid creating any new content of value. No, shut up, this has nothing to do with the fact that most of our research staff is hungover out of their minds. Shut up. Just, okay?
So we looked up the 10 most viewed articles in the history of America Fun Fact of the Day thus far, and will review and deconstruct every one of them. For science, or whatever.
Wherein AFFotD Celebrates Their 4th Anniversary, Looking Inward and Critiquing the Failings of its 10 Most Popular Articles: A Douchey and Pretentious Meta Exercise by our Laziest Writers
During our time on this series of tubes that is probably what makes up the internet, we’ve developed a group of followers on our facebook page, a much smaller group of followers on our twitter feed, and a level 3 Illuminati password that gets us into the open bar section of meetings (“Pila Sacci”). It’s been a great ride. We’ve also been fortunate to have our articles linked by sites such as cracked.com, Reddit, Fark, and others. So to everyone that takes the time to spread our writing where we’re too lazy to send it, we thank you. To the rest of you that read a page and closed the browser, dismissively muttering to yourself, “God, these American assholes, you know, brute Americans, they have no culture or, you know, this is what’s wrong with fat ass stupid dumb America these days, really piss-poor writing, just stretching the same joke, and man, way too long for me to read, let me tell you…” you can please shut the fuck up and jump from the highest distance where you’ll survive the fall but live the rest of your life in constant pain. And now, to our articles.
Note: All page view numbers listed are 100% accurate and not at all made up to make us look more important.
AFFotD’s 10th Most Read Article: 150,000 page views
We can thank The A.V. Club for helping this article sneak into the top 10 most read AFFotD articles, since they linked to it as an example of the correct way to hate coconut M&M’s. In this entry, we spent almost 2,000 words telling you why white chocolate carrot cake, coconut, strawberry peanut butter, white chocolate candy corn, pumpkin spice, and cherry cordials are all awful flavors for M&M’s. The first reader to comment on this article, appropriately named “dude”, dismissively asked, “Have you actually tried any of these, or are you just guessing that they suck?”
To you, dude, we say…okay shut the fuck up. Yeah the basic premise of this article is garbage, if you were to guess that one of the assholes in our employ read an article about birthday cake flavored M&M’s, thought, “huh, that sounds like it could be gross, right?” and then just looked up all the flavors that have ever been released of M&M’s before arbitrarily writing a few hundred words about each one that sounded gross or stupid to him, well, fuck, shut up you’re not supposed to look behind the curtain when speaking to the Wizard.
A few people backed up that the white chocolate candy cane (which is a combination of flavors that candy cane hasn’t decided to embrace, so why would the Mars Corporation think it’d work) was abhorrent, while some people said they liked the Cherry Cordials, which is a wrong opinion to have generally in life. We of course had one particularly strong critic in the form of a man named LC, who said, and we quote-
“I hope the person that wrote the article wasn’t actually paid. Its[sic] obvious they are intellectually challenged and don’t express their feelings very well without lot’sssssss[sic] of swear words. For any future blog’s/writings of your emotions, might I suggest a dictionary as a great tool for those really big words. Every- one’s[sic] taste bud’s[sic] are different. I myself,[sic] could have sat and ate the whole bag of the Cherry Cordial’s. I personally thought the Coconut was great too”
We responded with our typical mix of measure and class.
Our staff handles criticism very well, obviously. This article might not be the best idea we’ve ever had…
AFFotD’s 9th Most Read Article: Like nearly one million page views
Early on in our website’s history, we had a tendency to get colorful with historical details because we thought it was funny and hyperbole is literally the greatest use for literature in the entire history of civilization. We’d assert things like, you know, John F. Kennedy exited his mother’s womb with perfectly coiffed hair and immediately seduced one of the nurses in the maternity ward, or that Teddy Roosevelt’s blood cures asthma. It was during this period that we wrote about C. Dale Petersen, a man who only exists in the historical record through a plaque stating that he killed a grizzly bear with his teeth. We said that he chopped down trees without using an ax and to this day kills dozens of bears a week for sport. All of this, of course, is 100% correct. But there are still some very rookie mistakes throughout the article.
Our opening sentence works in a fun “sexual bragging about Johnny Roosevelt sleeping with Jessica Alba and Kathleen Turner in a threesome” joke that basically grabs you by the shoulder and screams, “We’re sorry! Humor has gotten a lot more progressive in terms of gender representation in the last four years! Four years ago was a long time! That was two whole iPhone model series ago!” Later on in this article about a man who, in actuality, killed a bear with his bare hands, we felt like it was a good idea to list like four or five famous sex symbols through history that he’s fucked and, man, yeah parts of this aged about as well as a glass of whole milk under a prison radiator.
The rest of the article has largely to do with the killing of bears, as Petersen still does to this day, and the charity he runs (teaching small children to kill bears with their bare hands with a remarkably low 80% fatality rate amongst the youngsters). Which is fine, because bears are nature’s assholes, and we’re clearly not that great with kids, and we still stand behind our credo of “Fuck Nature.” As a whole, we were still pretty amateur at this point, and it shows—most of the pictures are tiny, there’s probably still some typos in there, just a total mess.
We’re pretty sure we’ve since fired the writer who wrote this one after his fourth failed attempt to submit an article “The 5 Hottest American Chicks Americans Want To Bone, For America” because get yourself the fuck together, Steve, we know that you’re lonely after Karen left, but fuck man, this is America Fun Fact of the Day, not The fucking Chive. Jesus.
AFFotD’s 8th Most Read Article: So many views it is legally now the Wikipedia page for Kit Kats
This article blew up after some mysterious soul posted it on the Reddit’s TIL section, where it moderately managed to garner a modest readership. And while that’s the kind of thing we’d typically say when we totally were the ones to post it on there in a moment of standard-for-us narcissistic self-promotion, we actually right-hand-to-God don’t know who the fuck put it up there or how they found us out. Like, seriously, if you’re the awesome individual who submitted this to Reddit, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll give you like a fucking pony or more likely a picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger killing a dude in True Lies with the words “HONORARY AMERICAN!” stamped across it.
Thanks to Reddit’s semi-endorsement-no-shut-up-we-know-that’s-not-how-it-works, our comments section had a lively discussion where a bunch of people who don’t like to read jokes got very mad that America would dare insult the way Japan makes food, when we all know that Japan primarily exists so we can bring the culinary horrors they regularly create to the light of day.
This was one of our earlier entries in the Goddamn It Japan, You’re Doing It Wrong series, and one of the first that started our long love affair with trying to piss people off into writing angry comments about our silly articles. Boy did this one work. While we clearly haven’t tried any of these either, we still stand by our selections 100%. Please raise your hand if you’d like to eat any of the following flavors of Kit Kat bars: Aloe Vera, soy sauce, grilled corn, wine, sports drink, miso, and wasabi. Alright, please look around. If anyone is raising their hand, it is your God-given duty as an American to attack them and take off their mask. Yes, they have masks, they are aliens posing as humans. No, it won’t come off easily, keep trying to yank it off. Pay no attention to the screams of “What are you doing” or the chunks of hair coming off into your hand, trust me, these masks are very realistic but they do eventually come off.*
*AFFotD accepts no responsibility for damage or disfiguring of friends, loved ones, or strangers walking down the street hailing a taxi
While we stand by this, there are still some shoddy parts. Our introduction, which you didn’t read if you’re being completely honest, rambled on forever (us? Ramble? NEVER!) to pussyfoot around the issue that Kit Kats aren’t even American, when we could just say, “Shut up, we eat them more in America, blah blah, we’re taking credit for them, shut up.” And what were we doing making punk’d jokes? Like, sure, technically the show was still on the air in 2012, but as far as cultural relevence goes, it’s been dead since 2007 or realistically since the first season after he made Frankie Muniz cry.
AFFotD’s 7th Most Read Article: 3 million very awkward page views
AFFotD in its current incarnation was launched on January 29th, 2011. Of course, it’s existed in one form or another since the 1950’s, but this article was early on in the history of the affotd.com url, during the Wild Wild West days where we actually posted a full article every day. This hastiness appears in the writing. Remember that whole “we sometimes make stuff up about people” thing from the C. Dale Petersen article? Yeah, we’ll have to go on record and say that Popcorn Sutton, a real man who is now deceased, did not utter his first words at the age of seven, and that those words were not in fact, “This whiskey tastes like my ass, pa. Jack Daniels can’t sill for shit.”
Full disclosure, we felt kind of uncomfortable when this started getting page views because, while we were trying to do a service to a great man, we also were writing about someone who killed himself rather than face trial for moonshining, and a bunch of people responded that clearly knew the man in person. Plus, cards on the table, we absolutely had someone contact us irately accusing us of stealing an image from their website for this article, which we 100% did, and while we could have easily linked to his site and given him proper photo credit, we just deleted it and posted a different picture we lifted from a different site because we didn’t like the tone of the email he sent us. We’re Americans goddamn it, and if you accuse of being petty, well, shut up OSAMA.
The handful of commentators who knew Popcorn expressed an admiration towards him or a sadness towards his loss, because thank God they weren’t reading this with the mindset of it being a proper obituary, and good lord we were clumsy with this article. While saying, “Here’s a story that we just transcribed from a youtube video, isn’t that a cool thing about this person?” is fine, what the hell were we thinking when we closed the article by telling you not only that he committed suicide, but we described the method in which he killed himself. Jesus Christ, how did somebody not get fired for that? Oh right, we were too hungover after posting it to remember who wrote what, but come on, people!
The first rule of journalism is probably like “the truth above all else” or like “I’m sorry, I can’t accept this role at this time, Mr. Sorkin” but you shouldn’t get far down the list before you get to the rule that says, “If you write about someone that killed themselves, saying that he ‘followed in the pioneering footsteps of Ernest Hemingway’ is the last thing you should fucking say, Ricky!” Oh, yeah, Ricky’s the name of our intern that we blame for everything when we can’t remember who’s at fault. Fucking Ricky.
AFFotD’s 6th Most Read Article: Whatever number “Uzbekistan” is, but in page views
We should probably feel a little embarrassed about this one being so high, because it’s clearly listicle click-bait, and it apparently accomplished its goal. Now granted, this is not the first, nor will it be the last (probably) article we’ve written listing “the most expensive ___” out there, though okay actually it totally is our first one of these. A simple Google search of “the most expensive vodkas in the world” gets a whole mess of hits, but one problem we had at this point in our journalistic (ha!) career was that we didn’t realize how many of these articles are filled with bullshit.
Seriously, a vast majority of the outrageously expensive items you’ll find on these lists come from one Daily Mall article that had a single source which was “a Daily Mall writer shrugging and saying ‘I don’t give a shit let’s see them page views.’” And definitely a handful of the entries in this list are likely pure horseshit. Granted, we’re not going to do a follow up and confirm or deny the prices listed, or even the existence of some of the seedier looking options, because whose got time for that shit? It’s bringing in the clicks baby, ca-ching!
What’s even worse? We also tried to list a set of rules (“if it’s expensive because the bottle itself is expensive, that doesn’t count”) and then proceed to break the ever loving shit out of those rules that we had just fucking created (two of the top 3 entries are “a vodka bottle that comes with Swarovski crystals to cost $3,700, or that costs $1.2 million when filled with diamonds” and “a $1.3 million dollar vodka that we suspect also comes with a fucking car”). This is hackney as shit, and that’s just the start.
To top things off, there were a few entries where we couldn’t find a price, so we just tossed our hands up, said, “Fuck, expensive probably, right? Has to be!” and put it in the middle of the list arbitrarily. Our second entry just says, “It’s made of gold, so, that’s pretty crazy right?” and we’re pretty sure we put it in there so we could half-steal a David Cross joke and pass it off as our own, while the following one doesn’t even try to tell you why it’s expensive other than the fact that it’s filtered in gold, and is put in a very expensive bottle, because fuck you, if we can create rules, we can break them, in the hallowed halls of the affotd.com domain, we are fucking Gods, you will not question our authority!
Yikes. This one was rough. Let’s keep going.
AFFotD’s 5th Most Read Article: Everyone, man, everyoneeeee
Many readers commented on this one a lot, because whenever you mention drugs, people get really fucking angry, really fucking defensive, or real fucking paranoid and watch out dude the FBI knows you visited this article shit flush your stash flush it the fuck now they’re coming! One reader didn’t like the fact that after every two “sentances [sic]” we “put in what you think” which was “repetetive [sic] and annoying”, a few people were probably spam, one person got mad that we made White Trash jokes, and a lot of people started talking about how great weed was. We basically made the point of “these are some ways to alter your state legally for when you don’t have alcohol, and what’s wrong with you, just stick with alcohol” to which a lot of people said, “No man, smoke some weed!”
First of all, this was an article about legal ways to alter your mind. We didn’t mention weed, because weed was at the time illegal everywhere (2011 was a dark time for many), but we never make the correlation of “alcohol > weed” in the damn piece. We don’t care that we didn’t talk about weed here, because that’s not what the article was about. What we do care about is the breathless way in which we talk about legal drugs that makes us sound like your single uncle who tries to keep up with the hip things the kids are into by bookmarking Huffington Post. In our list of “legal highs” that “the kids are doing” we came up with fucking bath salts (at a time when everyone was hearing about nothing BUT bath salts) which are now illegal in 41 states, Spice/synthetic marijuana (which is hella illegal now, and the more we look into it, the more we think it might have been illegal as of the posting of that article), nutmeg, and freon.
So of the four items that we stretched to cover (we almost never make a post with less than five entries), two are now illegal, one is a spice that you might not know gets you sorta of high and usually pretty pukey, the last one is a type of huffing that people were being “scared straight” about since the 1990’s and oh shit we totally could have put other huffing things in this article, but totally didn’t! The fuck kind of research is that?
But, hey, it’ll still get read about 1,000X times more than this article, because “legal drugs” is pretty much Google cat nip and…fuck, does cat nip get people high too? Like if they smoke it? That shit’s legal too and, oh goddamn it, we suck. God, we suuuck.
Though, for the record, we remain to this day incredibly proud of the article’s disclaimer.
Our lawyers have the hardest job in the world. Next article!
AFFotD’s 4th Most Read Article: We don’t know. 8 million? Sure.
This was literally the third article we ever posted on affotd.com, which makes itself apparent by the lack of an introductory image, and the fact that we made a super vague joke about the fact that Ted Turner owns a chain of bison steakhouses, which doesn’t even make sense since the article was about beef, and even then it just talked about what temperature people serve their steaks at and, well, listen, this is a mess, and we’re pretty sure the main reason it has so many clicks is that we have a picture of a cow making a crazy face on it that people apparently go fucking apeshit over.
To be fair, that cow is cah-raaaazy.
You can tell we were kind of green in writing for the internet because we felt we had to very delicately hold your hand through the process of telling you a bunch of jokes about how steaks are good. There’s a joke about us making up an old Native Americans heritage myth that had a okay punchline before we say, “Today’s America Fun Fact of the Day is about Steak” like a band playing a concert where they tell you the title right before they play every damn song.
The rest of this admittedly slight article consists of some really awkwardly formatted sections where we sort of do…
– This: for each subset we want to talk about
And then we discuss the ways you can cook steak. Like, literally, just a paragraph on steak tartar, a paragraph on rare steaks, and a whole mess of angry noises towards anyone who eats their steak well-done. Which, to be fair, is still entirely valid. That remains true to this very day. Do not eat well-done steaks or, legally, your parents have to write you out of their will and give your inheritance to the AFFotD offices instead.
AFFotD’s 3rd Most Read Article: How many underage drinkers are there in America? That many.
Just look at this shit. We couldn’t find a picture of an alcoholic food that didn’t have mostly illegible white text typed over it like a cheap Microsoft Paint job? As with the Legal Drugs article, this one gets views probably because people were asking themselves/Google “is there a way for me to get drunk without having to drink” because hey, we get it, you’re 19, you didn’t get into the frat you wanted, and the bar just took your fake, and shit, those things are expensive to replace. However, considering how much our staff likes to drink, and how much we know about alcohol, this is the lamest fucking list imaginable. There are roughly zero surprises on this list, or rather, if you’re surprised by any of them, it’s by the one you will not want to try at home.
We literally, with a straight face, knowing you would click it hoping to find new and exciting ways to get smashed, told you that Jello shots are a thing that you technically don’t drink, that you can fill a watermelon with booze, that you can soak gummy bears in vodka if you’d like, that when you cook food with booze on it, not all the alcohol burns off, and that you can give yourself a vodka enema if you’ve truly given up on life. That’s the worst fucking list! There are people who went to this page, read through the list, and responded, “lol, vodka enemas” without once browbeating us for daring to proclaim that we’re the first people on the internet to tell you what a fucking Jello shot is.
No. Fuck this article. Fuck us. We’re assholes for writing it. Next article, goddamn it!
AFFotD’s 2nd Most Read Article: Gotta be 20 million, right? Gotta be.
Fark.com greenlit this article to their site, which resulted in a deluge of page views and a lot of comments that basically boiled down to people talking about alcoholic beers they’ve had, or people suggesting you just make yourself a Boilermaker and be done with it. We had been around for a while by the time we wrote this, so we didn’t really fuck around on the research aspect—as of 2013, it’s about as concise of a list of heavily alcoholic beers brewed in the United States as you can find. Ranging from about 18% (technically “15-20”) to 29%, we made sure to verify the existence of each of these beers, as well as their ABV average (that whole range thing comes from the fact that the two beers tied for the 10th spot have ABVs that vary from year to year). We actually put effort into this, and we’re not ashamed to have it as a representation of what we do on this site.
The one problem that arises when writing an article that’s trying to have, you know, jokes in it is that the jumping off point of “beers with a crazy high alcohol content” starts to get a bit stale when you’re making the same joke 10 times. “Wow, this is like, stronger than Kahlua.” “Wow, this beer will get you as drunk as a six pack of shitty beer.” “Wow, we use the word whopping to describe the alcohol content of every fucking beer because we were half drunk when we wrote this and didn’t realize how often we were using the same turn of phrase.”
There’s not much to say about this article, honestly. Sure, we’re keenly aware that we basically wrote 4,000 words to list off ten beers that 99% of readers just skimmed through to see the name and ABV of the beer, but that’s pretty much everything we write. Especially this article you’re reading right now, but especially this article you’re reading right now.
AFFotD’s Most Read Article: Every damn American. Every damn one.
At a certain point, we realized that it’s hard to take an article seriously unless you’ve got a professional looking, sharp graphic to lead things off. Before that point, we wrote about people getting fucking wasted by Googling “drunk dog” and copy/pasting the first picture we found. So naturally, that’s what heads the most popular article we’ve ever written. Jesus Christ.
Now, apart from occasionally clumsy writing or graphic selection, and from the fact that we had an impossible job confirming the #1 slot on the list (to the point that we’re still not convinced it isn’t apocryphal), this article pretty much does its job. We start off by dismissing Blood Alcohol Levels not in America, because living in Poland is only manageable when you maintain a baseline BAC of .40, and we limited our article to confirmed registered BACs of .50 or higher. We linked articles to the stories, we made a bunch of jokes about “so much alcohol their blood type was listed as ‘wine cooler’” and kept it brief enough that you don’t want to punch us in the face for reading a long form article about, like, lobsters. Oh, and we also calculated how much booze you need to get a baby drunk. Please don’t let us watch after your kids, we’re terrible adults.
The beauty of this article, or maybe the biggest insult towards ourselves we can give, is that the best part is the fact that the comments section is probably the most exciting part of the whole thing. This is a beautiful comments section, and we’re both proud and deeply weirded out by the stories you all had to share. We had Aaron H., who actually is a fairly regular commentator to the site, inform us that number 7 on our list was once the “hot girl” in a Brooks & Dunn video, which is just outstanding research on his part. Rich Snyder stopped by to talk about elephants getting drunk, which really we ought to turn into a AFFotD one of these days.
The rest of the stories, however, were basically “here’s my highest BAC” that ranged from impressive (“my brother-in-law was hit by a car, and blew a .95, and fucking lived!”) to “We’d like to believe you, son, but this seems inaccurate” (“I’m 16, I got my first public intoxication ticket with a .99 at 10 in the morning after a party!”), to “we’re guessing you forgot to shift over the decimal point, and also sorry for your loss” (“My brother’s autopsy had a 5.8 BAC!”) and finally to “the story of a crazy high BAC of a now recovering alcoholic” which, like, hey Beth we sincerely hope you’re still going strong.
Naturally, it’s fitting that the most read article in the history of this site’s four years of existence would be one about the most drunk people in America, because as you can tell from the wildly oscillating quality of the articles in this top 10 list, when you write about what you know, it really shows. And we know about getting drunk.
So in the spirit of this article, please feel free to tear into us in the comments section. We’ll even join in. Happy anniversary to us.