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Fake News Freakout! Five

By Cory Vaillancourt • Fake News Editor | When I started writing this yearly feature five years ago, it was intended to highlight the then-emerging phenomenon now known as fake news. I thought that 2016 column would be a one-off, a satisfying way to blow off some steam and play with some local news stories in the same fashion as revered satirical outlet The Onion. 

Boy was I wrong, and there’s only one person to thank for the five-year anniversary of the Fake News Freakout — Donald John Trump. 

Trump has done more to promulgate the concept of fake news more than possibly anyone, both through his denigration of real news that he deems fake news, and his promotion of actual fake news that he believes is real.

Counterintuitively, that makes my job much more difficult because fake news is far more common now and therefore not as funny as it used to be.

I even thought about not doing the Fake News Freakout this year, worried that I wouldn’t be able to measure up to the ridiculousness that was reality in 2020. 

But, as a red-blooded American man, I decided that to deprive you, my friends, of the Fake News Freakout — on its fifth anniversary no less — would be nothing short of tyranny. 

Now then, submitted for your perusal is another fresh batch of fake news stories, which are fake. Thanks Don! 

SMN Staff Writer/Outdoors editor Holly Kays contributed to this fake news report, which is fake.

 

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Area man Chad McGee supports the right to bare arms. And hands. Donated photo

 

Area man refuses to wear oven mitt 

Nursing pus-weeping third-degree burns on more than 50 percent of each of his hands, one area man still refuses to wear an oven mitt when handling hot pots and pans despite conventional wisdom and expert testimony suggesting mitt usage as the best way to avoid injury. “I refuse to live in fear of my oven,” said Chad “mitt free” McGee, of Waynesville. “Plus, it says so right there in the Constitution, the right to bare arms. Also, this obscure 1820s court ruling I discovered says that presumes the inalienable right to bare hands.” 

McGee explained he’d done his research on YouTube and Newsmax, and had found that mitt usage can result in oxygen deprivation to one’s hand, making it sick. Plus, he said, it covers up a part of the human body that God made in His own image.

“The Luciferian elites don’t want you to know this, but the concept of ‘heat’ is actually just a well-crafted hoax promulgated by the Chinese Communist Party in concert with Democrats to make President Trump look bad,” he said. “I got a ‘C’ in high school physics so I know what I’m talking about.” 

At last word McGee had started a Facebook group called Saving Patriotic Constitutional Vigilant Second Amendment American Patriotic Amendment Patriots of America (SPCVSAAPAPOA) and began posting videos of his selfie soliloquies, filmed while driving in his truck.

“The Founding Fathers would spit on us for wearing oven mitts,” McGee said. “This is literally tyranny.”

 

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Bigfoot’s shyness stems from centuries of pandemic preparation, research shows

Scientists have long been mystified by the secretive behavior of the rare North American wood ape — commonly known as Bigfoot — but new anthropological research reveals the reason behind the primate’s elusive ways. The Bigfoot’s reticence is based on prophecy, not privacy. 

“For millennia, our prophets have told of a time when a powerful virus would emerge that could be defeated only through social distancing and avoidance of enclosed, poorly ventilated spaces,” said Adi Das, one of the wood apes interviewed for Stan Onsole’s seminal 2020 work Legends, Lore and Really Big Feet: A Journey into the True World of the Native Bigfoot. “We have shaped our society around the arrival of this moment in history, spending our days outdoors and keeping our distance from people. They say 6 feet, but we aim for more like 6 miles.”

Unfortunately, the prophets did not account for the response that the ever-expanding human population would have to that same pandemic. As more people than ever before have sought solace in the outdoors this year, Bigfoot families have found it increasingly difficult to maintain the strict social distancing standards to which they have adhered for years without number. 

“It used to be easy to keep to myself,” said Ni Kee, whose story appears in Chapter 7 of the book. “Sure, as a young Bigfoot I’d occasionally get my kicks by giving some rando a brief glimpse and watching his jaw fall to his feet, but that was just a stage. Now I like my privacy, and there’s way too many people in my woods. I’m pretty sure I wound up in the background of at least five selfies this year, though I don’t think anyone noticed. Otherwise they would have gotten a lot more likes.”

 

Covid Mountain Music Festival draws sparse crowd

Hoping to capitalize on the tremendous success of a similarly-named two-day concert event, organizers of an ambitious local music festival this past summer now admit that it may not have been the brightest of ideas. 

“We thought what with everyone being all ‘Cooped’ up for months on account of the China virus and our tyrannical governor that people would be excited about this event,” said Becky Karen, one of the COVID Mountain Music Festival’s organizers. 

Billed as a mask-free “religious gathering” protected by speech and assembly clauses in the First Amendment, the COVID Mountain Music Festival saw just 19 paying customers occupy a space that could normally accommodate more than 5,000. 

Those who did attend may have been outnumbered by the stage crew, security, vendors and performers, but they were treated to a memorable evening of legendary performances by the likes of such storied artists as Joe Diffie, Ellis Marsalis, Charley Pride and John Prine. 

Despite the financial failure of the event, Karen said at the time that she held no regrets and looked forward to retooling the event next year. 

“This whole thing will be over on Nov. 4, right after Trump wins the election anyway,” she said. “It’s all just a hoax.”

 

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Whee! Holly Kays photo

 

Sylva to transform Allen Street into giant slide

Facing a million-dollar fix for an ever-worsening landslide that’s causing deep cracks on Allen Street, the Town of Sylva voted unanimously last week to stop forcing the road to conform to the town’s dream for it and to instead find its true calling as a slide. 

The road will be covered with a 10-foot-wide plastic chute that will easily ferry people, vehicles and packages from the top of the hill to the bottom. Plans feature a loop at the end that will use centrifugal force to send passengers back up to the top should they so desire. The design also allows the construction to be easily converted to a water slide for some summer fun. 

“At first I wasn’t sure it would work, but on our recent town board trip to Universal Orlando we got the chance to try out a similar construction on Splash Mountain, and let’s just say it was love at first ride,” said Commissioner David Nestler. “We’re well on our way to becoming the most fun town in the South.”

 

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Everything area man disagrees with is literally tyranny 

After finally recognizing that almost all aspects of his life have been negatively impacted by brazen violations of his Constitutional rights, area man Chad “live free” McGee has come to the conclusion that every little thing that annoys, troubles, inconveniences or bothers him, in any way, is literally tyranny.

“It’s literally tyranny,” said McGee, who’d just been forced to sit through a Hungry Man Frozen Dinners television commercial featuring a man using an oven mitt. 

McGee explained that he’s begun compiling a growing list of all the things that restrict his complete, total, unfettered freedom. That list is inclusive of but not limited to stoplights, parachutes, handicapped parking spots, the right to own a personal shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missile and the lack of new Mandalorian episodes until December 2021. 

“The deep-state fat cats don’t want us to have any more Baby Yoda,” he said. “I threatened to kill [Mandalorian showrunner] Jon Favreau on Facebook and they banned me! That’s a violation of my First Amendment rights. It’s tyranny.”

McGee also said he’d deduced that a plethora of doctors, scientists, academics, athletes and Hollywood-types have devoted their entire careers and indeed their very lives to a conspiracy designed to deprive him of his constitutional rights by asking him politely to wear a mask. 

“I’m allowed to have my own opinions on science,” McGee said. “I have some opinions on math, too.”

 

University leaders squeeze nation’s pearl supply

Unprecedented demand from academic leaders nationwide has severely challenged the United States pearl industry. 

The increased demand stems from a burgeoning desire for something solid to clutch onto whist lamenting the woeful recklessness of the country’s college students. 

“I just couldn’t believe it,” said Dr. Barry Shocked of the UNC System. “Who would have thought that the students would have continued to throw parties and engage in social interaction even after they were explicitly informed that such behavior was unwise and severely discouraged?”

Pointing to the unrivaled success of public health programs taking aim at underage drinking and drug use, university leaders have continually scratched their heads in bewilderment at their seeming inability to convince students to behave in the mature and responsible manner they have in the past. 

“It simply boggles the mind,” said Dr. Ap Pald of N.C. State. “I never thought I would see the day that a college student would simply ignore expert public health advice.”

Unsure of what else to do, Pald went down to the local pawn shop and got himself the longest string of pearls he could find. The clutching has proved extremely therapeutic, he said. 

“I’m fresh out of pearls,” said Tad Shady, owner of Tad’s Corner Pawn, upon answering a phone call for this story. “And I ain’t sure when I’ll be getting more in, so don’t ask. Bye.”

 

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Only time area man wears mask is out of shame while waiting for food aid

With more and more citizens of the world’s most prosperous nation experiencing exacerbation of pre-existing generational poverty and food insecurity due to the ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic, lines at the Western North Carolina’s food banks and outdoor pantries are growing ever longer. 

“I’ve worked my whole life, paid into the system, bought a house, all that,” said Chad “mask free” McGee, who was waiting in line at a Haywood County food bank on Christmas Eve in hopes of securing a frozen turkey, dented canned goods, unsaleable vegetables and day-old cupcakes for his family of four.

“I can’t believe my decades-long history of voting against my own self-interest on account of obscure social issues that don’t affect me has led my family to this point,” McGee said. 

Despite being an avid amateur scholar of both epidemiology and the U.S. Constitution, McGee added that he’s opposed to masks on practical and philosophical grounds but wears one while waiting in line, hoping he won’t be recognized by or see anyone he knows. 

“I don’t want people to think we’re poor,” said McGee. “I’m ashamed to be here but North Carolina unemployment benefits are the worst in the nation and no stimulus check has come since April and when it does it won’t but pay for last September’s groceries and our state didn’t do that Medicaid expansion thing so my doctor bills are crazy and Duke Energy raises its rates every damned year and … it’s tyranny, this stupid socialist government. Tyranny.” 

Thankful for the handout, McGee also fired a shot in the War on Christmas by wishing food bank volunteers not just a “Merry Christmas,” but a “very” Merry Christmas. 

Before heading over the river and through the woods to his grandmother’s house, McGee rummaged through a bin of donated kitchen utensils and casually tossed into his box of holiday cheer a pair of fancy black silicone oven mitts.

 

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Ukelele Sensation Takes WNC by Storm 

Nearly a decade after first gaining international notice, Foster the People’s runaway 2011 hit Pumped Up Kicks has experienced an unexpected resurgence from an unlikely (see “I gave my love a cherry that had no stone, I gave my love a chicken that had no bone”

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