Banterist

From New York, original humor writing & commentary by Brian Sack. Subject to all the flexible quality standards of internet self-publishing.

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The Obligatory 2005 Retrospective

2005 was a very good year for Banterist.com, thanks in no small part to the 15 minutes of fame earned by the sale of my leather pants on eBay. Media attention in the form of magazine, newspaper and radio coverage, NPR and BBC interviews and overwhelming web linkage resulted in tremendous numbers of new visitors – not to mention agents, managers, producers, editors and women looking for dates despite my current commitments and overwhelming geographic barriers to our getting jiggy.
Other entries achieved their own fame after being picked up by a variety of media – Gawker has always been a great source of eyeballs and such outlets as IMDB, MSNBC, CNN, USA Today, Canada National Post and the New York Post‘s Page Six all contributed to increased readership by mentioning Banterist for various reasons. Several entries appeared in publications like London’s Independent newspaper and upstart magazine Radar – which ate through $10 million before it folded, leaving one less market for selling humor. Shame, that.
Google and other search engines must be acknowledged – they bring in a great deal of traffic, whether it be people searching for “banterist” which warms my heart, or “tom cruise is an idiot” which also warms my heart. Alarmingly, one individual found Banterist through a Google search for “I want to kill my wife.
The posts that comprise Banterist’s Top Ten for 2005 are diverse in style, yet somewhat connected. Most contain themes of sex, celebrity and/or eBay – meaning the majority of entries in 2006 will be about whores, whores and/or whoring, respectively.
TOP TEN BANTERIST ENTRIES OF 2005
Paris Hilton For The Xbox leads the pack as the most-viewed Banterist entry – one that tested my Photoshop skills to the maximum. The rampant success of an entry so graphically taxing leads me to wonder aloud if Banterist couldn’t use a more talented graphic designer. Though it saddens me to see the name Paris at the top, it pleases me that people realize she sullies the name of a beautiful city filled with unchecked adulterers and unwanted immigrants.
Helpful Plastic Surgery Tips was a shocker, really. Who’d have guessed that so many people cared about the sad story of an overly-rich, underly-secure woman, or that a link from a website called awfulplasticsurgery.com could be so incredibly hit-lucrative. Indeed, I’d never heard of such a site, and now I love them like a hot Geisha – and who isn’t hot with five layers of white make-up and a hand fan? A few commenters believe it’s shameful to mock the horrifically self-mutilated woman, but most folks find her understandably terrifying.
Playboy. In Braille. A last-minute entry, and one I believed to be quite doomed to anonymity after eBay pulled the actual listing. Apparently, and ironically, even a stale Playboy without photos is verboten on eBay. But sex sells, even without eBay’s help, and in short order it found itself picked up by radio station morning shows, emailed globally, and linked to by countless sites. The concept of Playboy in Braille transcends all geographic and linguistic barriers – the entry has made an appearance in numerous foreign lands; Germany, Netherlands, even one-time democratic hopeful Russia.
Dear Person Who Hacked Paris Hilton’s Cell Phone became a prime rally-point for the current generation of adolescents and nincompoops who are able to write only in Textmessagese. The bulk of Banterist’s semi-literate, one-time readership can be found there, commenting away incoherently and for some reason under the impression that Paris Hilton and her ilk are reading their comments. Be warned, the comment section is disheartening proof-positive that education in the United States has failed and the future is filled with star-struck ne’er-do-wells who write and talk like twits. OMG WTF?
Grammar Cop: Who’s The Faiest Of Them All? Is the only entry in the highly-popular Grammar Cop category to make it to the Top Ten. And I have no idea why. The Coney Island Crime Spree entry struck me as the obvious Grammar Cop leader, as it made its way onto a plethora of websites and was emailed en masse. But no, it’s this one. Color me confused.
To The Person Who Found My Camera is no surprise. It’s one of the most-highly emailed entries on the site to begin with, and enjoyed quality linkage from high-traffic sites like I-am-bored.com. Sadly it receives a lot of traffic from Germans who, once eager to conquer the world, now sit at home searching Google for “ass filled.”
The History of My Traveling Pants, the heavily abridged story of my eBay leather pants saga was quite popular among the 3.1 million folks who sought it out after reading the original listing on eBay. Some day I hope to be far more detailed as to what exactly happens when something you write achieves Class-G Internet Celebrity status because it’s interesting and scary in a scary, interesting way.
DKNY Leather Pants I Unfortunately Own. The eBay listing alone did nearly three times the traffic of Banterist’s first two years of existence. That’s not including the folks who copied the entire listing and distributed it, or the fact that The Guardian published it verbatim without any form of attribution. The pleasant residual effects are that Banterist was exposed to multitudes and enjoys higher traffic than ever before.
Tom Cruise For The Xbox was not as graphically challenging as the Paris Hilton version, but it goes to show that one needn’t spend hours on a piece when something so simple, making fun of someone so mental, can be something so popular.
The Twelve Days of eBay. The last entry in the 2005 Top Ten is in fact one of the last entries of the year. How does that happen? Well, traffic as a result of the eBay meme is higher than ever and it’s one of the first entries the many newcomers to Banterist came across. It also helped that it appeared on linkstravaganza Fark.com.
The events of 2005 brought numerous suggestions from the public and literary professionals to venture into book writing, television writing, play writing, mentorship and posting on a knitting forum. A handful of comparisons were made to Dave Barry (male, undeceased) and Erma Bombeck (female, deceased) among others, including one unfortunate comparison to blogger Tucker Max, the kind of frat boy I’ve avoided my entire life.
I remain confident that Banterist is, more often than not, funnier than Garfield and I promise that a merger with Time-Warner would only affect the quality minimally.
Happy New Year, and see you in 2006.
Brian


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