We all remember our first time.
For me, it was “Clint Eastwood to Buy Home in Parkville, Missouri.” Or was it “Walking Dead Season 7 to be Filmed in Springfield, Missouri”? OK, so perhaps we don’t remember our first time. But both of these got me. They were my first exposure to a darkness none of us really understood the Internet could conjure. As someone who lives in Kansas City, Missouri and attended college in Springfield, hearing The Walking Dead being filmed there didn’t really amaze me. Some parts of that town are downright pitiful, fitting neatly into human imaginings of apocalyptic hellscapes, zombie or otherwise. But the Clint Eastwood thing? I thought that was f*cking awesome. There’s this idea among Kansas Citians, see, that there is absolutely nothing in Parkville (I haven’t actually bothered to investigate this), and it kind of seemed sensible that Clint would just want to ride off into the sunset to a place where he could avoid all human contact. He always seems so curmudgeonly.
But apparently, some genius (and absolute monster) figured out that ideas that are f*cking awesome enough can completely abolish critical thinking skills. In my defense, I took a moment to look at the other stories on the webpage to determine if it was a satire site. But lo! The site had stories of events that actually happened. That’s where they get ya. Ben Affleck did sneak Matt Damon onto Jimmy Kimmel’s show. That woman winning $1 million? Actual clip. And goddammit, who can deny that German snacks are quite the mouthful? (In my “not defense,” had I looked harder I would have found a mention of “pure fantasy” under the “About” tab; who would have thought to look there?)
According to Snopes, these hoaxes started with Mackenzie Post and Headline News, and spread to other sites. Sure, Mackenzie Post sounds like the name of a 7th-grader’s mock newspaper in Mr. Dack’s social studies class, but who wouldn’t trust a name like Headline News? Or KSPM 33? Apparently no one. All of us have been painfully caught with our trousers down over one celebrity or another moving to a town happily close enough to stalk. We’ve squawked and squealed about Justin Bieber moving to Sandy, Oregon or Tom Cruise moving to Beaver f*cking Falls, Pennsylvania. We shared on social media how Matthew McConaughey was moving to Mulvane, Kansas, if there is such a place, only to hang our heads in total shame when someone tells us we’re acting the fool (for me and Clint, it was my Dad. Thanks, pops).
And now, buckle your Padawan robes, because apparently Star Wars: Episode VIII is going to be filmed in Topeka, Kansas! [Editor’s Note: Location may vary.]
It seems Ireland was just too scenic a place for Rey’s training under Luke Skywalker to begin, and thus the producers and director settled on a miserable town in the middle of nowhere that reeks of slashed grade school budgets. The article isn’t real. You could say it’s a trap! It’s from WMAC NEWS, which I suspect is either an offshoot of Mackenzie Post or is secretly run by Lee Ann Womack.
Probably the most barbaric part of all this is it’s solely for profit (thanks, capitalism). Someone gives us everything we ever wanted (McConaughey to just assimilate into some small, crappy municipality and disappear forever) and then yanks it away, while hoping we’ll click on an advertisement in between! Don’t be fooled. Don’t line the pockets of these savages. Don’t trust “local news” anymore — looking at you KMBC 9, Kansas City’s News Leader. Give the finger to clickbait, unless of course it’s an article about clickbait, using a clickbait headline (click on that link and you won’t BELIEVE what happens next).
At least now you know. And you’ll probably notice the websites look exactly the same. Apparently there’s a default webpage template called “Total @$$hole.”