Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Web Reporter Hospitalised for Multiple Personality Disorder

By Guest Goldminer
Tim Baker

Perth, Australia –
What started as a promising, edgey career in the exciting world of new media, has ended in tragedy and finger-pointing.

Rupert Penniwinkle, work experience boy and part-time web administrator for free local surf magazine, Fully Sick, began showing worrying signs in his regular despatches on their website several months ago, but sadly no alarm bells went off among his employers, co-workers or legions of readers. What happened next may forever alter workplace laws in this country, particuarly when it comes to allowing junior staff unfettered access to the internet without supervision.

Penniwnkle’s acid-witted commentary on the surfing world had shot him to almost instant internet celebrity, among his immediate circle of friends and local cafe patrons. The parry and thrust of the comments section below each of his articles had become especially popular, as the great unwashed rank and file of the surfing world stormed the barricades and had their say. Or so it seemed ...

“It started innocently enough,” Neil O’Shannesy, Penniwinkle’s former editor, observed.
“He’d post an item, we’d all weigh in under invented names, just to get the ball rolling, to give people the idea of the kind of poison and viciousness we wanted, and they’d soon get the idea, join in and start baying for blood and hurling abuse with the best of them.”

Soon, however, O’Shannesy’s increasingly busy social calendar allowed him little time in the Fully Sick office and the former work experience boy was given complete, unsupervised access to a computer, a broadband internet connection, and the Fully Sick website’s content management system, sometimes for days at a time.

“I know, I know. It seems crazy in hindsight,” bemoans O’Shannesy. “But he seemed to pick it up right away. A natural. I showed him a bit of the nastier stuff on YouTube and he just got it. He didn’t need us any more. He adopted a few other nom de plumes and would happily engage in heated arguments with himself for hours, until someone took notice. He’d even put on different outfits for each character. And he was ruthless. He’d tear strips off anyone and anything, even himself. Our readers just loved it. I know, I’ve spoken to all of them.”

It wasn’t long, however, before these multiple identities began to compete in Penniwinkle’s brain for supremacy.

“I’d write something contentious like, I don’t know, live theatre is strictly for wankers. If no one bit, I’d chime in with an empassioned defence of the exact opposition,” explains Penniwinkle, a little wearily, and clearly under the influence of powerful medication.

“Then I’d abuse myself and before I knew it I was at my own throat, literally,” Penniwinkle reccounts vividly, grabbing himself forecefully by the scruff of the neck.“The third man in usually wrote the other two off, and so it went. There was a kind of crazy beauty to it, like releasing the hounds. It felt fantastic just to let all these mad, illogical, mutually contradictory thoughts out into the world and let them run like brushfires. It was wonderful to see the readers join in with a kind of mass blood lust. To incite the power of the mob! I felt .... for a moment ...” Penniwinkle pauses, regards the stark surrounds of the hospital ward. “Glorious,” he whispers.

Though hospital visitations are strictly limited and supervised, Penniwinkle is already beginning the painful process of putting the pieces back together - feeding and toileting himself, taking short walks with the aid of a zimmer frame, even visiting a corner street for cigarettes and breath fresheners.

Penniwinkle is currently allowed closely monitored, half hour sessions of internet time each day.

“They’re still there, the voices, but I just try to igore them mainly,” Penniwinkle explains seriously. “Oh, I get itchy fingers from time to time. But then I remind myself what I’ve learned here in the occupational therapy classes. How we are all one and interconnected.” He breathes a heavy sigh. “I had no idea. I thought that’s what the internet was for. Why didn’t someone tell me?”

Back at Fully Sick HQ O’Shannesy and publisher Phillip Nolan are re-assessing Penniwinkle’s future.

“I reckon he’ll be good at selling ads,” declares Nolan, with a sudden, broad grin. “That bloke would sell a rat’s arse to a blind man as a wedding ring. We’re going to conjure a win out of all this one way or another.”


  1. are you trying to start a flame war with PostSurf now that it doesn't exist? this may have been funny about three months ago.

  2. Tim you are a great surf surfwriter, but not a great surf humorist. Nice attempt, but what the hell do I know.

  3. what do Anonymous and The Nug know about writing.....

  4. I don't think Bakes is taking a shot at PostSurf actually. I'd like to think it's more a commentary on the dark side of the web medium. Cheers!

  5. Excellent!!! There's plenty of those out there.

  6. Think it's time to get over your Jed Smith obsession. You're better than this

  7. Appreciate that Anon, but this ain't about anyone in particular, some people will read Stab, some will read Postsurf, it's about the 'net and it's darkly dehumanizing effects. Cheers.

  8. That's not really being honest Tim. It is obviously a dig at Postsurf so better to fess up. You're a bloody good writer so say what you want to say by being the better writer.

  9. How delightfully ironic that "Anonymous" here is insisting on dragging these comments into the exact type of negative, crushingly cynical feedback loop that's being parodied in Baker's story. Very clever, Anonymous, very clever indeed.

  10. This has nothing to do with postsurf. Its a not even thinly veiled criticism of stab. I think it would be more effective written seriously. So many of us, and by us Tim, I mean normal punters who like to surf and used read the mags as teenagers really ,realy can't stand Reilly. He's almost likle a journalistic peodo who shoudln't be in charge of anything that influences kids. I dont think you can really blame Jed... he's just young clay being moulded, recently anyway, into poo.

  11. Tim, your comments over at Nugable betray your foolish notions. The readers of PostSurf aren't the typical mush-minded fuckwits that comment on typically rehashed and boring surf blogs... like me.

    You're a good writer. If dark humor and crass commentary aren't your thing, then so be it. Maintain your personal high-line and avoid inflaming a group of die-hard ne'er do wells who enjoy a bit of witty banter, pro-ho bashing, and general debauchery. There are plenty of sterile surf blogs for you to enjoy. PostSurf appealed to those who wanted something 'different'.

    For every Luis C.K., there are a million Carrot Top's and Gallaghers.

    S'all good man.

    Your friend,


  12. Anonymous! You are Gay.

    Take that!! (sheathes sword, swaggers away)