There is a place on the internet, a sometimes dark and harrowing place, called BuzzFeed Community. Where listicles compiled by brands, organisations, and – most devastating of all – government departments, ooze out into the ether like scorched balls of tumbleweed. Pale and quivering imitations of their humorous and popular counterparts written by staff on the main part of the site, these lists usually only attract attention for being cringeworthy. Remember the Tory chairman Grant Shapps MP’s ill-fated and much-mocked attempt at the end of last year?
Well, in a catastrophic assault from Whitehall, the Department for Communities and Local Government has taken to the site, with a post called “Is Your Landlord Actually Incredible?”
This mole will resist writing a numbered list of what is wrong with the article – if it teaches us anything, it’s that ripping off BuzzFeed rarely ends well – but here are some of the worst parts:
The use of the word “facepalm”
The use of the phrase “actually pretty awesome”
A reference to the Big Bang Theory
A “three-legged racehorse” conceit
Also all the pseudo-memes.
It not only shows why government departments shouldn’t attempt this kind of humour, but also that they should check their facts before they attempt anything at all – it turns out most of their nine pieces of criteria for an “incredible landlord” are just basic legal requirements.
The piece isn’t playing particularly well on Twitter:
— Alice Bell (@alicebell) August 15, 2014
More evidence of Buzzfeed’s conservatism – they let the government run a cringey post defending private landlords http://t.co/WSCsoELRyw
— Rank Tributes (@svejky) August 15, 2014
— Alasdair (@ralasdair) August 14, 2014
so the dept for communities and local government did a buzzfeed about how brilliant landlords are and it is a FANTASY http://t.co/mHjOndPrOC
— kingy boys rule (@The__Biscuit) August 15, 2014
But all this negative attention will at least get their piece a few clicks. Every cringe has a silver lining.