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15 August 2014

“Is Your Landlord Actually Incredible?”: should the government be allowed on BuzzFeed?

The Department for Communities and Local Government has attempted a BuzzFeed listicle. Prepare to cringe.

By media mole

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”

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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:

But all this negative attention will at least get their piece a few clicks. Every cringe has a silver lining.