Who killed Bat Boy?

For those of you who are very young, or who have spent your days so glued to your cellphones that you haven’t noticed the trashy newspapers in supermarket checkout lanes, Bat Boy was a monster – half boy and half bat – and the creation of the Weekly World News.  Bat Boy was supposed to have been discovered in a West Virginia cave in 1992.  He was two feet tall at the time of his discovery, but he grew – as most kids do.  He did all sorts of interesting things, including fighting terrorism with the Army on some occasions.  He had what might be described as a love-hate relationship with the U.S. government.  A perceptive boy if ever there was one.

The institution of the supermarket tabloid goes back as far as I can personally remember.  In the 1970s, their pages were about evenly populated with fictitious monsters, UFO sightings, the wild discoveries of Soviet scientists, and assorted celebrity gossip.  Stuck in line with your mom and the groceries, you couldn’t help but look.  Sensible people never took the pre-PhotoShop creations of these vulgar newspapers very seriously, but they have always had a certain appeal to the high school sophomore who lives on quietly in most of us.  When I was young, whether a kid’s family actually bought the National Enquirer amounted to a kind of rough IQ test.  If they not only bought it, but actually believed it, one could assume they were not exactly overachievers.

If you are thinking I am going to tell you how Bill and Hillary kidnapped Bat Boy, and how he subsequently died during salacious activities on Jeffrey Epstein’s “orgy island,” I will have to disappoint you.  Bat Boy died a more humdrum, more pedestrian death.  He was simply upstaged by the increasing circus-like condition of the real world.  The Clintons were accessories to the crime, of course, but Bat Boy’s murder was committed by progressives and their culture en masse – and, as usual, no indictment has ever been filed.

Even at the time of Bat Boy’s discovery, Michael Jackson was well on the way supplanting him in the tabloid press.  Fake freaks do not compete well against real ones.  Bat Boy’s pointy ears and pointy teeth were no match for Jackson’s pointy nose and hideously angular face.  Simply escaping from one captor after another didn’t compare with the sensationalism of Jackson’s real life.  When faced with a half-black, half-white celebrity pedophile wearing a single white glove, what’s a half-boy, half-bat to do? 

The Weekly World News stopped printing physical papers in 2007, following their readers into the netherworld of cyberspace a couple of years later.  Bat Boy faded away, his final resting place unknown.  Bat Boy’s less patriotic successor is the equally bizarre but sadly less fictitious monster “Caitlyn” Jenner.  “Caitlyn,” we all know, is half-man and half-woman.  “She” was popularized on another well-known supermarket magazine, Vanity Fair.  Jenner, then named Bruce, was also a feature of my childhood grocery memories – appearing on Wheaties cereal boxes as the greatest of America’s Olympic heroes.  The 66-year-old self-made hermaphrodite is still a hero to some, winning the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.

The problem is not that “you cannot make these things up.”  The problem is that you no longer have to.

Pretty soon, if we don’t change the culture’s direction, all forms of satire from the crudest to the most refined will follow the late Bat Boy into the abyss.  As people have begun to turn their cellphone cameras on themselves, the job of freak has far more applicants than available positions.

Freakishness used to be something I could pick up or leave in the rack like a pack of chewing gum.  Now I live in a thoroughly freakish world.  Open YouTube and click the “Trending” button if you feel that my assessment has been unduly harsh.  The shrinking list of traditional tabloids must struggle to think of anything shocking left to print.  They are now overwhelmingly populated with pictures of celebrities turned fat and ugly – something to make supermarket customers feel a little less bad about the eight packages of Oreos and two gallons of ice cream nestled in their carts.  If you cannot entertain the public with the bizarre, a bit of schadenfreude will have to do.

At the bitter end, if the trend continues, perhaps the tabloids will start showing normal people on their covers.  People with any sort of lasting standards are rapidly becoming the monsters of tomorrow.

For those of you who are very young, or who have spent your days so glued to your cellphones that you haven’t noticed the trashy newspapers in supermarket checkout lanes, Bat Boy was a monster – half boy and half bat – and the creation of the Weekly World News.  Bat Boy was supposed to have been discovered in a West Virginia cave in 1992.  He was two feet tall at the time of his discovery, but he grew – as most kids do.  He did all sorts of interesting things, including fighting terrorism with the Army on some occasions.  He had what might be described as a love-hate relationship with the U.S. government.  A perceptive boy if ever there was one.

The institution of the supermarket tabloid goes back as far as I can personally remember.  In the 1970s, their pages were about evenly populated with fictitious monsters, UFO sightings, the wild discoveries of Soviet scientists, and assorted celebrity gossip.  Stuck in line with your mom and the groceries, you couldn’t help but look.  Sensible people never took the pre-PhotoShop creations of these vulgar newspapers very seriously, but they have always had a certain appeal to the high school sophomore who lives on quietly in most of us.  When I was young, whether a kid’s family actually bought the National Enquirer amounted to a kind of rough IQ test.  If they not only bought it, but actually believed it, one could assume they were not exactly overachievers.

If you are thinking I am going to tell you how Bill and Hillary kidnapped Bat Boy, and how he subsequently died during salacious activities on Jeffrey Epstein’s “orgy island,” I will have to disappoint you.  Bat Boy died a more humdrum, more pedestrian death.  He was simply upstaged by the increasing circus-like condition of the real world.  The Clintons were accessories to the crime, of course, but Bat Boy’s murder was committed by progressives and their culture en masse – and, as usual, no indictment has ever been filed.

Even at the time of Bat Boy’s discovery, Michael Jackson was well on the way supplanting him in the tabloid press.  Fake freaks do not compete well against real ones.  Bat Boy’s pointy ears and pointy teeth were no match for Jackson’s pointy nose and hideously angular face.  Simply escaping from one captor after another didn’t compare with the sensationalism of Jackson’s real life.  When faced with a half-black, half-white celebrity pedophile wearing a single white glove, what’s a half-boy, half-bat to do? 

The Weekly World News stopped printing physical papers in 2007, following their readers into the netherworld of cyberspace a couple of years later.  Bat Boy faded away, his final resting place unknown.  Bat Boy’s less patriotic successor is the equally bizarre but sadly less fictitious monster “Caitlyn” Jenner.  “Caitlyn,” we all know, is half-man and half-woman.  “She” was popularized on another well-known supermarket magazine, Vanity Fair.  Jenner, then named Bruce, was also a feature of my childhood grocery memories – appearing on Wheaties cereal boxes as the greatest of America’s Olympic heroes.  The 66-year-old self-made hermaphrodite is still a hero to some, winning the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.

The problem is not that “you cannot make these things up.”  The problem is that you no longer have to.

Pretty soon, if we don’t change the culture’s direction, all forms of satire from the crudest to the most refined will follow the late Bat Boy into the abyss.  As people have begun to turn their cellphone cameras on themselves, the job of freak has far more applicants than available positions.

Freakishness used to be something I could pick up or leave in the rack like a pack of chewing gum.  Now I live in a thoroughly freakish world.  Open YouTube and click the “Trending” button if you feel that my assessment has been unduly harsh.  The shrinking list of traditional tabloids must struggle to think of anything shocking left to print.  They are now overwhelmingly populated with pictures of celebrities turned fat and ugly – something to make supermarket customers feel a little less bad about the eight packages of Oreos and two gallons of ice cream nestled in their carts.  If you cannot entertain the public with the bizarre, a bit of schadenfreude will have to do.

At the bitter end, if the trend continues, perhaps the tabloids will start showing normal people on their covers.  People with any sort of lasting standards are rapidly becoming the monsters of tomorrow.