- Do you enjoy popular culture? Do you like comedy? Maybe you pride yourself on being a trivia expert? An armchair historian? Then Cracked.com is for you. On Friday afternoon at Comikaze, I got to sit down with Senior Editor Soren Bowie to talk about the online aggregate of pop culture news that utilizes a list-style format.
- “Cracked takes what you think you know and then shows you really didn’t know,” Bowie explained is at the core of the website that he has been working with since 2010. It’s a comedy website that provides unique pieces of information. It’s a “constructive deconstruction” of popular culture. And what better way to present information but in list form, a familiar structure that many of us use on a daily basis.
- I asked Bowie why the lists are so successful. He explained that consumers already have the context of pop culture all around them, even if the exposure is periphery, the awareness is still there. As he stated, “classes should be taught this way.” Humor and popular culture references blended together for teaching sure seemed like a win-win situation to me.
- How do all those lists come about? Bowie explained that freelancers from around the world with many varied backgrounds come together in the workshop where they can pitch ideas to the editorial team. The team then works with the person to research and develop the idea into a finished article that is publish ready. I had believed that the articles were quickly turned from idea to article, but Bowie said that may take a month from inception to posting, but it was more likely to take many months given all the research that is required ahead of time.
- The deconstruction of culture doesn’t end with lists on their website. About five months ago, Bowie said the group has created Cracked Studios where they are building shows around personal experience stories such as being a prostitute or going to prison. This is an area that Bowie said Crack is anxious to expand upon as well as their podcasts. They have even talked about the possibility of a Cracked film and/or television show. And, he said doing “live reviews” of shows as they are being broadcast is another avenue for analyzing pop culture.
- Since we were at a con where many attendees are aspiring writers and creative types, what does one need to do to become a freelancer, and most importantly, did it cost money. Cracked has a Write for Us section at their website where they are looking for writers, as well as infographics, videos, and photoplasty (photoshop) contests. It’s free to register and you have the opportunity to earn money. Bowie stressed Cracked could not do what they do without the community of freelancers.
- Head Writer & Creative Director of Video Daniel O’Brien popped in at the end of my conversation with Bowie and provided me this tidbit: “Cracked is the only site where you can laugh and learn at the same time.”
- If you want to learn more about Cracked.com, they will be hosting two panels on Saturday. The first is The Making of After Hours: How a Conversation Becomes An Episode starting at 11 AM in Room 404AB and will include Cracked.com cast and crew Jack O’Brien, Daniel O’Brien, Soren Bowie, Michael Swaim, Katie Willert, and Cody Johnstone. The O’Briens, Swaim, and Bowie are back at 4:30 PM to host The Cracked Podcast Live! in which they will discuss in more depth articles and sketches featured on their website.
Michele Brittany is an independent popular culture scholar and semi-professional photographer and editor of the forthcoming title James Bond and Popular Culture: Essays on the Influence of the Fictional Superspy (McFarland & Company). She regularly posts reviews and analysis on the spy/espionage genre on her blog, Spyfi & Superspies and can be followed at Twitter @mcbrittany2014.