What do a bridge, two houses (one old, one new), a trolley, puppies, an outhouse, countless modern-day bathrooms, a fast food container and a clueless CVS store all have in common?
All but one are inanimate objects in Raleigh with their own parody Twitter accounts, with a total of 2,766 followers.1 Out of curiosity and for perspective I did a comparison: it’s around the same number of followers real-life blogger Leo Suarez had when I checked on July 1.
It’s parody parity. Just as many people want to snicker and be in on the inside jokes around and about Raleigh as those who want to stay up-to-date on real Raleigh insights.2
Add in @ElevatorQueen—an outlier here, since Cherie Berry is a real person; you’ve seen her face and distinctive signature many times on the way up or down—and you bump the numbers up to 7,721 followers.
Oh and then there’s William N. Finley IV, real or imagined, you decide. Even though he has 3,036 followers he can’t be called an outlier since he makes his living as an Inside the Beltline socialite and being referred to as anything “out” would probably make his head explode. Or his Tahoe.
So what’s the point of all this, seriously?
As I thought about celebrating our nation’s independence this past weekend, the painfully obvious word of the day is “freedom,” and parody is the ultimate freedom: freedom of speech. Defined as “a piece of writing, music, etc., that imitates the style of someone or something else in an amusing way,” it pokes fun at taking life too seriously. Humor can be an outlet to express frustration at why things stupidly might be the way they are, to push an idea forward, to mock something while underhandedly making people think. An anonymous Twitter account lets you do all that under cover. And snarkiness reigns supreme.
Twitter just smiles at all of it, explaining that “Users are allowed to create parody, newsfeed, commentary, and fan accounts on Twitter, provided that the accounts follow the requirements…” which mostly say that you need to tell everyone it’s not the real deal.
Here’s a taste of Raleigh’s real-deal parody tweets:
“We are now offering healthy opt…oh it’s April 2nd? DAMN! Ok fat-so’s, come on by and eat corn dogs for breakfast.”
Crabtree Jones House:
“@ModernOakwood You know it! Apparently I’m still a little rough around the edges (can you empathize?), and need some help sweeping & raking!”
“.@OldPrivy @NewRaleigh @PeaceStBridge @CookoutTray @ModernOakwood @CrabtreeJonesHs Hey! What about me! Failing to serve DTR for years!”
“A hurricane is a comin and I’m pissed that it’s not named Cherie. Of course I’d be a category five anyway…”
Oakwood Modern House:
“Survived another round of Gail force winds today. #HurricaneArthur”
“Hey @PeaceStBridge, did you have a pool party without me? Just dodged a huge beach ball rolling down Peace St at West St. No joke.”
“My power is so great, I can stop trucks without even touching them. #fridaythe13th”
“The light is on? The bathroom is occupied. At @RaleighTimesBar”
Raleigh Puppy Record:
“Raleigh Planning Commission is meeting right now. Rezoning cases would be more interesting if they were presented by puppies.”
Raleigh Trolley Pub:
“You can run off the sexy schoolgirls, but I wouldn’t call 2 MPH ‘running’ so I’m here to stay. cc @WNFIV @maryannbaldwin”
William N. Finley IV:
“Dad won’t let me use his number on Sundays RT @shovemedia: @WNFIV I’d have put you at the country club … are you grounded or something?”
So whether you’re in on Raleigh’s parody Twitter scene or not, thank your Stars and Stripes we still have the ability to laugh at ourselves. Freedom forever!
Check ’em out:
Cookout Tray @CookoutTray
“i am delicious. i am fried. i am your favorite drinking buddy.”
Crabtree Jones House @CrabtreeJonesHs
“I’m Raleigh’s oldest house still in residential use, was built around 1795 (probably) and just moved to a new site, with the help of Preservation NC. Yea!”
“Twitter feed for the CVS on Fayetteville St., downtown Raleigh. The store is official but the feed is not! This feed is to show @CVS_Extra how clueless I am!”
Elevator Queen @ElevatorQueen
“NC’s Commissioner of Labor and Elevators. Not affiliated with Cherie Berry or NC DOL. *parody account*”
Oakwood Modern House @ModernOakwood
“I’m a modern house fighting for my life in a Victorian neighborhood.”
Old Privy @OldPrivy
“comfortable with poop, generally overlooked, remarkably important”
“I’m a bridge. Low clearance. #nomnom”
raleigh bathrooms @raleighbathroom
“Number one or number two, we’re there for you”
Raleigh Puppy Record @RalPuppyRecord
“All the puppies fit to print. The adorable, cute and fluffy animals of Raleigh, feature leads and everything else @duncanreporting doesn’t let us use.”
Raleigh Trolley Pub @RaleighTrollPub
“When being drunk, loud, and obnoxious isn’t enough-why not hold up traffic too?! WHOOOOO!!!”
William N. Finley IV @WNFIV
“William Needham Finley IV™. ITB socialite and author. Making sure things stay the same, one blackout weekend at a time.”