Fashion Invitational Week 1516: Questionable Journalism


A. “I hadn’t seen that type of positivity shortly. It was actually cool.”

(Quote in a Washington Publish article)
Q. Why had been you rubbing balloons everywhere in the cat? (Frank Osen)
A. “We’re working our approach fortunately and steadily via the method of manufacturing.” (Publish article)
Q. What did the mechanical engineer reply when his mother-in-law mentioned,
“We hope you’ll quickly make us proud grandparents”?
(Cathy Lamaze)
A. It’s very uncommon to discover a steady curved airplane like that. (Quote in regards to the spherical Hirshhorn Museum)
Q. Why is there a lot pleasure about Boeing’s new Frisbee-shaped plane? (Mae Scanlan)

We’ve had plenty of enjoyable with this contest through the years: It’s in our venerable “Jeopardy!”-style reply/query format, plus it permits you to willfully misread the information media! This week: Select any sentence (or the most important a part of a sentence) from any publication dated Nov. 23-Dec. 5 and invent a query it may reply, as within the examples above from earlier Questionable Journalism contests. It may be in an article or advert, but it surely ought to learn like a sentence, not a headline. Inform us the title of the publication and the date and (if in print) the web page quantity; for on-line publications, please embrace a hyperlink to the webpage. (Hmm, the “positivity” instance is two sentences — nicely, that’s okay, too, so long as it’s brief.)

Submit as much as 25 entries at (no capitals within the internet tackle). Deadline is Monday night time, Dec. 5; outcomes seem Dec. 25 in print (delivered proper down your chimney), Dec. 22 on-line.

Winner will get the Clowning Achievement, our Fashion Invitational trophy. Second place receives — virtually in time for Christmas — a Douglas fir “tree in a field” — and that field is a 2½-inch cardboard dice. Contained in the dice are just a few seeds, a starter peat pot and a mini-booklet of directions and lore. If all goes proper, you may develop a Christmas tree in simply 7 to 10 years. Donated by Loser Daphne Steinberg.

Different runners-up win their selection of our “For Greatest Outcomes, Pour Into High Finish” Loser Mug or our “Entire Fools” Grossery Bag. Honorable mentions get certainly one of our lusted-after Loser magnets, “A Small Jester of Appreciation” or “Shut, however Ceci N’est Pas un Cigare.” First Offenders obtain solely a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for his or her first ink). See normal contest guidelines and tips at The headline “Lettery Winners” is by Jon Gearhart; Jesse Frankovich wrote the honorable-mentions subhead. Be a part of the energetic Fashion Invitational Devotees group on Fb at; comply with Fashion Invitational Ink of the Day on Fb at; comply with @StyleInvite on Twitter (no verify mark for us!).

The Fashion Conversational: The Empress’s weekly on-line column discusses the week’s new contest and outcomes. See traditional Questionable Journalism winners this week (revealed late Wednesday, Nov. 23) at

Lettery winners: Alphabetical writing

In Week 1512 the Empress requested the Losers to write down one thing 26 phrases lengthy during which each phrase began with a unique letter. The one permitted exception: So we wouldn’t have an entire web page of X-rays and xylophones, you had the choice to make your X-word one during which the X was within the center, however pronounced like “ex.” (Additionally, hyphenated compounds may depend as both one or two phrases.) The outcomes of this powerful problem: far more readable than we anticipated.

An inordinate variety of the higher entries referred to the Invite itself; see extra of the “And Final” varieties on this week’s Fashion Conversational.

[An A-to-Z passage] A boastful cad dated each feminine, going, “Honey, I simply know tons! Mansplaining? Not on level — fairly ridiculous!” such that, unfailingly, vexed girls eXclaimed, “You zero!” (Karen Lambert, Chevy Chase, Md.)

An ominous film nauseated weekend viewers, inducing projectile retching all over the place. Grown-ups: flashback — eXuding queasiness, upchucking zealously, yelling deliriously, kneeling lamely. Title? “Junior Excessive Cafeteria: Beef Shock.” (Leif Picoult, Rockville, Md.)

and the “spider skeleton”:

Conductor in rehearsal: “Violins, you’re scratchy and flat! Trombones — don’t bray like mating zebras! Kettledrums, what terribly horrendous noise! Xylophone: unbelievably grotesque — simply stop! In any other case — excellent.” (Jonathan Jensen, a bassist within the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra)

And the winner of the Clowning Achievement:

“I’d wish to comply with Xiao Qi Ji nearly on Nationwide Zoo’s large panda cam.” “Uh, why? You do know he merely eats bamboo and sleeps, proper?” (Chris Doyle, Denton, Tex.)

Alphagetaboutit! Honorable mentions

Quintessential humiliation: Observing triathletes wilting, Jack, eXhibiting graciousness (and pretentiousness), loudly yelled “Courgette!” till realizing: “Knucklehead! Rattling my French! I’ve been shouting ‘zucchini’ — not encouraging ‘valor.’ ” (Ellen Raphaeli, Falls Church, Va.)

I’ve this very massive zit on my nostril, espresso’s fairly bitter, rain retains falling. You eXclaim, “What an amazing day, everyone!” Simply shut up, Pollyanna! (Hildy Zampella, Vienna, Va.)

Some Oddly Trivial Presidential Info
Assassinated: Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, Kennedy
Questionable election: Bush
Watergate: Nixon
Union head: Reagan
Well-known Virginian/Declaration creator: Jefferson
Yemeni eXtraction: Zero
(Louise Dodenhoff Hauser, Sarasota, Fla.)

Fast! Prepare — the vacations are coming! Count on buyfests, restricted parking, very eXcited children, many invites, zealous overindulgence, no sleep. (Overlook weight-reduction plan; simply undo your waistband!) (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)

For Thanksgiving, I’d go all-out with ribs, sauteed zucchini, wagyu kebabs, quail loins, eggplant parmesan, jellied yams, eXtra uni, veal Nicoise. Or Chef Boyardee. Choices! (Leif Picoult)

First we’ll quaff some hearty, undiscovered California zinfandels. Subsequent, a vat of eXpertly blended reds: juicy malbec, earthy pinot, younger Grenache. Final: Italian dolcetto. Then … klunk! (Jonathan Jensen)

Guidelines for Public Talking: Come up, be direct; preserve eye contact with group, host, people; simply preserve letting pure openness quicken. Then (except useless), eXamine your zipper. (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)

[A limerick] “Caesar’s”’ lifeless, likewise “Tsar,” additionally “Kaiser”;
“Humankind’s simply zoomed previous ‘em, grown wiser,”
Yammer eXperts. However information
Makes idyllic, quaint views
Odor of ultra-robust fertilizer.
(Coleman Glenn, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.)

Boomers judged Xers “lazy slackers,” who deemed the next youth cohort “quintessentially entitled children needing unceasing reward.” Okay, Millennials, have at it — vilify Era Z’s repute! (Karen Lambert)

Everybody residing in Who-ville felt zealous regarding Xmas rather a lot … however the Grinch, you recognize, up on his snowy mountain perch, did NOT! Jerk! (Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)

Cease utilizing XamfirPM when you expertise: complications, joint ache, flaming discharge, wilted ribs, night time quacking, glowing, cloven toes, kaleidoscopic imaginative and prescient, lycanthropy, Bea Arthur mimicking, or zombification. (Jon Carter, Fredericksburg, Va.)

Newest, best Star Wars providing by Disney Plus is “Jabba the Hutt’s Uncle’s Cousin’s EXcellent Quest: Visiting Yavin and Naboo, Zapping Kylo Ren, Flogging Ewok Merchandise.” (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)

Thrilling scorching quickies on weathered pine bleachers
Can provide new romance eXtra zing.
Simply know (very quick!) you will uncover, undoubtedly:
Love is a many splintered factor.
(Jeff Shirley, Richmond, Va.)

Elon Musk owns Twitter! Now you downtrodden racists, xenophobes, gun zealots, QAnon wackos, Putin vindicators, incels and Klansmen can be a part of up. Let free (hate) speech bloom! (Chris Doyle)

Discerning blurry outlines in Himalayan mountain zones, gullible guests uttered: “Simply look! We’ve lastly espied proof! The abominable snowman eXists!” Educated residents responded: “Not fairly yeti.” (Karen Lambert)

Deep scars left by your vulgar, malevolent eX-president haven’t light. Gross, unruly QAnon zealots jabber kooky, offensive propaganda. I received’t even eat a “Proper Twix.” (Invoice Dorner, Indianapolis)

When Donny hurls zingers at Ronny, nice enjoyable!
There’s nothing fairly prefer it — showtime’s begun!
Unruly younger kids, simply taking part in king,
Huge mountains of ego — eXhilarating!
(Judy Freed, Deerfield Seashore, Fla.)

[Retelling a Greek myth] Athena’s start cracked Dad’s huge brow, giving him immense jarring karma. Beautiful Métis, now clearly pregnant, quaked reflexively. Swallowed, the undigested sufferer wailed excitedly, “Yours, Zeus!” (Frank Mann, Washington)

January: Yow, GOP unleashed! Looming pleasure: required AR-15 possession; Election Ninja hearings; QAnon Committee; Darkish Brandon impeachment; zero tolerance — jail! — for “wokeness.” Speaker: Marjorie? Kanye? Vladimir? (Duncan Stevens)

And Final: God is aware of common quipping’s not very difficult, however making you employ eXactly twenty-six phrases, every one having a unique first letter, is simply plain zany. (Jesse Frankovich)

And Even Laster: Earlier than coming into the Invitational, all the time first query your self actually: Does my joke responsibly eXhibit knowledge, underscore authentic data or zealously promote advantage? No? Nice — click on submit! (Karen Lambert)

Extra “And Lasts” in The Fashion Conversational at

Nonetheless operating — deadline Monday night time, Nov. 28: Our contest to hitch two or extra European city names in a “three way partnership.” See

DON’T MISS AN INVITE! Join right here to obtain a once-a-week e mail from the Empress as quickly as The Fashion Invitational and Fashion Conversational go browsing each Thursday, full with hyperlinks to the columns.


Examples:(Frank Osen; Cathy Lamaze; Mae Scanlan)
Title:(Jon Gearhart)
Subhead:(Jesse Frankovich)
Prize:(Daphne Steinberg)

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