You stupid fucking idiot. I can’t believe you just burned through your tenth free article this month and thought that we wouldn’t notice. We’re the goddamn Washington Post. You must be some kind of fell-off-the-back-of-the-turnip-truck-yesterday moron to think that we were going to keep giving this stuff away for free. We knew exactly what we were doing. We reeled you in with that primo shit: Throwing you some coverage of the internal politics of the White House. Giving you just a taste of that sweet, sweet Mueller investigation. And then, whammo! Right when you wanted to read about the firing of Steve Bannon, we dropped the hammer on you. We played you like a cheap violin. I honestly can’t believe you fell for this shit.
Did you forget that journalism costs money? Did it slip your mind that we have an entire organization of writers, copy editors, and delivery boys that all need to get paid? Did you think that Pulitzer Prize-winning writers like Barton Gellman grow in the goddamn ground? Or, are you just a complete dumbfuck? Hey everyone, get a load of numbnuts over here! This guy thought that newspaper articles were always free. I bet you also thought that printing press ink comes from a magical, never-ending river, and that subscriptions fall from the sky. Breaking news, dickweed: It doesn’t, and they don’t.
Front page headline: you’re a dumb asshole.
You know what? I’m sorry. We overreacted. Here, let me make it up to you. We’re going to lift the paywall on this one article—it’s an exclusive interview with Jim Mattis about his thoughts regarding North Korea. Here, do you want to give it a little read? Go ahead. Oh…oh what’s that? Is the first paragraph normal, but the second paragraph is grayed out and covered with a pop-up ad about a subscription offer? Got you! You must feel like such a douchebag right now, hoping, in vain, that the system will let you through. Breaking news, dickweed: It won’t. So, fuck you. Give us money to do journalism!
What? Don’t want to pay $9.99 a month to make sure that one of the finest newspapers in the country can keep holding our elected leaders to account? Well, I’m sure we can work out some kind of…arrangement. Want to see this great article on Jared and Ivanka’s complex relationship with centrist Republicans? Sure thing. All you have to do is dance for us. You heard us. Dance. Yeah, nice and slow-like. Now, say, “I’m a bad, bad news consumer.” Say it again, but this time, like a little baby. Good. Gooooood.
Or how about this: You can have all of the free articles you want if you start slinging newspapers on the street. Come on, put on a little newsboy cap and smile for us. Let me hear a big, strong, “Extra, extra, read all about it!” That’s right, you work for us now. And don’t you forget it, bitch.
Don’t like it? Too bad. We own you. What are you going to do, read USA Today like you’re staying in a goddamn Holiday Inn? Knock yourself out. Have fun reading a shitty article about fun summer getaways for couples in their fifties. Hope you get your rocks off doing some crossword puzzle that wouldn’t challenge a fourth grader. While all your friends are reading a great David Fahrenthold piece about non-profits canceling their fundraisers at Mar-a-Lago, you’ll be off looking at some stupid infographic about the rising price of bananas. So, unless you want to be an uninformed dipshit, you’re going to pony up, and you’re going to like it.
Whoa. Whoa whoa whoa whoa. Are you trying to get around the paywall by pasting the link in Incognito Mode? You think you’re so fucking smart, don’t you? Fine. You may get a free look at a great article about the implications of President Trump’s tax plan on the middle class, but we’re on to you, motherfucker. We will figure you out. We’ll start making you sign up for an account to access articles. And we’ll make it really difficult—your password will have to have a capital letter, a number, and a special character. Is that what you want? Didn’t think so.
So, just pay up, get yourself a digital subscription, and read to your heart’s content. Read an article and then send it to your mom. As long as the check clears, we don’t give a shit. And hey, because we like you, while you’re here, why not sign up for our daily newsletter about the goings-on in Washington? It’s free–which seems like something that even an assclown like you can handle.
Brian Agler is a humor writer living in New York City who has contributed to The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, and Esquire. He co-authors a weekly roundup of humor writing, and occasionally tweets about it.