“Editors of the paper are concerned that McDonald’s dangerous political agenda may start to “rub off” on their more impressionable readers.”
Editors increasingly hesitant to refer to him as “journalist”
VANCOUVER – Jayson McDonald, erstwhile “journalist” or “reporter” for London’s sassy bi-weekly Yodeller newspaper, has been placed on indefinite leave after a series of the writer’s articles left the editors questioning not only the veracity of the content, but also the mental health of the author.
“We’re a little bit concerned for his safety, as well as the safety of the people around him,” said Merlin Van Houten (not his real name), the paper’s current print editor. “There’s been a significant decline in the verifiable content that McDonald’s been submitting, and a rise in ludicrous, nonsensical whimsy.”
Staffers at The Yodeller were concerned enough to suggest that McDonald be seen by a professional Head Doctor.
“We’re inclined to keep him around, at least for the time being,” Van Houten continued, “because, well, you know, you don’t throw out your car just because the transmission is pooched. You try and fix the transmission first.”
Some of McDonald’s most recent columns were forwarded to Dr. Emil Kunst, a professional Head Doctor and instructor at University Hospital with an actual doctorate in Mental Doctoring, in order to ascertain whether the author may be at risk to himself or others.
“I’ve spent a little time with an extended selection of Mr. McDonald’s writings and analyzed them on the Jong-Harper scale, a mental health tool used to gauge the rate and severity of an individual’s psychological decline,” explained Dr. Kunst, head slightly bowed so he could peer over the lenses of his reading glasses in an affected scholarly fashion. “Although Mr. McDonald’s columns are mildly entertaining, if one can get past all the commas and semi-colons, his ideas, over time, have become quite sinister and alienating. Add to that his thinly-veiled anti-authoritarian sentiment, his blatant disregard for social mores, an increasingly bizarre reality selection process and a penchant for archaic literary folderol, and we may be looking at the larval stage of another Guy Fawkes.”
Dr. Kunst produced a heavily-highlighted copy of one of McDonald’s articles to use as an example.
“For example, this recent business about robots taking over the world. Firstly, I believe we all might have had some slight notion at least that such a thing had occurred, and yet I have seen no evidence to the effect. And in fact no one I’ve spoken to in recent memory has alluded to anything of the kind. But this in itself is merely delusional. The red flags in the content are subtle, but ominous. For instance, the reference to our Prime Minister as an unfeeling machine, an artificial intelligence with sinister intent, is indicative of a gross anti-authoritarian agenda with an intent to disrupt the common trust. It’s not the first time he’s made such a claim either . . . previous references to the Prime Minister have been coloured with similar outlandish speculation.”
Dr. Kunst paused briefly to fiddle with his desk clock.
“I don’t know why this thing keeps flashing 6:66. That’s not even a real measurement of time. Surely it means to say 7:06? Hm. Perhaps it’s broken. Anywho, McDonald is a nutter.”
Editors of the paper are concerned that McDonald’s dangerous political agenda may start to “rub off” on their more impressionable readers.
“We run a nice, family-friendly mom-and-pop paper down here,” claimed Van Houten (not his real name), hands folded neatly together on his desk, smiling widely around tightly clenched teeth. “We’re not aiming for any sort of rabble-rousing or disruption of the status quo. McDonald’s world-view is suggestive of undue critical thought, and his widely imaginative speculations might be giving our more persuadable readers the idea that it’s okay to draw attention to sociopolitical issues that are really nobody’s business, and will only make you sad. Sad doesn’t sell papers.”
A survey of the paper’s readership cast some doubt on the impact of McDonald’s columns.
“I’m fiscally conservative, and socially neoconservative,” explained one reader very loudly over the phone. “I read The Yodeller for its rabid right-wing op-ed pieces and its informative essays on the history of local bridges and farms. McDonald’s columns smack of fiction, and I don’t have time for fiction. Fiction is for people who have to time to sit around and indulge in fantasy instead of contributing to the economic welfare of the community, like the chronically unemployed and marijuana users. Good day to you sir.”
But Van Houten (again, not his real name) was adamant that his staffer’s potential for thought crime and grossly fractured syntax was cause for a trip to the “funny farm.”
“We worked out a deal with a seemingly reputable institution out there on the West Coast. They’re just a little start-up and they’re looking to iron out the kinks in their treatment program, so they’ve offered us a very deep discount on McDonald’s stay. He’ll still be writing out there, as part of his therapy, but we’ll be accepting his articles on a case-by-case basis. We’re wholly expecting to see a kinder, gentler, quieter, more punctual writer.”
The publisher of The Yodeller agreed to treat McDonald to an extended stay at Langley’s soon-to-be prestigious Gentle Acres Reconditioning Centre in lieu of payment for his articles.
McDonald, a former ubiquitous London late-night tavern spectre now relocated in sunny Vancouver, was amenable to the idea of seeking professional help.
“Mental health isn’t something I like to make light of,” he said over the phone while chewing an apple or similar pulpy fruit, “so if everybody’s on board with the idea that I might be riding a Crazy Carpet down Cloud Cuckoo Hill, obviously I’m going to get myself checked out. I’m a bit fearful of the process and have some serious doubts about the professionalism of the place they’re sending me to, but they say there’s goats on the farm, and well, goats are hilarious.”