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The Clickbait Mystique Behind the New York Times‘ Dildo-Themed Hot Take

Screen Shot 2016-07-05 at 1.37.11 PMFounded in 1851, The New York Times has long been heralded as the nation’s “newspaper of record.” For generations of eager American readers, the Grey Lady has been one of the country’s most trusted, respected, and highbrow publications, truly offering all the news that’s fit to print.

And sometimes, it writes about dildos.

Not the sex toy, per se, but an unfortunately named town in Newfoundland with a tremendously well-endowed, uh, sense of local pride. But even the Times isn’t a stranger to the clickbait world of digital frenzy; this weekend, it titled a piece, “Proud to live in a Town Called Dildo,” by Dan Levin, partnered with a map of The Rock and a gigantic arrow in the shape of a, well, you get it:Screen Shot 2016-07-05 at 1.35.02 PM

I don’t care where on the homepage this story is placed or what harrowing articles about the world’s ills this story appears alongside; the fact is, when a reader is greeted with a headline called “Proud to Live in a Town Called Dildo,” a reader is going to click on that headline 96.2% of the time, because — one again — it’s called “Proud to Live in a Town Called Dildo.”

I don’t blame the New York Times for revealing the bizarre-but-true saga of the residents of Dildo, or how they celebrate a festival called Dildo Days, or how residents are unsure of where the name came from, or the fact that t-shirts labeled “I Survived Dildo Says,” sell like sex-themed hot cakes. But from the eyes of at least this digital editor, it’s pretty obvious when we spot an effort to create clicky commotion. Game recognize game.

Eh, who knows? Maybe I’m just jealous that I didn’t uncover the Dildo hot take for myself (now there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write). Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to finish my column about the people of Titty Ho in the United Kingdom before my deadline is up.

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

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