The Daily Athenenianium

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Copyright © 1998-2002 Coltrane Productions.
All rights reserved.

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Perhaps a little background would be appropriate.

In 1992, the author of this parody enrolled in West Virginia University. WVU has a student-run newspaper called The Daily Athenaeum. The Daily Athenaeum consistently scores in the top 10 college newspapers across the country. This is partly due to the excellent journalism school which gives The Daily Athenaeum a great pool of talent, partly due to the University's hands-off treatment of The Daily Athenaeum, partly due to the daily publication of The Daily Athenaeum, and largely because it's free so The Daily Athenaeum can claim huge circulation numbers.

If you're wondering why we keep saying The Daily Athenaeum instead of using pronouns like normal people, yes, it's because we want anyone searching for The Daily Athenaeum on a search engine to find this page instead.


Excerpts from the Athenenianium
The Athenenianium gets reviewed!

Anyway, The Daily Athenaeum has a motto: "Little good is accomplished without controversy, and no civic evil is ever defeated without publicity." They use this as an excuse to cause all kinds of trouble, most of it ultimately good but often painful to watch. It was high time -- nay, begging -- nay, screaming -- for a parody.

That's where our intrepid student comes in. He saw this need and filled it. He created the first and only all-out parody of the newspaper done by an outsider (The Daily Athenaeum has its own self-parody once a year, perhaps in an attempt to dissuade others). It was tabloid sized, printed on newsprint, and distributed at a half-dozen local hot spots.

It was the Daily Athenenianium.

The name poked at freshmen's inability to get it right: "Anthem," "Athenium," and usually just reduced to "DA," all in all it seemed like a poor choice of masthead. But hey, it's 100 years old. The whole university's only about 130. We can hardly expect a 30-year-old ag school to know what to call a newspaper!

The content poked at everything that was The Daily Athenaeum. The slogan, the weather, the ambiguous headlines and poor contrast, the weird comics, even the Church Directory.

It captures the last days of the Bush presidency.

It reveals that a pair of notorious bars are giving up on beer.

It tells you where to join the Church of Star Trek for worship; almost tells you where the Absent- Minded Professors are meeting; and tells you that Procrastinators Anonymous have postponed the weekly meeting.

Follow the exploits of "Jim's Journal" as he watches TV; of "Calvin and Hobbes" getting excited about peeing; of "Overboard" discussing abortion.

The Athenenianium also holds revelations: the true location of the Red October, a giant lizard terrorizes the Sahara Desert, and the surprising inner meanings of "Gilligan's Island."

There are also a few eerily familiar stories, written well before the similar real-life events: Washington, D.C. in a state of emergency; GM buying Chrysler; students sleeping through fire alarms.

This bizarre parody was printed once and will not be printed again. What there is, is what there is. C'mon! What have you got to lose? It makes a hell of a conversation piece if left on a coffe table or chair.

Are you a current or former Mountaineer? Do you know someone who is? This parody is a unique memoir for that special time in the town lovingly known as "Morganhole," especially for alumni and near-alumni (those who accidentally sobered up and flunked out) who attended West Virginia University in the early 1990s.