UWS Dad Hopes Spoof Newspaper Becomes 'The Onion' for Parents
UPPER WEST SIDE — "Is Purell Slowly Killing You?" It's the kind of headline that would grab the attention of most health-conscious urban parents — exactly type of person the spoof story is mocking.
The article, about a new way to de-purell your hands, is the work of James Clunie and was pubished in his parenting parody newspaper The Parenteer.
Clunie, who has a one-year-old daughter and a four-year-old son, was immersed in the world of Upper West Side parenting — and saw plenty of material for an Onion-style publication.
"There's a huge bottomless pit of jokes — the stuff kids say and parents do," he said.
"There's a lot of judgment and the entitlement of certain people here makes for good tension and comedy."
And then there's parenting etiquette, a whole other arena prime for mocking, he said.
"There's a whole set of mores up here, like don't make fun of a kids' name."
In April of last year, Clunie started publishing copies of The Parenteer, which gets delivered to 180 residential buildings and about 20 businesses around the neighborhood. It's free and has a circulation of 7,000.
In his latest issue, Clunie took a big step — he started publishing the paper under his real name.
There's a whole cast of made up characters who've been writing articles for the 10 to 12 page paper, but the roster has never included Clunie until now.
He said he was partly motivated to reveal his role because he's had much less backlash than he expected. He said he's received fewer than five negative comments.
"I think people relate to it and there's truth to it," he said, adding that "parenting is supposed to be fun," which The Parenteer reminds people.
In his holiday issue, Clunie said he's writing about the "revenge gift," a gift you buy for a kid whose parents you don't like that comes with a million tiny pieces and is difficult to put together.
The holidays are full of mateiral, he said.
The paper, which Clunie works on late at night and when he's not working for various advertising agencies as an art director, has not yet broken even. Clunie aims to add more advertisers and increase the paper's delivery range.
"Everyone says 'you have to take this to Park Slope. Why is this not in Park Slope?'" he said.
"The goal is to have it on a national level. I want to be like The Onion."