Kermit Mustafa moved to the Capital Region from Yemen at the age of 21, taking a job at the Van Rensselaer Box Factory on Broadway in Menands where he worked as a design engineer. A child of privilege in the Middle East, Mustafa’s decision to leave his homeland was influenced by the dry desert air in Yemen, which wreaked havoc on his sinuses. “The days were hot as fuck,” said Mustafa. “But the nights cooled down considerably. I was hot, then cold; hot, then cold. I could never find the zone.” While employed at the box factory, Mustafa attended night school at Menands City County College, where he ultimately earned a Bachelor of Arts degree as a dual major in fake journalism and puppet mastery. As he assimilates into the United States, Mustafa — who joined the Smudge shortly after graduating MCCC in June 2016 — said his immediate goals include wining a Pulitzer in the category of fake breaking news, finishing in one sitting the #9 value meal at Arby’s, and “fucking a blonde.”
ALBANY — The Albany Smudge — the Capital Region’s leading source of co-dependent make-believe news — is ending its barely successful and little-noticed 31-month run with today’s edition.
Smudge Publisher Burt Wilkersonn said the decision to discontinue, which he characterized as “difficult, emotional and surprisingly coherent,” was announced to staff last Monday.
“We decided to stop before we completely sucked,” Wilkersonn explained. “I mean, how many times can you make fun of doctors’ wives and their naturally gifted children in Bethlehem, or the underprivileged folks of South Colonie?”
Wilkersonn added that the negative press surrounding fake news in wake of the 2016 presidential election “unfortunately started to cast yellow journalism and outright lies in a bad light.”
“We prided ourselves on being very stupid and aiming always to fool nobody,” said Wilkersonn. “Still, some people actually believed Syrian refugees in Amsterdam, NY, demanded to be sent back home because of problems with Time Warner’s Internet speed, and that North Colonie really held a telethon for the down-and-out residents of South Colonie.”
Nonetheless, Wilkersonn said the Smudge is grateful for its readers across the Capital Region, and to those who were willing to play along when skewed by the fake-news outlet.
“Cuomo, the City of Cohoes and its Mayor Sean Moose, South and North Colonie, the Town of Bethlehem, the Village of Menands, the dead bodies found all over Schenectady, and TU gossip columnist Inga Svenson-Olaffson — they were all good sports,” said Wilkersonn. “And so was that prison seamstress up in Dannemora — you know, the one who wore the mop on her head.”
Discontinuation of the Smudge — which ends having run 136 consecutive weekly editions without interruption — will increase the local unemployment rolls by six people.
Today’s final edition, said Wilkersonn, is a ‘Best Of’ collection, featuring the fake newspaper’s most popular stories based on analytics.
“That’s all she wrote,” said Wilkersonn. “And as far as the future — well, in the words of John F. Kennedy — ‘now, we on a mission; we goin fishin.’”