The Missouri newspaper the Uranus Examiner has been shut down because, as the owner claims, the good people of small-town central Missouri just weren’t ready for the businessman’s sense of humor.
Uranus, Missouri, may be the world’s only tourist attraction based on a pun. Along Missouri’s Route 66, about 150 miles or so west of St. Louis, lies the roadside tourist attraction that owner Louie Keen built and then ran with, dialing up the puns to 11. Made to look like an Old West town, the tourist attraction consists of a tattoo shop (Skin City Tattoo), a candy shop (“the best fudge comes from Uranus”), a restaurant, a bar, and other attractions.
For the record, Uranus isn’t actually a town. There is no incorporated town in Missouri called Uranus, the “town’s” water tower (“Home of the Pirates”) notwithstanding. It’s a tourist attraction, nobody lives there.
In keeping with the attraction’s theme of relying on puns that amuse 13-year-old boys, when nearby town Waynesville lost its daily newspaper, the Daily Guide, Keen saw an opportunity. He bought the rights to the defunct newspaper and re-branded it as the Uranus Examiner.
It wasn’t without controversy, as the New York Post reported at the time.
I am in Uranus, Missouri, a town whose entire economy is structured around scatalogical jokes pic.twitter.com/tD0Kl9kK05
— Sarah Kendzior (@sarahkendzior) July 24, 2016
Waynesville Mayor Luge Hardman thought the name brought shame upon the town – that is, Waynesville, an actual town that is near the fake town of Uranus.
“No. I’m sorry. But the innuendo of that title puts the city up for public ridicule.”
Resident Darrell Todd Maurina didn’t much care for it, either.
“That name does not indicate a serious newspaper.”
That punny name, and the townsfolks’ resistance to it, wound up spelling doom for the paper. After five issues published, the Examiner called it quits, as the Metro reports.
There were a variety of reasons for the paper’s demise. Retailers in and around Waynesville wouldn’t sell it. Businesses wouldn’t advertise in it. Banks wouldn’t loan Keen money to invest in the publication.
Keen blames the area’s “fuddy duddy squad,” perhaps turned off by the name and perhaps turned off by the fact that he used to own a strip club, for the paper’s demise.
“We were committed to trying to help the community with a great newspaper. The problem was, a few fools in the community couldn’t allow that to happen because I used to own a strip club. ‘The only people they punished were the vast majority of citizens who appreciated what we were trying to do for the community.”
The closing of the Uranus Examiner leaves Pulaski County (population: 52,000) without a daily newspaper.