Watch out for the killer squirrels! It’s “silly season”… or is that “cucumber season”?

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Newspapers in newspaper stands

Watch out for the killer squirrels! 🐿️
We’re very much in “silly season” right now in the UK 🤪

Not long ago, a friend posted a link to a news item published the day before about an audacious missionary being killed by the uncontacted people of North Sentinel Island

My immediate thought was “no, not another one” as an event like this also happened in 2018. But upon reading the article, the “news” was actually that same event. Hardly “news” then.

Welcome to “silly season”, the period in the later summer months known for frivolous, sensational and/or old news stories in the UK mass media, such as the rehashing of the dead missionary story or multi-page coverage (with exclusive photos!) of an image of Jesus appearing on a piece of toast .

Silly season coincides with parliament and the law courts in recess, and when many are on summer holidays, so there’s supposedly not much real news going on or a demand for it. Seeing most mass media are driven by advertising, which needs people to see it, crazy, vapid and/or rehashed news items take centre stage to capture readers’ and viewers’ interest.

Such news articles appearing in North America is dismissed as a “slow news day”, whereas for Southern Hemisphere countries Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, the “silly season” is in the summer months of December and January, and also extends to cover the crazy behaviour displayed by many and the general madness that are all part of the lead-up to Christmas.

“Silly season” is also used to describe off-season sports periods when tenuous fodder on popular sports such as football (transfer rumours!!!) or Formula 1 (transfer rumours!!!) take up much time and space in the media.

Slow news days and/or periods happen everywhere, with different expressions for it. For instance, many Central and Eastern European countries refer to this period as “cucumber” or “pickle season” such as “sezona kiselih krastavaca” (Bosnian/Croatian/Montenegrin/Serbian), “сезоната на киселите краставици” (Macedonian) and “сезонът на киселите краставички” (Bulgarian).

👉 How is this period called in your country and/or language?
💥 What’s the craziest “silly season” news story you’ve ever seen?