Terrible People wants to know why people do stupid things

by Grace Wang in February 2018
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Art & design

Do you go through your day feeling annoyed at the things people do? The team at Terrible People magazine certainly do. In fact, their publication is all about exploring why people do “stupid” things. With a good dose of humour and sarcasm, the staple-bound title mixes social commentary with illustrations, infographics, photography and short fiction to reflect on people’s ‘dark sides’, and with it, the clashes of cultural norms around us.

We got in touch with Oriane Pawlisiak, Yuting Huang and Jennifer Link to find out more.

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What is Terrible People magazine?
Terrible People is an independent magazine that aims to display the ‘dark sides’ of human nature in a funny way. The first issue was all about food, whereas the second issue focuses on social media. It wants to open up people’s minds to new ways of thinking and to make them reflect on their own behaviour, while remaining humorous and entertaining.

Who’s a ‘terrible person’?
We’ve been asked this many times, but ‘terrible people’ are hard to define — it’s more like a judgement of a certain situation. Many cases are based on misunderstandings, cultural differences and/or subjective consciousness. In the second issue, for example, we introduced a new feature called ‘the haters’ and did a photoshoot about people’s habitual quirks.


Why did you want to explore the dark sides of human nature?
The idea was originally inspired by the annoyances that come with commuting daily on the London Underground. It made us wonder why people do stupid things, such as trying to squeeze into a full tube while the next one is due in a minute, or place an empty bottle on a bin instead of throwing it into the bin…or not letting people get off the train first… We could go on.

At the beginning, we even thought about interviewing people right after observing their stupid behaviour and asking them: “Why did you do that?” (We gave up on the idea, as we didn’t want to blame or judge people in our magazine.) However, deep down we still believe that people are ‘terrible’ in many ways, and it is an endless and sometimes even funny topic to explore. In the end, we decided to make a magazine that’s sarcastic, funny, but meaningful.

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You targeted Youtube trolls in issue two by replying to their nasty comments…
This feature came from a simple assessment: people tend to be more stupid and mean to each other behind the anonymity of a screen. On YouTube, haters are omnipresent as they can act without the fear of reprisal. Usually, their nasty words will gain likes that flatter their ego momentarily, but words can be powerful and impactful, and it seems like these haters were never going to figure that out on their own… So we decided to help them realise how stupid they are, by replying in the same, ironic tone they use.

Of course, everybody is free to comment and give their opinion about a video (who doesn’t appreciate constructive feedback on their work?), but keep it to yourself if it’s another nasty comment about a YouTuber’s physical appearance, sexual orientation or life choices… And, if something disturbs you too much to appreciate their content, here is our number one tip: don’t waste your time watching videos you don’t even appreciate!


What’s next for issue three?
That’s the question! At the moment, we’re still busy with the distribution of issue two. We recently expanded to Taipei and Amsterdam and we are looking forward to hopefully adding even more countries to our list of stockists. We have also been positively surprised to receive spontaneous messages from talented writers, artists, and illustrators, proposing interesting collaborations for the third issue, so it’s very exciting!


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