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“”There are two types of Cracked articles: one cracks you up; the other cracks your soul.
|—thebreak, [note 1]|
Cracked.com, or just Cracked, is a (debatably) clickbaity website created by humorist Jack O'Brien, the online successor to a long-running (1958 to 2007) humor magazine of the same name. After amassing a stable of some snarky authors and later providing a smorgasbord of video content it has become one of the most visited humor websites on the Internet, with the average article amassing well over a million views after a couple of weeks. Cracked was also one of the pioneers of mass-produced clickbait listicles; whether you call that ingenuity or an awful legacy is up to you.
While at first glance the website seems to be glorifying broscience and sensationalism, dig deeper and you'll find that Cracked.com tries to be a pro-science and pro-skepticism hub on (the popular part of) the Internet. Articles like "The Truth Behind 5 'Real Monsters' That Fooled The Internet" and "5 Idiotic Get-Rich Quick Scams People Still Fall For" (most articles are lists) show what the site is capable of. It's like Wikipedia with dick jokes (but at least they don't do the watermelon gags that the magazine did back in the day).
Despite being despised by the site runners, Cracked.com commentators are also, surprisingly, smarter and wittier than most visitors to similar websites, making the comments section often just as much of a treat as the actual article (although, there's still the usual smorgasbord of idiots, so don't get too excited). This says more about the rest of the Internet than Cracked.com's clientele.[note 2]
Amounts of clue may vary
While Cracked consistently and genuinely takes a stand against all forms of homophobia, racism, sexism, and religious bigotry when it is being serious, its love affair with black comedy, self-deprecation, dead baby humor, and (of course) dick jokes often creates a mini Poe's Law. And of course there were some writers genuinely guilty of some or all of the above failings, especially in the earlier years of the site.[note 3]
Cracked is so-so when it comes to politics. It's pro-globalization and free trade, but wails whenever the words "fair trade" show up. They don't much cotton to environmentalists either, with terms like "green" and "carbon footprint" used as buzzwords for "brain-dead Hollywood liberal" — which should make your Dunning-Kruger alarm go off. And the current site owner is Jason Pargin, aka "David Wong" of John Dies at the End fame, whose political views make Plato look like Harvey Milk. This is somewhat at odds with the views of the majority of the commenters who are more centre-left on economic issues.
Even so, the site does still attract its share of libertarians, albeit more moderate ones than those on YouTube or Ron Paul forums. You'll still get a weakness for the more stupid parts of centrism though (for instance, anti-gay marriage arguments in the comments section were sometimes given undue weight at times, and those who pointed out it was wrong to ban gays from marriage could be downvoted and told they were being "arrogant".[note 4]).
As you can see above, stray bits of science woo will creep into articles. (And sometimes, they'll defend woo promoters like Dr. Oz. They have since reversed this stance after the green coffee pill scandal.) However, articles debunking or critical of science woo and denialism well outnumber the ones supporting it. While you're generally safe in relaxing standards of due diligence for this website, it's not as ironclad as, say, Snopes. It's been known to cite heavily if not completely Professor Wikipedia for some articles, especially history involved ones. So when you click on '5 Totally GROSS Things People Ate In 1700', be ready with a cup of salt.[note 5]
Additionally, the ads that often infest the site are sometimes not mindful of its attempts to amuse and inform, and instead cater to a projected audience consuming the material — which it seems to think would like to attend disreputable online "universities", buy shirts with outdated memes, or purchase aluminum "ninja swords." Ads, of course, are chosen by a script that picks out keywords instead of understanding context, so any "controversy" here is due more to computer error than editorial decision-making.
Recently, the site has been accused of supplementing actual content with ads disguised as their usual list articles, with the same type of clickbaity title. This is a sensible critique in Cracked's business practices, even if justified due to a lower viewership. Not-so-rationally, recent critique has been directed at about every one of their political articles even remotely to the left of Donald Trump. Next time you read a political article, scroll down to the comments. They're usually hilarious, accusing Cracked of selling out to the liberal/leftist/SJW/Cultural Marxist media. More recently, Cracked received criticism for breaking their comments section, the site's biggest draw for some, with no apparent plans to ever fix it. Then charging a subscription just to vote on comments. Then firing its veteran staff for undisclosed reasons, you know, the ones that draw people to the site in the first place. We'll see how long it lasts...
4 Insane Articles You Should Also Read
- Encyclopedia Dramatica - If Cracked.com is the moderately bright star quarterback with a B average, this website is its cat-skins-drying-in-the-woodshed little brother burning with jealousy.
- Monkeysphere - Coined by David Wong.
- MythBusters - If you want a little less rigor in your skepticism.
- Snopes - If you want a little more rigor in your skepticism.
4 Mindblowing Memes That Are In Every Cracked List
- Thomas Edison - While the real-life Edison was kind of a dick, Cracked.com puffs up his villainy to a hilarious extent.
- See also: Nikola Tesla, Cracked.com's Prospero to Edison's Antonio
- Theodore Roosevelt - Cracked.com loves Roosevelt almost as much as it hates Thomas Edison. (At least it's not Andrew Jackson.)
- Spiders - They're fucking evil.
5 Cracked Lists That Are Totally Awesome
- 5 Terrifying Bastardizations of the Wikipedia Model - Conservapedia is the first entry, what did you expect? Oh, and Metapedia is at the top of the list... and they put the article on their front page under the mistaken belief it was praising them. (They thought that they had been named "#1 Alternative Encyclopedia.") Encyclopædia Dramatica is also on the list.
- 5 Cheap Magic Tricks Behind Every Psychic
- 7 Idiotic Tax Evasion Schemes People Are Actually Trying
- 6 Pro-Gay Marriage Arguments For Fighting With Crazy People
- 3 Reasons the Ground Zero Mosque Debate Makes No Sense
5 Notes That Will Shock You
- 5 Things I Learned Infiltrating Deep Web Child Molesters Cracked Note: This is a comment. So if you want to see it for yourself, prepare to press f3 and "load comments".
- Weep for the future.
- For instance, contrast Seanbaby's 2009 articles to his 2012 articles.
- Fortunately, this has been rectified since the comments section (and Cracked itself) took a much more pro-gay rights attitude. However claims in the comments section that Democrats are "just as bad" or anti-science as the GOP is still very common.
- Cracked articles generally lack any citations more rigorous than embedded Wikipedia links... for the most part.
11 Amazing References That Completely Support Our Assertions
- As of August 2012, Ebizmba.com puts it only behind Break.com. The discussion of that website's contents will probably remain beyond the scope of this wiki as it has no real persistent theme or mission other than 'present random PG-rated content a general audience might find funny/interesting.'
- "The Truth Behind 5 'Real Monsters' That Fooled The Internet"
- "5 Stupid Get-Rich Quick Scams (People Still Fall For)"
- Such as in this fine article
- See this article attacking the fair trade movement.
- They shake off ozone depletion, which isn't so rational.
- They link to a contested study finding that consumers of green products are "less ethical" in daily life.
- Here they flirt with Roger Bate-esque DDT wackiness. (The comments section does call the writer out on it, so there's that.)
- "7 Reasons The World Looks Worse Than It Really Is."
- "Why Christmas Movies are Political Propaganda", now retitled to "The 7 Most Confusing Morals in Holiday Movies", his latest argument for why fictional works prove that everyone is as bigoted and small-minded as he is.
- Cognitive dissonance alert!