List of Poe's Law examples
|Someone is wrong on|
“”Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of Fundamentalism that SOMEONE won't mistake for the real thing.
Below is a mostly thorough list of websites that have been subjected to Poe's Law, either by people commenting on them as serious business or by virtue of someone spotting them, getting confused, and dumping the link on RationalWiki. Notably, not all examples seem to relate to religious fundamentalism or right-wing politics.
- Stephen Colbert: His character on The Colbert Report is often thought to be sincere.
- Fundies Say the Darndest Things: From a woman who can't quite grasp how to talk to her son about homosexuality to someone who says gravity is a myth because people don't orbit mountains, many of the Top 100 certainly suffer from Poe's Law.
- Roger Ebert: His Q&A column expressed strong support for truly absurd creationist views. After a firestorm of blogospheric shock, Ebert revealed that his column was intended as satire.
- YouLoveMolly: Presented a video on converting an Indian to Christianity. This one fooled many atheists, Christians, and anti-racist activists, as evidenced in people's blogs and video responses. Hint: "She's from India, it's like an African country in Asia or something."[note 1]
- Niilo Paasivirta: A long-time Internet satirist who has written several texts (in English and Finnish) that manage to capture the fundamentalist nutjob style to a T — though a careful reader may start to wonder if, say, washing machines with transparent lids are really sinful or not. Consequently, he has been mistaken for a real thing, and gotten megabytes upon megabytes of fan- and hatemail from both sides.
- Insane Clown Posse ("ICP"): This dark humor rap duo have been the subject of much controversy over certain songs which seem to present a strong anti-science, pro-creationism stance. Fans have often engaged in heated debate over whether or not they are being satirical. The group has recently announced that they are truly Christian and really do despise science and promote creationism. However, many fans are still not convinced and believe this to be a continuation of the parody.
- God is Lord: Linked to a set of crazy religious web sites, and other RationalWiki users thought God is Lord believed the material in those sites.
- Tamtampamela: Made a series of doe-eyed fundie videos, but crossed the line when describing, in great detail, how she had prayed for God to smite Japan with a tsunami in 2011 and then went on to fantasize about more disaster porn happening in the US and Europe. The video went viral and notched up the notability of "Poe's Law" as people couldn't tell if she was real or serious. She eventually came out as a troll, stating that she basically got off on the anger directed towards her. Some commentators still think that she was, and still is, a real fundamentalist, despite the fact that prior to this she was a regular contributor to the anti-Christian fundamentalist parody site Landover Baptist Church. Some commentators still believe the parody admission was just covering her ass because she'd said something that led to such violent hatred of her. This is based on speculation that she really does attend a Christian sponsored college, assuming no identity theft has occured. Drama drama.
- UFO Phil: Campy parody of an alien abductee that some people really want to believe is a real person.
All I was saying was that either the earth is flat, and the bible is correct, or the earth is round, and the bible is incorect, i'm going to study the issue more and deside for myself which route I want to take. Either Atheist evolutionist, who agrees with all of mainstream sciences, or flat earth litteral bible believer.
I'm leaning toward being an atheist, because if I can't believe the bible to be completly litteraly true, then I can't believe Jesus when he speaks about heaven, etc..
- Heliocentrism is an Atheist Doctrine: Fundamentalists should stop focusing solely on Evolution and attack Heliocentrism, as that contradicts the Bible too.
- The International Square Earth Society. The mailbag pages have to be seen to be believed.
- The Flat Earth Society. The debate section should make for good entertainment.
- AntiSpore: Claimed that the game Spore was "propaganda aimed directly at our children to teach them evolution instead of creationism." This set fire to the blogosphere in 2008, bringing the concept of Poe's Law to thousands. Spore initially started as a game based on evolution, but any such intention was slowly washed out in favor of playability, empowering the player with the ability to sculpt life as they saw fit, anytime they wished. Clearly Memetic evolution at work.
- Conservapedia: Always has been and probably always will be rife with examples that satisfy Poe's Law, as the only way to get away with mocking or even simply disagreeing with Andrew Schlafly on his own turf without him banning you is to make sure that he doesn't realize that you're mocking/disagreeing with him. For example, an older version of Post-Diluvian diasporas, which remained for almost 10 years, explained how exploding volcanoes in the Mount Ararat region were responsible for distributing animals after Noah's flood. Conservapedia's article on Poe's law is another good example.
- Conservapedia's kangaroo article: After a link to OBJECTIVE:Ministries' spoof article about kangaroos originating in the Middle East was added to Conservapedia, at least one RationalWiki editor was sufficiently taken in to write a full refutation.
- Answers in Genesis: To the best of anyone's knowledge, AIG is serious business. It is one of the more sensible ones (relatively speaking), however, even having a page dedicated to the stupid arguments that creationists shouldn't use.
- Blogs 4 Brownback: Claimed to really be an ultra-conservative Christian website in the name of US senator Sam Brownback. It was outed as a hoax not long after starting. The misspelling in the name ("4", i.e. "four", in place of "for") might have been a clue to that one.
- Baptists for Brownback: Stepping on the bandwagon of Brownback flavoured parody, Baptists for Brown are now known as the Republican Faith Chat ("Conservative Christians ONLY. Liberals, Atheists Not Welcomed!").
- Calvinists 4 Conservatism: Had to put up a disclaimer saying "this site is no joke." Of course, all true parodies have to insist that they're real. The contributors and comments seem to vary in sincerity.
- Christians for Michele Bachmann: Notable for tricking Stephen Fry and Richard Dawkins, this is a Facebook page that, as the name suggests, parodies the views of Michelle Bachmann and her followers, along with telling us the dangers of 'injecting the pot' (Note: Don't ever do it. 'Not even once').
- North Korean news headlines: Note this website is in Japan, a country with which North Korea's relations are, shall we say, extremely hostile — while at the same time being the home of several hundred thousand expat Koreans affiliated with the DPRK. This confuses the "real or spoof" question slightly, but most indicators say that it is, in fact, genuine.
- America Speaking Out: A site dedicated to obtaining ideas from the American public. Soon the website was filled with crazy suggestions by extremists and parodists and it became difficult to tell which was which. PZ Myers described it as: "Poe's Law written out all across the country, on every subject. It's insane."
- What Would American Jesus Do?: A site purportedly "Uniting Church and State — Just as Jesus Intended!" Commenting on health care reform, for example, the blog asserts "A Christian government would not pay a single penny to any program that allows death to come earlier than God’s natural law intends. Except for capital punishment — that's okay." There are few hints as to whether this is real or farce, but the choice of post "reactions" gives some clue: "inspired," "questionable," and "whacko."
Religion, ministries, and churches
- ChristWire: An almost unprecedented level of racism, paranoia, and Bush fellation. Almost certainly parody considering the line "I am writing to Disney from my new robot droid cellar when I c0mplete this upload and I am also writing a letter to Miley Cyrus." Was "outed" as parody by the New York Times in September 2010, but the website itself denied the accusation.
- The International Congress of Churches and Ministries: The intro page to the site defies description (well, you could describe it as "Michael Bay learned to use Flash"). However, it is an actual genuine organization helping non-profits connected to religious groups to avoid federal taxes.
- The Mrs. Whitford Witnesses YouTube channel: Hint #1: Favourite Movies: "Anything with Kirk Cameron."
- Harold Camping: The greatest troll ever. He managed to get idiots to part with their money and kill each other. Even after his failed 1994 prediction of the end of the world, and his failed 2011 May 21st prediction, people still believed his LOLWUT about October 21st. "No Parody has ever been better."
- Objective: Ministries: One of the best known parody ministries (perhaps along with Landover Baptist), this still confuses people even many years after it was launched. Their "kidz" pages and artwork are among some of the most prominent and famous examples, with some people claiming that they've seen Objective4Kidz stuff reproduced seriously. "Dr Richard Paley" edited Conservapedia for a while, showing that even fundamentalists can't tell real from parody.[note 2]
- Edward Current: Although some YouTube commenters don't realise it, he's actually a comedian.
- Sex in Christ: Looks like a parody, but it makes interesting cases for a Biblical basis for anal sex, masturbation, pubic shaving, and fisting, among others. Such content, humorous though it most certainly is, gives it a rather high parody rating.
- Jesus-is-savior: Fairly standard missionary stuff in tandem with truly appalling web design, seems genuine.
- Landover Baptist Church: One of the principal fundamentalism parodies on the web. Still fools people on both sides of the political and religious spectrum.
- USB connections are the work of the devil: Due to the USB symbol resembling a trident, it has been considered Satan worshipping by some Brazilian ministry. The source newspaper claims it's real, but is also known for publishing satire and spoofs.
- Society of Christians for the Restoration of Old Testament Morality (SCROTM): Starts out looking serious enough, describing themselves as "concerned American Christians who want to restore our great nation to its roots in the Old Testament's unchanging morality." However, when you get articles such as "Biblically Correct Fashion Tips" and "God Hates Rape Victims" (and the acronym form of the organization's name being one letter off from "scrotum"), it becomes obvious that this is satire. However, the mailbag page shows that the site has a history of fooling atheists and fundamentalist Christians alike.
- Gifts of the Spirit Ministry: Run by Pastor James Collins. This is a twist on the usual Poe's Law candidates, as it is intentionally trying to look as genuine as possible despite being fake. It was in fact used by Derren Brown as a website for a fake faith healer in his show Miracles for Sale.
- Christian Porn: Porn again?, Let's purify pornography in our lifetime, Erotica with Biblical Foundations, awful web design... your guess is as good as ours.
- Bet On Jesus: Offers betting on how soon will Jesus return. "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God" (1 Thess 4:16). We all know it will happen, we just don't know when!
- Sex is for FAGS! and its sister site Iron Hymen: Hint #1: the URL is georgewbush.org.
- The Owner of All Infernal Names: An Introductory Treatise on the Existence, Nature and Government of our Omnimalevolent Creator: 2015 parody of 19th Century Natural Theology works and contemporary Intelligent Design arguments. The book has completely fooled a host of online apologists, including physicist and Christian apologist Brian Balke.
- Atheism Fails, a Fundamentalist Christian Facebook page with a comical misunderstanding of the theory of evolution. It is also seemingly incapable of making an argument which isn't rock bottom. Promotes virtually every Pseudoscientific theory under the sun (which they believe revolves around the earth), and also posts in agreement: Quotes on Islam by none other than Bill Maher!
- Disciples of the New Dawn: A group infamous for claiming that women who have had C-sections are not really mothers.
- Daylight savings time cause drought: A gem regarding global warming, among many that have been sent into newspapers over the years. Many such examples are usually intentional parodies published by papers or magazines.
- Science and Math Defeated: Is often taken as being real in RationalWiki's clogosphere (and when the author posts here), yet StumbleUpon lists it as satire.
- AntiChrist.net: At least, one could hope so...
- Citizens for the Ten Commandments: A puzzling wiki project, best described as a collection of sort-of-coherent essays.
- Conservapedia's article on Poe's Law: While it looks like a parody of fundamentalist Christian writing, it is in fact a genuine attempt to write a fundamentalist Christian response to Poe's Law. Moreover, its talk page redirects to Conservapedia's Evolution article, which leads some to suspicion.
- Crucial Youth: A hardcore punk band that was conceived as an over-the-top parody of straight edge bands of the late 80's, going beyond the usual anti-drug and anti-sex messages to also promote dental hygiene and safe street crossing. Their interview in the fanzine Maximum Rock & Roll prompted some supportive letters from straightedgers and angry letters from anti-straightedgers, both sides completely oblivious to the joke. In keeping with Poe's Law, it was only predictable that bands espousing views even more over-the-top for real than Crucial Youth had already come on the scene by the end of the 1980s; for example Vegan Reich and the Hardline movement.
- The Neo Illuminati: A disclosure of information purported to be true, one of the best known examples of Poe’s law to-date; well-written and exceptionally detailed — declared to be an M.I.B. Agency as per the “About Us” page.
- The Flat Earth Society: While the flat Earth conspiracy always breaks people's brains, this Facebook group almost certainly contains both dead seriousness and insane parody — and a definite share of people who can't tell.
- Grand Funk Railroad: Their lyrics on early albums parody left-wing hippie slogans — or are they serious? On later albums, they do the same thing but invert the politics to right-wing populism. In between, there are weird mixtures of the two.
- Miranda Sings: Launched a YouTube channel where she sang badly (well, actually, to sing that badly, you do need talent). Many people didn't get the obvious parody (including a Wikipedia article that says so) of self-aggrandizing YouTube users and still flame her to this day, adding more fuel to the fire of "haters" videos she posts.
- Rex Research: A site containing a very wide variety of conspiracy theories and pseudoscience, such as perpetual motion machines. The prose is bizarre and often incomprehensible.
- Sea kittens: This really is from PETA, despite appearing like somebody spoofing them. Similarly, they've done some weird campaigns such as telling the Pet Shop Boys to change their name. Even funnier, somebody put up a mirror of the Sea Kittens site... with an advert for steak.
- Stuff Eurasian Males Like: It consists of some guy who is ostensibly a disenfranchised Hapa male whinging about how his mother is incapable of loving him because she married a white man instead of an Asian man when he himself is an Asian male, and how Hapa males are the lowliest and most universally-despised people in existence. The guy has insisted that he is real, but that of course is what any troll would do, and some of the content, frankly, comes across as simply too over-the-top to be legitimate.
- Universe people: Seems to be absolutely serious about the message, but is presented in a way that makes Time Cube somewhat easy on the eye.
- For that matter, Time Cube itself. It is debated whether Gene Ray's incoherent, hateful babble is elaborate trolling or whether he really was that much of a deluded crank.
- The Vigilant Christian is sometimes accused of being a poe, since he barely, if ever, even gets to the point of his ramblings, and spends most of his 10-30 minute videos ranting about how we're brainwashed sheeple.
- Youth Pastor Kevin: A YouTube channel starring an Evangelical youth pastor who seems to shroud his self-promotional motives beneath a layer of sincere fundamentalism. Channel contains both polished sketches and informal vlogs. Commenters often use the word "Poe" while questioning his authenticity.
- Transsexual.org: Supposedly a resource for transgender people. It's actually full of gender stereotypes, hatred of men, creepy idealization and outright objectification of women, and information that is, at the very best, outdated. It even gives tips on how to cheat on psych tests for gender reassignment surgery, something no sane person, transgender or otherwise, would ever recommend. The worst part is that the site's name may end up luring in people with gender identity confusion, thus feeding this misinformation to them at their most vulnerable (some have speculated this might be the page's actual purpose).
- Glorious PC Gaming Master Race: First used by writer Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw in 2008 for a review of the game The Witcher, it was intended in bad taste to poke fun at an elitist attitude he perceived among some PC gamers at the time, but associating Nazis with something as beloved as PC gaming looks a lot less PC after Gamergate. The label (and the attitudes it was meant to ridicule) was sincerely embraced on a subreddit called /r/PCMasterRace, founded by a group of PC gamers who based their identities very strongly on the alleged superiority of their preferred gaming medium. In the decade since, Croshaw has made it clear that he regrets coining the term. It's probably derived from the term "grammar nazi" used by grade school students to refer to their writing teachers marking their errors.
- Amusingly, this is kind of true, since the landmass that is now India originally separated from Africa and collided with Eurasia, resulting in the formation of the Himalaya Mountains.
- Granted, that isn't too surprising, since fundamentalists tend to lack imagination and intelligence.
- "Poe's Law" in the Urban Dictionary
- Huffington Post - Colbert Study: Conservatives Don't Know He's Joking. Based on, [http://hij.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/14/2/212 The Irony of Satire - LaMarre, H.L.; Landreville, K.D.; Beam, M.A., The International Journal of Press/Politics Vol. 14, No. 2, 212-231 (2009)]
- Slate.com Young Woman Who Thanked God for the Japanese Disaster "Comes Clean"
- The Atlantic Wire -The Japan Quake YouTube Troll Explains Herself (comments section)
- Blogs for Brownback
- Science and Math Defeated's listing at StumbleUpon
- Croshaw, Ben (January 23, 2008). "The Witcher". The Escapist. Defy Media. Retrieved September 6, 2014. ... Those dirty console playing peasants don't ruin it for the glorious PC gaming master race...