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Surely, you must be joking!

The Internet is not all about smutty jokes, you do get humour with class

PHOTO: ANU PUSHKARNA

DREAM SUBJECT U.S. President George Bush is a regular in satirical websites

Satire and parody — you might not find much of it inmainstream media but for some gut-busting laughs you could always log on to the Internet. While the number of satirical websites are few, they can safely be described as "gems" and their following is growing at a healthy rate. The Private Eye (http://www.private-eye.co.uk/) and The Onion (http://www.theonion.com/) are synonymous with parody of current affairs but they are just online versions of print magazines and only offer a taste of what is on paper.

All has changed and now there is one site that looks like it will give this genre of websites the push it needs. Uncyclopedia (www.uncyclopedia.org) is a spoof of the popular Wikipedia and is now the second biggest Wiki around. (Uncyclopedia insists that Wikipedia is a satirical parody of it though!) It claims to be a project of the Uncyclomedia foundation and was launched in January 2005 by Jonathan Huang and an unnamed counterpart.

Now boasting over 18,000 articles of remarkable satirical quality, Uncyclopedia, with a logo featuring a potato named Sophia (a spoof of the Wikipedia logo) looks like it will become a movement on its own. The articles on the site begin with a twisted quote by the incomparable Oscar Wilde, whose wit hasn't aged one bit: "I read it on Wikipedia, so it must be true."

The humour on the site can be said to be slightly geeky but is never lacking in originality. For example if you look up George Bush you get a page with a big yellow warning on the top: "You probably reached this page attempting to find an article on someone/thing more intelligent. This, however, is the article on George W. Bush. Please accept our apologies."

The UnNews project (http://uncyclopedia.org/wiki/UnNews:Main_Page) is the section of the site where you get up-to-the-second misinformation. As the news tickers around the world scream out their breaking news, here you will get: "New report reveals 107% of plane crashes have no survivors; investigators zero in on Osama Bin Spinach; North Korea invents the wheel; citizens rejoice..." And of course all the UnNews comes with a warning of left-wing bias.

The U.K. is the undisputed leader in hosting satirical websites and they are all mostly inspired by The Private Eye. The Voice Of Reason (http://www.thevoiceofreason.co.uk/) prides itself in its parody of newspaper mastheads and their political affiliations. Here the Daily Mail comes the Daily Moan, Daily Mirror the Dully Mirror and so on. The other sites to check out are http://www.spinon.co.uk/ and http://www.deadbrain.co.uk/. But if you are not one who likes to read reams of text, don't worry, most of these sites now offer videos and some really funny flash games to keep you thoroughly entertained.

ANAND SANKAR

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