"Without a clear indication of the author's intent, it is difficult or impossible to tell the difference between an expression of sincere extremism and a parody of extremism."
Poe's Law started out describing the views of Creationist extremists, their detractors who would parody them with even more extreme views, and the impossibility of telling the two apart. The argument being that the views of these extremists are so totally bonkers that nothing any rational person could invent could seem more outrageous than the real thing.
It has since gone on to describe the parodying of extreme views of all kind, political, religious, you name it.
In the two examples shown above, you can see Poe's Law in action. On the left is a front page headline taken from a copy of the Daily Express; an extreme right wing newspaper which specialises in fake stories intended to stir up religious and ethnic hatred.
On the right is a story recently published in the satirical web based magazine British News BFNN.
If you read any BFNN stories and scroll to the bottom of the page, you will see a disclaimer which reads "for the avoidance of doubt, all stories posted here are works of fiction, and you would have to be a moron to believe them."
The Daily Express issues no such disclaimer and encourages their readers to carry on believing their stories. At least the Daily Mail retracted their story about how a restaurant in Nigeria was serving human heads.
Both of these stories have appeared on my Facebook timeline, accompanied by foul mouthed, half wit comments from people who believed them to be true.
In the two cases above and others like it, no real harm has been done as the morons who have been taken in by them are just that - morons. It's unlikely that stories will have changed their mind set in any way whatsoever. If only that were always the case.
Enter, my old chum Joshua Bonehill-Paine. he publishes a number of blogs including The Daily Bale, not to be confused with the Daily Mail. I have been told that I shouldn't be giving free publicity to his website, but come on, look at it for Christ's sake; definitely worth a read.
Interestingly enough, as an example of Poe's Law in action, there is quite an online debate about whether his website is meant to be taken seriously or is, itself, a parody.
Anyway, as you may have read in some of my earlier posts about this champion of free speech, he has published stories, believed by morons, that have resulted in consequences that were far from harmless. I'm thinking particularly about one of his posts, again copied onto Facebook about how a pub in Leicester had banned serving members of the armed forces in case it offended Muslims.
This resulted in some of the above mentioned morons who, believing the story was true, threatened the pub and staff with violence. Joshua, who was described by the judge at the subsequent court hearing as a moron, is in fact not a moron. He does probably need help of the psychiatric kind and what he does could be called moronic but the real morons are always going to be the ones who believe the adage, "it's on Facebook, how could it not be true?"
There are other examples of his work that you can read about if you click the link to his Wikipedia page.
Here is a little bit of advice for "would be" morons:-
1. Don't believe everything you read on Facebook.
2. If you see a story on Facebook that you feel the need to comment on, share, like, etc., then click on the story first to see what it's about. The BFNN story is a good example as you would have seen the disclaimer before commenting on how terrible it was.
3. Google the name of the author or a few words of the posts. You remember that story you all shared and commented on about how a Church in Wiltshire was going to be turned into a Mosque and all the bodies were going to be dug up and moved. Well, I Googled "Muslim Wiltshire Church" and it turned up this. Just think how much embarrassment you could have saved yourself if you did.
By the way, I have a bone to pick with Bonehill (gedditt). Last year my fellow (and more regular) blogger, Hugh Neal of Arthur Pewty's Maggot Sandwich fame, (Always a good read and published without fail every Sunday), commented on one of my stories about Joshua Bonehill-Paine. I think it was the fake "Amy Hamilton" one. Joshua seems to have taken exception to this and issued Hugh with a number of threats; you can read more about it on his blog.
He hasn't threatened me and I was the one with the original, and several later, posts. Shame on you Joshua. What is the point of me slaving over my keyboard, inventing witty and erudite prose designed to provoke a violent backlash from odious pieces of shit like you and you just go and ignore me. It's been ages since some loathsome toe rag has had a go at me so get to it or I will taunt you some more.
and now for something completely different
Here is a female Tufted Duck swimming around on the Belvedere marshes.
And here is a Common Tern fishing over the river. If you happen to be strolling beside the Thames and see a little white bird dipping in and out of the water, it will be one of these jobbies. They can't sit on the water and bob up and down like the gulls because their feathers aren't waterproof, they would get waterlogged and sink.