[Editor's note: April Fools!]
March 9, 2005, the New York Press published a piece
by columnist Matt Taibbi, which proved so controversial that
it resulted in the resignation of Taibbi’s editor, and ultimately
Taibbi himself. The column, originally published under the
headline “The 52 Funniest Things About the Upcoming Death
of the Pope” (nypress.com/article-11215-the-52-funniest-things-about-the-upcoming-death-of-the-pope-html)
was denounced by then-Sen. Hillary Clinton and others. It
has recently come to light, however, that the entire column
was the result of an activist, junior copy editor. This is
the original version, which was provided by sources who wish
to remain anonymous:
52 Funniest Things About the Upcoming Death of Popeye
The desperate scrambling and spinning of spinach-industry
51. After death, hair, nails and forearms continue to grow.
50. Abe Vigoda chuckles maniacally.
49. Meat-eating wimp outlives veggie-huffing tough guy.
48. After bitter argument, Swee’pea left out of will, deposited
on doorstep of Drawn Together house.
47. Due to anchor tattoos, can’t be buried in Jewish cemetery
with life-partner, Olive Oyl.
46. Private correspondence reveals three-year affair with
Alice the Goon and brief liaison with “Bombshell” McGee.
45. Anti-Palooka-Defamation League protests at wake.
44. Headstone reads “I Can’t Stands No More.”
43. Final words: “Oh, god, morphine.”
42. Dies one day before first Lasik appointment.
41. Olive’s niece Deezel scandalizes conservative congregation
by showing up with lesbian lover.
40. Born in typhoon off Santa Monica, Calif.; dies of typhoid
fever contracted from an asymptomatic carrier in retirement
home in Van Nuys.
39. Nephew Poopeye, after extensive speech therapy in public
school, goes on to become Voice of the Mariners.
38. Once survived multiple gunshot wounds by rubbing the head
of a magical hen; often tried to convince Olive she could
cure the common cold by rubbing head of magical cock.
37. Died still not knowing what the fuck kind of animal Eugene
the Jeep was.
36. Mortician cannot help but make several jokes reliant on
the term “one-eyed” while preparing the rigid sailor.
35. Mortician does not get assistant’s “seaman” quip.
34. Buried in favorite New Religion jeans, Ed Hardy T and
33. Final meal included side dish of yams.
32. Terrified by irrational fear of resurrection by John Kricfalusi,
whose work has always scared him spinachless.
31. Hopes biopic will star Woody Harrelson.
30. Hopes Frank Miller is involved, somehow.
29. Hopes Robin Williams isn’t.
28. Hopes Robin Williams hasn’t also died today. Hate that
27. Shit, that’d suck. Will we both go to Heaven? Can you
can get kicked out of Heaven?
26. Do cartoon characters even go to Heaven?
25. Well, they can’t go to Hell, then, right?
24. Is Hell even real?
23. Is it worse than Van Nuys?
22. Dismayed to find that everyone in Purgatory speaks only
21. For the most part, heads of state skip ceremony, though
both the president and prime minister of Malta attend.
20. Rush Limbaugh makes on-air comment implying American president’s
public condolences are the result of his confusing deceased
cartoon star with chain restaurant.
19. During funeral procession, reporters from Adult Swim and
Fox scuffle. Fox is left bloodied and disoriented.
18. Will miss drinking with Trey and Matt. Good kids.
17. Will also miss Pink Floyd. Loved that band. Wonders if
there’s music in Heaven. Wonders if it’s the band Heaven.
Thinks it unlikely.
16. And what about sex? The muslims get virgins.
15. Virgin Olive Oyl. Uk, yuk, yuk, yuk.
14. Has few regrets but wishes his grad-school thesis on the
Comic Genius of Fassbinder had been better received.
13. Thinks of the world’s poor and downtrodden, and wonders
if he could have, should have, used his great and enduring
celebrity to better their situations. Ah, fuck it, they’ve
got the pope.
12. Cable provider Comcast is hacked and the E! Network memorial
featurette is replaced with pages of a Tijuana Bible.
11. Toot! Toot!
10. Seriously, Robin fucking Williams?!
9. And Jules Feiffer? Really? What, Edward Sorel wasn’t avaiable?
Eh . . . bygones.
8. At graveside, Bluto weeps openly, not just at the reminder
of his own mortality but at the sharp edge of buried, unnameable
feelings that he has ineffectively numbed with beer and simmering
rage for decades.
7. Surprises himself by suddenly reconsidering his opinion
of Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, now ranking it just below
Rashomon but just above Happy Gilmore.
6. On the day death is announced nationally, power goes out
in all of Chester, Ill., for 11 hours.
5. The obituary in The New York Times, prepared months
in advance, contains a dramatic and mysterious typo, which
contributes, directly, to three separate conspiracy theories
and one cult, over time.
4. . . . Mother, it wasn’t in the pond . . . there were eagles
and the eyes . . . Lucy, Lucy . . .
2. At the exact moment of death, in that split second, Popeye
becomes one with all of creation in its entirety, and for
that immeasurably small span Popeye is all things and all
things are Popeye.
1. Throw a marble at Popeye’s head. YOINK!