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[Editor's note: April Fools!]


On 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” ( 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:

The 52 Funniest Things About the Upcoming Death of Popeye

52. The desperate scrambling and spinning of spinach-industry PR flacks.

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 white blazer.

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 guy.

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 Latin.

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 . . .

3. Oh.

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!

—John Rodat


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