Fakes on the WWW
By Devin D. O'Leary
DECEMBER 20, 1999:
It's long been established (certainly by this column) that the World Wide Web is a wonderful waste of time. Determined surfers can spend hours, days, weeks without hitting one site containing a single piece of practical information.
But let's not forget that the Web is also a great waste of time for the people behind the scenes. Think of all the pioneering Web site creators who spent hours figuring out how to hook up a camera to their coffeemaker so you could see, 24-hours a day, what it looked like. Think about the computer geeks who have frittered away their personal and professional lives to give you complete transcripts of every single "Land of the Lost" episode. The amount of useless information on the Web is nearly infinite.
The only problem now is coming up with something that hasn't already had a dozen Web sites dedicated to it. The easiest solution to this dilemma? Fake it! That's right -- you can now find dozens of Web sites dedicated to books, movies, TV shows, celebrities and products that don't even exist. These "fake" sites are popping up more and more these days, and their owners seem to lavish vast amounts of time and energy making them as authentic as possible. Here, then, are a few of the best "non-real" Web sites in Cyberspace.
The Kresky TV Home Page (www.kreskytv.com) -- Man, who didn't grow up watching "Kresky," the greatest TV cop show of the 1970s? Well, nobody, actually. It never existed. But clicking your way through this site's massive library of "Kresky" minutia, it's hard not to conjure up fond TV-watching memories of the original loose cannon cop himself, Nick Kresky (played, of course, by the inimitable Terrence Michael Matterly). Remember that episode where Kresky went undercover as Sweet JoJo to bust the citywide prostitution ring? What about the one where he busted the Streaking Bandit? Or captured the disco slasher? There's a complete episode guide here to help spark your memory. A short synopsis of each episode from the show's five season run (1976-1980) covers the fine points of Kresky's career. There's also a cast list, a production history and a list of "Kresky" spin-off shows (including "Cantrell" and the atrocious kiddy cartoon "Moochie and the Kawp Skwad"). As a bonus, you can take the "Kresky Personality Quiz" to find out which cast member is your "secret soul brother." After answering the 20 or so questions, I was a little disappointed to find my personality most closely matched that of Moochie, Kresky's monkey sidekick brought in during the final season to boost flagging ratings. You've got to hand it to site creator Timothy J. Madison for crafting such a loving (and straight-faced) tribute to TV's funkiest non-existent cop.
A Hamster For President Campaign 2000 Web Site (www.hamsterforpresident.com) -- Don't like your options so far for next year's presidential campaign? Why not take this Web site's advice to heart and put a hamster in the White House? Originally, this site's owners put their hamster, the provocatively named Mr. Ganja, up for election. Unfortunately, Mr. Ganja passed away in June of 1998. Fortunately, Mr. Ganja's daughter, Ms. Ganjette, was born two months earlier. The young hamster eagerly stepped into her father's pioneering political footsteps and has accepted the Hamster Party's nomination for president. The site is actually more detailed than that of some more "legitimate" political candidates. You can check out Ms. Ganjette's qualifications, her endorsements (from a number of other hamsters in cyberspace), her press clippings (an article on her presidential bid in Rodent Weekly) and a list of "Top Ten Reasons Why a Hamster Would Make a Great President" (hamsters, for example, "Don't do phone sex" and "Do not defend the interests of a cannibalistic ruling class"). So what kind of platform does a hamster run on? Among Ms. Ganjette's campaign promises are hints of smaller government ("All paperwork will be shredded for bedding") and social welfare ("Fresh greens in every cage, unlimited birdseed"). We could do worse, I suppose. If you really feel the need to get behind this candidate, there is a store featuring T-shirts, mugs, puzzles and (of course) mousepads.
The Emily Chesley Reading Circle (www.emilychesley.cjb.net) -- "My critics say that my writings are an offense to moral decency and Christian civilization. While in fact it is their autocratic regime, rife with a paterfamilias ethic that is the offense. I humbly suggest to them: Get bent." -- Emily Chesley, 1904, addressing the first Canadian Congress of Speculationists. The Emily Chesley Reading Circle was established to "further the study of Emily Chesley, a long-overlooked Canadian speculative fiction writer of the Edwardian period, who lived for some time in the London, Ontario region." According to this richly designed site, Chesley was a progressive feminist writer who gave the world such "ahead of their time" novels as Brain Beasts of Blenheim Township and The Afrikaans of East Nissouri. The fact that Chesley never existed hasn't stopped members of her reading circle from creating this detailed worship site. Turn-of-the-century illustrations, paintings and etchings decorate this site, adding to its authentic feel. There is a complete and lengthy biography chronicling Chesley's tumultuous life, an exhaustive bibliography and a memoir of her longtime "companion," nutty Irish inventor Michael Flannigan (creator of the "Systematic Anti-Autointoxication Device" and the "Phanerogam Rendering Tube"). The wealth of information concerning the life and times of Ms. Chesley is nigh overwhelming, and her controversial words are scattered throughout. Fans of Chesley are encouraged to start their own Reading Circle based upon the Codex of Rules drafted up by the founding members. Detailed rules include everything from ethics to grooming. ("ECC is not precisely against facial hair, but members shall have to demonstrate some Viking heritage before being allowed to grow mustaches longer than 45 centimeters in length.")