Hey, did you hear about Peabody Coal's unconscionable new site, Coalcares.org? They're offering free Dora the Explorer and Justin Bieber-branded inhalers to kids living near coal plants! They have a "Kidz Koal Korner" with these cartoon characters called "Puff" and "Ash," and they say clean energy will kill you, and they want to make kids think asthma is cool because coal pollution causes asthma! It's like something out of the Onion! It almost reads like a spoof site! It … oh.
Yeah, if you retweeted an angry tweet or signed a hasty petition (ETA: Which was apparently part of the hoax, talk about your wheels within wheels) about Peabody's latest venture, you got played, my friend. The site is a project of the Yes Men, a couple of culture-jamming hoaxmeisters who are known for this sort of fake websmanship. Clue number one: The Coalcares.org domain is registerd to one Harold Schweppes, who also owns theyesmenfixtheworld.com (that's the site for the Yes Men documentary, which you should probably watch if you fell for this). Clue two: EVERYTHING ELSE ON THE SITE. PEOPLE. COME ON.
For those of you who are red-faced right now, here is our hastily-assembled flowchart on how to tell you're being punked on the internet:
But okay, self-serious hippies, we release you from further mockery. Now is the time to stop being ashamed of your gullibility and enjoy this frankly hilarious and pitch-perfect spoof site. Some of our very favorite lines:
- "At least one thing is clear: although sheer numbers of deaths associated with coal may be larger, the varieties of death due to solar and wind could well go through the roof."
- "If everyone can collect and distribute energy, there is no guarantee of that energy’s quality. Would you trust your neighbor’s four-year-old child to operate on your kidney — or even on a potentially malignant skin mole? Surely not."
- "Every science student has heard of the so-called 'butterfly effect' from aptly-named 'Chaos Theory': namely, that the flapping of a butterfly’s wings in the wilds of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, can set off a massive, community-shattering tornado in Bunker Hill Village, Texas. If, as scientists state, a mere butterfly can cause a tornado so many thousands of miles away, imagine what a hill-full of wind turbines can do."
- "What do Ludwig von Beethoven, Elizabeth Taylor, Orson Welles, and John F. Kennedy have in common? They all suffered from asthma — yet were still rich and famous. Conversely, revolutionary Che Guevara and Russian Czar Peter the Great were also noted asthmatics, though it did little to stem their blood lust."