Neil Rafferty and Paul Stokes - Halfwit Nation (4 stars)

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(Constable)

HUMOUR

While Private Eye and The Onion remain the cornerstones of written news satire in print and online respectively, and Mock the Week and Have I Got News For You keep our square eyes tearing, the joyous silliness of spoofing website The Daily Mash shows there’s still endless mileage in pointing out just how bloody stupid the world really is.

Stumbling over, through and often on top of current affairs like some gigantic headed, wobbly-legged, satire-wielding toddler, Halfwit Nation is a bumper compendium, collating the best of the bile and bitumen unleashed on The Daily Mash website and newsletter. The idea was conceived by former newspaper journalists Paul Stokes and Neil Rafferty and started in April 2007. It now claims to be ‘the UK’s most popular satirical news website’.

Pitched somewhere between the Daily Mail and the Viz letters page, they ask: ‘Are our seagulls being radicalised by foreign clerics?’ and tell us ‘Glasgow launches bid for Swearing Olympics’, ‘Dubai plans skyscraper made of Fanta’, ‘Darth Vader a Baptist, says Vatican’ and ruminates on the all too timely ponderance ‘Banks fucked’. With incisive journalism like this, in addition to their sexually deviant agony aunt Petula Soul, sagely horoscope compiler Psychic Bob and sensational ‘Worthless Opinion Polls’ – apparently parents are not spending more time with their kids because ‘They’ve swapped them for a breadmaker’ (30%) or ‘They get drunk too quickly’ (31.1%) – it does make you wonder if we actually need real news anymore.

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