Spoofs & Satire

Centers of Unlearning

If relics like tractors and antique toilets deserve museums, why not creationism? And why stop there? A guide to upcoming halls of wisdom.

The Creation Museum currently being built in Kentucky is a natural history museum without the “natural history” part. Replacing science with belief and humanism with dogma, the museum hopes to give its viewers a grounding in the seven “C”s of history, starting with the biggest “C” of all, creation… “We’ll begin the museum experience by showing that ‘facts’ don’t speak for themselves. There aren’t separate sets of ‘evidences’ for evolution and creation. We all deal with the same evidence. The difference lies in how we interpret what we study.”
Spiegel Online

The truth is out there. All, any, and every truth. It’s yours, for the price of admission.

Grimm Truth Haus

The Brothers Grimm are responsible for what has to be one of the world’s most widely read and most beloved books, Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Sadly, however, the stories contained in this volume have too often been regarded as fantastic, metaphoric folk tales rather than the true oral history, faithfully passed down from generation to generation, that they actually are. Grimm Truth Haus, however, puts the notion of “fairy tales” to rest through compelling evidence and instructive exhibits, including preserved poisoned fruit, blown-glass footwear, and fading architectural drawings for houses of straw, sticks, and bricks. One particularly effective display recreates documents proving that the Brothers’ greedy German publisher considered their working title, Grimm’s Fair and Balanced Tales, too leaden to drive sales. Also, castings of mutated larynxes that may be unearthed as fossils at some future date provide clear proof that higher speech function among wolves and other animals was not only possible but likely. The centerpiece of the museum, though, is the Hansel and Gretel Cottage, which was recently discovered inside (and recovered from) a dairy barn in Bremen, Germany. The original gingerbread, gumdrop, and icing structure has been lovingly restored and the interior retains a faint odor of what can only be burnt witch.

Gallery of Health Food Store Values

See! The organic bananas flying off the shelves for a mere $1.59 per pound. Taste! The six ounces of pure fruit juice frozen on a stick going for a measly $2.29. Smell! The stream-raised rainbow trout sold with practically no mark-up whatsoever—honest!—for $18.99 per pound. Marvel! At the one-ounce bottle of the latest revitalizing homeopathic cure that, miraculously, costs less than a non-revitalizing new set of radial tires. Does buying make you a believer or does being a believer make you a buyer? Yes!

The Gentleman Roofing Crew Hall of Fame

It’s no secret among the chosen contractors: roofers are the most cultivated and cultured, the least scary and intimidating of building tradesmen. Now come face to face with the ladder-climbing greats. They’re all here: Reginald “Mute Boy” McGuire (1903-1969), the slate-shingle man who practically single-handedly eradicated swearing among the crews; “Einstein” Brewster (1952-), who, by waiting to drop out of school until he was in ninth grade, raised the educational bar for all who followed and is hailed as the reason that the average roofer has gone from being unable to add to being unable to divide; and Dave “Big Pussy” Robinson (1937-1990), the first shingle-cutter to go his whole career without getting one tattoo and who was known for speaking to homeowners in a polite, non-threatening way, and who put to rest the image of the “badass on the roof who’s probably murdered somebody and/or is going to murder me,” replacing him with the “heartening, charming worker who does such sporadically passable work on occasional sunny days” of today. So come! Pay tribute to the bygone saints who built this trade of uncommon grace.

Institute of the Genius Housecat

Simple as adding zeroes. Thick as a gigolo’s flattery. Dim as Pluto through binoculars. For too long, such similes have been used to describe the mental acuity of felis domesticus, but no more. “The Cathouse,” as this Chicago institute is commonly called, and KittyLiteracy, the advocacy group that funds it, are changing people’s minds about what goes on in felines’ minds. Here, hands-on and animatronic displays capture and bring to life the amazing, hitherto-unknown internal world of our kitty companions. You’ll discover that cats aren’t aimlessly wandering around the house but “gathering empirical data that will radically alter current assumptions regarding Euclidean geometry.” You’ll see how Tabby’s absorption with the development of a workable cold fusion process can be misinterpreted as aloofness. And don’t miss the Virtual Litter Box, an interactive exhibit exploring every cat’s determination to provide future generations of bioscientific researchers with excremental substantiation of dietary intake and digestive processes by preserving its anal exudations in substrate!

Glorious Liberator Center

Washington, D.C.’s latest tourist mecca is a multimedia extravaganza of unassailable non-propaganda. Funded by Republicans for a Compliant Public, the story of America’s swift, welcome, and stability-providing liberation of Iraq is laid out in terms even an intellectual can understand. Incorporated into the building’s façade is a Jumbotron playing a continuous video montage of the president’s reasons/evidence for choosing to go to war (reasons/evidence change daily; call Center for schedule). At the entrance, you’ll be embedded in a tour group and immediately deployed into the museum; the actual length of your visit is open-ended. Among the exhibits you’ll see are: a full-scale reproduction of Abu Ghraib (nicknamed by curators as Six Flags Over Iraq); the headstones marking where Republican fiscal conservatism and the last balanced Federal budget are buried side-by-side; and X-it Strategy, an all but inescapable walk-through labyrinth in which the overall objective remains unstated (guests must be at least 16 years old to enter). Most impressive is the replica of the monumental statue of President George W. Bush that Iraqis have planned for Independence Square in Baghdad (statue scheduled to be installed upon the completion of Independence Square; Independence Square scheduled to be completed following the restoration of electrical power in-country; electrical power scheduled to be restored when the insurgents are eradicated; insurgents scheduled to be eradicated in the fullness of time). And remember: If you don’t visit the Glorious Liberator Center, you must hate the troops.

Bob Woodiwiss is a humor columnist for Cincinnati Magazine and Principal/Director of Undirected Thinking at Bob, the Agency. His second book, The Serfitt & Cloye Gift Catalog: Just Enough of Too Much, is a sendup of upscale catalogs. More by Bob Woodiwiss