Literally Unbelievable is a website devoted to the task of tracking suckers across the web who take Onion stories as actual news. Some of these memes spread very far and wind up in state-run newspapers (who can forget the NoKo dictator voted “sexiest man alive”) or forming the basis for big societal trends (like the Christian Harry Potter haters who, for years, recirculated the Onion story about J.K. Rowling leading satanic covens of children in worship of the devil). There’s one born every minute and sites like this on and Snopes do us the service of helping to calm down the human impulse to run with any dirt that will confirm us in our prejudices.

Plus, it’s pretty funny.

This will make you happy
Science and the Works of Mercy
Dear Robert Downey, Jr.: Respect!
Extremely cool!

    Problem is the mainstream media, MSM concoct a lot more fake stories about the Catholic Church and perpetuate the hate and stereotypes and lies that ignorant illiterate biblical people have been spreading for ages,

    • John C

      Right you are. Five minutes ago, I watched Maria Shriver on the Today Show deliver a smarmy hatchet job on the Church’s oppression of women, complete with interviews wit Sr. Joan Chittister, Marianne Williamson (!), and mindless chat about the “glass ceiling”. This “fair and balanced” report included a 20 second sound bite from a traditional nun who actually had no problem with the Church’s treatment of women (!). This lady was promptly compared to Shriver’s father when he was suffering from Alzheimer’s at the end of his life. Cardinal Dolan was sitting right next to the enlightened Ms. Shriver, but I’m afraid he missed a perfect opportunity to give her a hard slap.

      • Dustin

        Right. Assault’s the perfect way to wrap up an argument. I’m sure you would have loved to see His Eminence in jail, where men who hit women belong.

        • John C

          OK . . . . . . how ’bout a spanking! But seriously . . . . . I think His Eminence ought to think twice before he allows his Jovial Self to be seen in the company of Ms. Shriver and her ilk, unless he intends to firmly correct their misguided views on the Church. Same goes for Fr. Barron. I really don’t like our people playing up to these MSM “Catholics”.

          • Mark Shea

            Mustn’t eat with tax collectors and sinners. Better to remain pure and stay in Fortress Katolicus than to soil one’s skirts by contact with the Unclean.

            • John C

              Just a quick distinction: I have no problem with the Cardinal sitting down with prostitutes, ex-cons, scam artists, the mentally unstable, whatever. These people are usually focused on survival, and many of them are looking for salvation of one sort or another. I don’t think Jesus was keen to do lunch with his spiritual opponents – the Pharaisees, for example. He argued with them. I think these influential media-manufactured ‘Catholics” are part of the latter group.

              • Mark Shea

                “One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house, and took his place at table.” (Luke 7:36) Not to mention the fact that the Risen Jesus appeared to a Pharisee named Saul of Tarsus.

  • deiseach

    The trouble is, sometimes “The Onion” has a better grasp on a story than the mainstream media.

    • ivan_the_mad

      Only sometimes?

  • Julie

    LOL!!!! Literal proof that haters are stupid.

  • Sean P. Dailey

    When the Onion Harry Potter article appeared (It was published about a year after HP 4 was published) I laughed my arse off. I still have a print-out of it (it’s not online any more). A few months later I got my first much-circulated e-mail with the infamous excerpts from the article, quotes from 12-year–olds talking about starting their own covens and satanic cults, and how the Gospel “is all boring lies.”

    That e-mail was forwarded to me by a pious Catholic woman who attended daily Mass, spent time every day in mental prayer, prayed her rosary every day, the works. She is not a stupid woman, but is well educated and well read. I replied to her, explaining that all the quotes were fake, and so on. She never responded. The next time I saw her I asked her if she got my reply. She said no she never saw it. It was a lie but I let it pass. I repeated what I’d said in my e-mail: that all the quotes are fake and from an article that was not in a real news source, but in a humor magazine, The Onion. I explained what The Onion is, since she’d never heard of it.

    Her response: “Well if it’s all fake then why doesn’t Rowling sue?”

    I again explained that it was satire and it’s not normal for the subjects of satire to file lawsuits on it (otherwise, Saturday Night Live would not exist). She repeated: “If it was fake, then Rowling should sue,” implying, that since Rowling did not sue, therefore every quote in the Onion article was real.

    At that point, I backed away slowly. What else was there to say? This was my first foray into arguing with Harry-haters, and it established a pattern: the complete, mind-boggling abandonment of reason by these people.

    Oh yeah, this particular woman is now a devotee of Maria of Divine Mercy. Wasn’t the least bit surprised when I found that out.

    • Beccolina

      That one became so entrenched because it bought into a mindset that was already there. I like to read and write fantasy, but oh, the rounds I have gone with my grandmother over this. She simply believes that any book with magic in it (and is not Tolkien or Lewis), is sowing the seeds of evil. *sigh* I stopped writing for years at one point.

    • Sean P. Dailey

      Glad you took it up again, if indeed you did.

      And why do Tolkien and Lewis always get a pass? Why are they Certified and Approved Writers of Magic, but everyone else is a willing agent of the Prince of Darkness?

      • Beccolina

        I have, quite slowly (3 little ones & #4 on the way, so I crank out maybe a few thousand words a month). Reading John C. Wright’s blog helped very much. Lewis gets a pass because The Chronicles of Narnia are so obviously Christian. Tolkien did not get a pass from Grandma until my aunt did an analysis of the Christian symbolism in the LotR. My brother made the mistake of sending her some Terry Pratchett (because Grandma reminds us of Granny Weatherwax).