The Best NYT Parody Yet: 'Obi-Wan Kenobi Is Dead, Vader Says'


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As far as fake news goes, this story from the Galactic Empire Times announcing the death of outlaw Obi-Wan Kenobi -- an obvious riff on the New York Times article heralding the death of Osama bin Laden -- may be the one of the most meticulously executed parodies in recent memory. Textually, the two articles are nearly identical. Below, the opening paragraphs from the New York Times piece:

WASHINGTON -- Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the most devastating attack on American soil in modern times and the most hunted man in the world, was killed in a firefight with United States forces in Pakistan, President Obama announced on Sunday.

In a late-night appearance in the East Room of the White House, Mr. Obama declared that "justice has been done" as he disclosed that American military and C.I.A. operatives had finally cornered Bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaeda, who had eluded them for nearly a decade. American officials said Bin Laden resisted and was shot in the head. He was later buried at sea.

And from the Galactic Empire Times:

CORUSCANT -- Obi-Wan Kenobi, the mastermind of some of the most devastating attacks on the Galactic Empire and the most hunted man in the galaxy, was killed in a firefight with Imperial forces near Alderaan, Darth Vader announced on Sunday. 

 In a late-night appearance in the East Room of the Imperial Palace, Lord Vader declared that "justice has been done" as he disclosed that agents of the Imperial Army and stormtroopers of the 501st Legion had finally cornered Kenobi, one of the leaders of the Jedi rebellion, who had eluded the Empire for nearly two decades. Imperial officials said Kenobi resisted and was cut down by Lord Vader's own lightsaber. He was later dumped out of an airlock.

But beyond the content, the layout of the fake Galactic Empire Times is nearly indistinguishable from the New York Times, from the multimedia sidebars ("TimesCast | Stormtrooper Reactions") to the topic navigation bar (All the news fit to print from the Core Worlds and beyond, including Jobs, Real Estate, and, of course, Starships) to the comments:

Why are we still giving aid to Tatooine? They probably knew of Kenobi's existence the whole time and even helped him! That whole planet is just a big hive of scum and villainy.

now that obi-wan is dead we need to get rid of this anti-rebellion legislation, it's infringing on the rights of every imperial citizen out there, not only that but vader has left the economy in a sorry state with the construction of this so called 'death star."

You need not be a nerd to appreciate the sheer brilliance and masterful execution of this parody, even if it does take a peculiarly pro-Empire stance. The absence of a paywall is an additional perk, although there's clear indication of a comedic genius behind this publication who might be angling for subscribers. Read the whole article at the Galactic Empire Times.

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Jared Keller is a former associate editor for The Atlantic and The Atlantic Wire and has also written for Lapham's Quarterly's Deja Vu blog, National Journal's The Hotline, Boston's Weekly Dig, and Preservation magazine. 

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