[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/unholythree_690.png]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Pop quiz: is [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Unholy_three.png this flyer]] declaring polio vaccine, water treatment, and [[{{Hypocrite}} propaganda]] to be communist plots to destroy America a real pamphlet, or a parody of fervent 1950s "Red scare" tactics? (Answer: [[spoiler:it's real!]])]]

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%%NOTE TO EDITORS: Please reserve "Web Original" for examples that are from major sources or occur very frequently.
%%Examples involving Twitter, YouTube, Blogs, other social media, and comment sections (et al.) belong under "Web - Misc".
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->''"Satire doesn't stand a chance against reality anymore."''
-->-- '''Jules Feiffer''' in ''1959''

The core idea of Poe's law is that a parody of something extreme can be mistaken for the real thing, and if a real thing sounds extreme enough, it can be mistaken for a parody ([[NotSoDifferent all because parodies are intrinsically extreme]], [[CaptainObvious in case you haven't noticed it]]). This can also happen to someone whose picture of the opposing position [[TheWarOnStraw is such a grotesque caricature]] that it renders them unable to tell parody from reality. Reality and parody are further blended by the fact that something that started as a parody might turn into a WindmillPolitical that some people take as gospel and go to [[WindmillCrusader a very serious (if not literal) war]].

[[http://rationalwiki.com/wiki/Poe%27s_Law According to]] the TropeNamers, Wiki/RationalWiki, Poe's Law was formulated by Nathan Poe, referring to the {{Flame War}}s on Christian forums where Creationism vs. Evolution was discussed: Many users posted parody comments, which were followed by both [[InternetBackdraft angry replies]] and [[MisaimedFandom supportive ones]]. Poe phrased his law thus: "Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is utterly impossible to parody a Creationist in such a way that someone won't mistake it for the genuine article."

While Poe's Law referred originally to [[TheFundamentalist religious fundamentalists]], it can also equally apply to [[FlatEarthAtheist rigid atheism]], [[EatTheRich dogmatic]] [[RedScare socialism]] or [[DirtyCommunists communism]], [[KillThePoor excessive]] [[AdamSmithHatesYourGuts capitalism]], [[AnimalWrongsGroup extreme]] [[GaiasRevenge environmentalism]], [[TheUnfairSex crazy]] [[StrawFeminist feminism]], [[PoliticalCorrectnessGoneMad hypersensitive correctness]], or indeed, absolutely any other debate where controversy runs high and at least one position is particularly extreme, such as the infamous North Korean Twitter feed that got mistaken for the real thing.

A similar notion was named "The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Golden Harry Golden]] Rule" by Calvin Trillin: "The Harry Golden Rule, properly stated, is that in present-day America it's very difficult, when commenting on events of the day, to invent something so bizarre that it might not actually come to pass while your piece is still on the presses." See StealthParody, which this law tends to undermine.

DontExplainTheJoke is one of the possible outcomes of this law. {{Parody Retcon}}s attempt to appeal to this, as does the JustJokingJustification. If a work actually becomes popular as a result of this law, that's MisaimedFandom. If you are trying to invoke this trope to get people to believe something you just made up to feign legitimacy, it's a BavarianFireDrill. Many a NotMakingThisUpDisclaimer is used to avoid this trope.

Compare DoesNotUnderstandSarcasm, {{Doublethink}}, InsultBackfire, & SomeOfMyBestFriendsAreX. To ''really'' turn this trope into a brain-twister, compare it with DeathOfTheAuthor. See also: TheTysonZone.

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'''NOTE:''' When adding an example, please cite a specific instance or instances of the relevant work being either mistaken for a parody or being analyzed to determine whether or not it is serious. Any examples that shoehorn in a work with WeaselWords or the like but without such instances being cited (i.e. something along the lines of "this could easily be mistaken for a parody", "this might as well have been a parody", or "some people have a hard time believing this is real" with little else) will be assumed to be Administrivia/ComplainingAboutShowsYouDontLike and will be deleted as such.

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[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Comedy]]
* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcU4t6zRAKg "John Clarke and Bryan Dawe"]] are an Australian comedy duo that satirize politicians and other public figures. A quick glance at the comments on the Website/YouTube page shows how many people think they're for real. Given that each of those sketches involve John Clarke playing all of the political figures without any change in voice, costume, or makeup, anyone who watches more than one should very quickly realize that he is not both Prime Minister Rudd and Senator Stephen Conroy, but is in fact a sketch comedian. Also, [[WholesomeCrossdresser he is not Rudd's successor, Julia Gillard]].
* Performance artists The Yes Men have made a career out of this, or at least they did during the Bush administration. One of their projects included passing out surveys - http://theyesmen.org/petitions/pdfs/petition-terrorathome.pdf - under their "Yes, Bush Can!" slogan letterhead, urging people at Republican rallies to specify the rights they were willing to waive in the name of the War on Terror. They had assumed people would be shocked, but instead the audiences filled them out and turned them back in.
* Swedish humor show ''Series/{{Grotesco}}'' featured a song called ''Det är bögarnas fel'' ("It's the gay men's fault") which became a hit and can be watched [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1lvMJ-l0_A here.]] It's a textbook example of this trope. The song is sung by a reverend who claims that gay men are to blame for every single bad thing in the world and sings that "I don't know the line and verse, chapter or part, but somewhere in [the Bible] it says that it's the gay men's fault." He and lots of other singers then go on to give gay men the blame for things that clearly aren't gay men's fault. One woman sings that "My son shot four people to death with the hunting-rifle. Somehow, I feel that it's the gay men's fault." A man sings that "I once ate porridge and confused curry for cinnamon, and that wasn't carelessness, no, it was the gay men's fault." It's almost impossible to imagine how it could be more obviously satiric, and ''still,'' when it was performed live on the family show ''Allsång på Skansen,'' somebody reported the show to the police for being upsetting to homosexuals.
** Another Swedish comedian, Ronny Eriksson, wrote a song in the late eighties that parodied racism. The song, titled "''Storswänsken''" ("the Great Swede") contains lines such as "Don't believe for a second that the earth is round, 'cause some nigger thought that up", "Get rid of the alphabet and all damn numbers" and "down with science". About twenty years later [[IsntItIronic young Swedish racists began to sing the song as their anthem]]. Eriksson's only comment was that some people are clearly too stupid to realize when they are being insulted.
* Noted by Doug Stanhope in his ''No Refunds'' Tour, when he recalls performing at Edinburgh Fringe Festival. When commenting on the Creator/MelGibson antisemitism controversy, he noted that people shouldn't care what Gibson thinks and the media shouldn't give Gibson any attention. Cue Stanhope noting he actually needs the publicity, he jokingly noted he'd happily say "I hate the Jews" for a little media attention, [[ComicallyMissingThePoint only for a journalist to take it as an antisemitism admission, before quoting him saying "I hate the Jews."]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fanfiction]]
* The HMS STFU copied the ''Literature/HarryPotter'' section that was on our own DarthWiki/WarpThatAesop page circa January 2011 as seen [[http://www.journalfen.net/community/the_hms_stfu/526789.html here]]. Most of the commenters took it as real FanWank with only a few considering that it might be a joke. Then again, The HSM STFU usualy deals with people who have similar or worse positions in total seriousness - they were the ones who discovered ''The Girl Who Lived'', ''Hogwarts Exposed'', ''FanFic/TheLastWar'', and the complete works of pstibbons and [[Fanfic/InThisWorldAndTheNext Robst]], after all.
* There were some posters who suggested ''Fanfic/TheLastWar'' to be a TrollFic, noting Harry and Hermione's [[RobotUnicornAttack choice of theme song]] and that it's like a perfect Harmonian ClicheStorm.
* The infamous ''Zelda'' video ''FanFic/TheLightOfCourage'' has an interesting case of something being both incorrectly mistaken for a parody and something fully serious at the same time. The animation behind the videos was purposefully kept bad as was the voice acting. However the dialog, grammatical errors, and storyline the videos were based on are all real and was done with the serious attempt to get them made into a movie. Aside from the few who know the story behind The Light of Courage, most people can't seem to figure out whether it's real or not. It was based on a horrible fanfic that its creator took completely serious, then someone else created the parody by adding purposefully badly done animation and voiceacting. Also the case for the infamous "Half-Life: Full Life Consequences" video, though this one is more universally recognized as a joke.
* Nobody really knows if ''Fanfic/MyImmortal'' was written seriously or if it's just the work of a {{troll}} of legendary prowess.
* ''Fanfic/ThePrayerWarriors'' is a troll, but since it focused on common targets of EveryoneIsSatanInHell, including Harry Potter, people weren't sure if it was a troll or some actual bigoted hypocrite Christian [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking who can't spell.]]
* Some people think that ''FanFic/MyLittleUnicorn'' ''must'' be written by a troll. [[SincerityMode It's not]]. The author really, really isn't kidding.
* If there is a bad fanfic especially if it's gotten a reputation for being bad. someone will think it's a troll fic, others will think that it's just written poorly. The same happens to actual troll fics too.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film and Documentary]]
* In his review of the film ''Film/{{Bamboozled}}'', Creator/RogerEbert noted that most movie-going audiences wouldn't catch onto the film's satire about how black people are portrayed in modern media; people would simply get pissed off at the mere use of {{Blackface}}. Indeed, [[AudienceAlienatingPremise the film ended up a box-office bomb as a result]].
* In documentary ''Film/{{Religulous}}'', Bill Maher disguises himself and starts preaching the ''actual'' tenets of [[ChurchOfHappyology Scientology]] on a park; naturally, most people laugh at him and call him crazy, unaware that those were Scientologists' real beliefs.
* The jury is still out as to whether [[http://www.timecube.com Timecube]] is real or a parody of schizophrenic antisemitic conspiracy theorists. It doesn't help that Gene Ray is a ReclusiveArtist.
* A minor example of this happened after Creator/TinaFey made ''Film/MeanGirls.'' She commented later, with some surprise, "Adults find it funny. They are the ones who are laughing. Young people watch it like a reality show. It's much too close to their real experiences so they are not exactly guffawing." She apparently meant it to be parody, but it was too realistic for kids to get the joke.
* Prior to the release of James Cameron's sci-fi epic ''Film/{{Avatar}}'', a curious blog popped up called "[[http://stopavatarmovie.blogspot.com/ Stop Avatar Movie]]." The blog's editor claims to be a transgender woman who is offended by the "heterosexual themes" found in the movie (namely, the apparent lack of non-heterosexual, non-cisgender characters), and urges people to boycott it. She goes so far as to make ''Avatar'' the scapegoat for anything in the wider culture that is or could be remotely construed as homophobic/transphobic, regardless of whether or not the thing or incident being discussed has anything to do with the film. The political and social views expressed on the blog are so extreme that even actual gay people are divided on whether the author is just a very dedicated troll, or legitimately insane. For all we know, the blog could have been started to covertly ''help'' the film; at one point, the writer actually encourages the offended to ''buy tickets'' and then not see the movie.
* ''Film/CSATheConfederateStatesOfAmerica'' is a mockumentary based on an alternate history where the Confederacy wins the Civil War. Said mockumentary details an America, with slavery as part of modern way life, bat-shit crazy politics dictated and decided in part by the desire and need for human chattel, and numerous fictional, parody products with extremely racist overtones. Then the mockumentary comes to its conclusion, and you find out that a lot of those ridiculous, over the top products that couldn't possibly exist, actually did, and were actually being sold for decades. The whole totalitarian plot to conquer the entire New World from top to bottom, that sounds like the alternate ending for ''Film/TheWildWildWest'', or possibly ''Anime/CodeGeass'': yeah, that was actually the plan all along, and something the Confederacy would have attempted had they won the Civil War. Suddenly, the mockumentary, while still a bit ham-handed in presentation, becomes a little more uncomfortable to watch...
* ''Film/BeyondTheValleyOfTheDolls'' is an infamously [[RefugeInAudacity over-the-top parody]] of sexploitation films. However, when screenwriter and director Creator/RogerEbert and RussMeyer later met the Music/SexPistols, they were nonplussed when Johnny Rotten expressed his admiration for the movie because it was ''so true to life''.
* There's a minor political party in Russia called "Communists of St. Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast" (CPLO), that is best known for their public appeals against popular movies, written in an over-the-top style of mock Soviet propaganda. They sent a hate mail to Steven Spielberg over ''Film/IndianaJonesAndTheKingdomOfTheCrystalSkull'', and accused ''Avatar'' of ripping off from Creator/StrugatskyBrothers. Their philippics have been picked up by media and taken too seriously, so that the ''real'' Communist Party had to remind they have nothing to do with that. There's still a debate is CPLO parodying Communists JustForFun, as an advertisment strategy, or if they're really nuts (which is unlikely).
* ''Film/{{Borat}}'' was criticized by the Anti-Defamation League and the European Center for Antiziganism Research for its depiction of Borat's racism and anti-Semitism. The film is actually parodying such beliefs and attempting to expose acceptance of them in Borat's unwitting interview guests. In fact, Sacha Baron-Coen is himself a practicing Jew.
* At one point, there was a popular image macro making the rounds on Facebook which made fun of fans of ''Film/FightClub'' who supposedly contradict Tyler's "don't talk about Fight Club" mantra by...well, talking about ''Fight Club.'' Of course, in the film itself, Tyler coins that saying [[ReversePsychology specifically because he knows people will disobey it,]] and thus expand his sphere of influence.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* There are ''still'' people who have to have it pointed out to them that ''Literature/AModestProposal'' is ''not'' intended literally. ''A Modest Proposal'' was Creator/JonathanSwift's satirical essay that suggested solving the problem of working-class children in Ireland being a drag on their parents by selling them for food to rich people. Most interpretations read it as a satire of British attitudes towards the working-class of Ireland. It created a scandal because some people didn't get the joke (Swift intended a scandal, but not like that). Modern readers who take it seriously justify their stance with Swift's misanthropy and deteriorating mental condition later in his life. At the time of the writing, however, he had no such attitudes or problems.
** Similar misunderstandings occur with modern tributes, such as [[http://i.imgur.com/tt9xh.jpg this letter]] commending Miami University for expelling a student for [[http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/1828h230yv4b3jpg/original.jpg this poster]] which was created to replace a poster put in the men's bathroom which characterized rapists as males. It referenced a "Johnathan S" (name withheld for privacy) who advocated baby-eating, and advocated the burning of his book (held in the Miami University library) by the same principle under which the poster was removed.
* Creator/NiccoloMachiavelli's most well-known piece, ''Literature/ThePrince'', is a satirical TakeThat at the Medici who had recently had him brutally beaten--all his other writings advocate almost the exact opposite viewpoint.
* Bernard de Mandeville, a Dutch physician in the XVIII century, wrote a poem named ''[[http://maartens.home.xs4all.nl/philosophy/mandeville/fable_of_bees.html The Fable of Bees]]'', which was a satire to the moralist campaigns of the time. The poem caused public commotion in the time, because he wrote that the vices of the people can be useful to the society, but today is regarded as a serious economic tract and many economists complain that it's hard to interpret him. It's hard because Mandeville wrote it as a satire; he didn't have any pretension to make a scientific tract.
* In his short story collection ''Famous Monsters'', Creator/KimNewman mentions that Penguin Books asked him to tone down the politics of his story "Pitbull Brittan", a savage satire on Conservatism based on the question "What would it look like if everything the [[BritishNewspapers Daily Mail]] said was ''true''?" To his bafflement, their objection was on the assumption that he was saying the world ''was'' like this.
* What exactly Kurt Vonnegut's ''Harrison Bergeron'' is a satire of continues to be argued over to this day. Those on the right claim it's a satire of egalitarianism. Those on the left claim it's a satire of the right's views of egalitarianism.
* The ''Literature/ViridianSaga'' is a parody of ParanormalRomance novels based on the Franchise/CthulhuMythos. It was written by WebVideo/TheNostalgiaChick and her friends, crowdsourced in a series of online videos and aided by ghostwriters. It was self-published under the alias "Serra Elinsen," who also serves as a sock-puppet for the authors to create [[DearNegativeReader online drama]]. Part of the point of the experiment is to see how people would react to it, and the authors were quite pleased when the novel caused some kerfluffle among Lovecraft fans and got some serious literary reviews.
** It also works the other way: fans often play the part of a straightforward {{Fandom}} or {{Hatedom}}, meaning that one can't tell which reviewers are in on the joke or not!
* ''Literature/{{Flatland}}'' is part geometric fantasy, and part satire of Victorian classism and sexism. Unfortuantely, it can be hard for modern readers to tell that the author was being ''satirical.''
* Reviewers of Steven Grasse's ''The Evil Empire: 101 Ways That England Ruined the World'' are [[http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-439544/Cruel-Britannia.html unsure]] if Grasse truly believes the book's premise that the United Kingdom [[{{Demonization}} is responsible for all the world's problems since the eighteenth century]] or if he is just pointing out the hypocrisy of the scapegoating of the United States that was so common when the book was written, by satirically applying the same attitude to a different country which has also had a history of intervention in foreign affairs. The book's article on TheOtherWiki explicitly calls it a comic portrayal, however, which is circumstantial evidence for the "it's a joke" interpretation, despite the author appearing serious in interviews.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV and Radio]]
* ''[[Creator/DavidLetterman The Late Show with David Letterman]]'' ran a sketch to parody modern, post-modern, and abstract artwork. The segment was titled "Ape or Artist?" Each sketch would put a spotlight on a large canvas with an abstract splattering and smearing of paints. David Letterman, musicians in the band, audience members, and occasionally guest experts, would then try to figure out if the painting was done by a professional artist, or an ape playing with paint. The parody was so flawlessly executed that several guests with university degrees in art and art history were unable to distinguish whether or not the painting was ape-splatter or professional modern art.
* ''Series/TheColbertReport.'' Colbert plays a right-wing pundit, but the show in general is against right-wing pundits. Many conservatives were convinced that Colbert was a real neoconservative and the show was a ''[[StealthParody parody of the way the left views the right]]''. See this Ohio State University [[http://hij.sagepub.com/cgi/content/short/14/2/212 study]] for more on the topic.
** There's also a pervasive myth that he was mistaken for a real conservative pundit by members of the Bush administration when he was invited to the 2006 correspondents' dinner; the dinner was in large part a traditional roast of the President, and they knew exactly who he was, although they may not have expected him to be ''quite'' [[GoneHorriblyRight so harsh]].
** Some conservatives realize that Colbert is a parody but believe that he makes correct points in character. In other words, the StrawmanHasAPoint, while there are some conservatives who enjoy the show [[ActuallyPrettyFunny simply because of the comedy]].\\
Colbert himself exacerbates this by frequently picking up on recent talking points of various conservatives in the news, then expanding upon them. This makes it difficult for some to actually understand he is ''parodying'' them, particularly when he begins a rant following talking points that many of the more extreme commentators in the media voiced a day or two before.
** In March 2014, Colbert drew the ire of social justice online advocate, Suey Park, who started the WebSite/{{Twitter}} hashtag #[=CancelColbert=], over a tweet Colbert made that was ''parodying'' the issue of Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder and [[UnfortunateImplications his launch of the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation]]. Colbert answers back [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBPgXjkfBXM here]].
* ''Series/BrassEye'', which hoodwinked British celebrities into participating in fictional public information films, culminating in a Member of the British Parliament raising a question in the House of Commons about the ludicrous made-up drug "cake".
* The Franchise/PowerRangers franchise works by taking action sequences from Franchise/{{Sentai}} series, dubbing them and inserting their own footage, at least two Sentai: ''Series/GekisouSentaiCarranger'' (''Series/PowerRangersTurbo'') and ''Series/BakuryuuSentaiAbaranger'' (''Series/PowerRangersDinoThunder'') were total or partial parodies of the Sentai genre respectively, and made into completely serious Franchise/PowerRangers series.
* The cancellation of ''Series/ChappellesShow'' and Chappelle's subsequent CreatorBacklash response was due to a growing MisaimedFandom of racist white viewers.
* ''{{Housos}}'' is a BlackComedy of Australia's working-class bludgers (i.e. the working-class who don't work). Two current affairs programs aired hard-hitting 'exposés' on this offensive new RealityShow. Interestingly, when they realised the show was fake they tried a new angle, complaining about tax-payers money being used to subsidise filth. The show's home channel, {{SBS}}, raised all the funds itself. All in all, the ''Housos'' creator was happy at the hilarious free publicity, [[http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/nines-current-affair-to-forget-20110217-1ay72.html while the current affairs shows got publicity of the wrong kind altogether]].
* Radio host Phil Hendrie makes a ''living'' on this trope. His radio show consists of a stable of guests that he regularly interviews (the president of a home-owners association, the owner of a restaurant that supposedly sponsors the show, the head of a local activist group, etc.) discussing a current event of some sort, with the guest having some wild, ridiculous, and sometimes offensive opinion on the matter. This prompts listeners to call the show and incredulously berate the guest, whose rhetoric becomes more and more ludicrous as the segment goes on. The joke? All of the guests are voiced by Hendrie, who essentially is having a conversation with himself using a phone handset in the studio.
** Hendrie is ''very very good'' at doing two distinct voices, keeping them straight, and "interrupting" himself realistically, so those who tune in to the program in the middle without ever having heard of Hendrie before can be excused for not realizing he's performing both the host and guest parts. However, there's also a meta level to this; it's sometimes difficult to discern whether the callers actually believe the guests are real or whether they're just playing along (given Hendrie's vocal talents, it wouldn't be impossible that he plays some of the more ridiculous callers himself).
* ''Series/PennAndTellerBullshit'' does this often to ridicule the topic they are covering in a particular episode, for example polling hippies on banning water (identified as the scary sounding [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dihydrogen_monoxide_hoax Dihydrogen Monoxide]]) or asking for donations to fight global warming with no proof the funds will be used legitimately.
* ''Series/{{Batman}}'' was a very popular comedy show in its day, but a surprisingly large number of modern-day viewers assume that it was meant to be a serious adventure show. This included Neil Hamilton, the portrayer of Commissioner Gordon, who would get annoyed if he saw other actors cracking up on set.
* Adam Carolla and Jimmy Kimmel set up a petition to "End Women Suffrage" with a hidden camera across the road. Footage used in ''Series/TheManShow'' depict men and women alike signing the petition and the two of them actually getting a lot of signatures, the signers not understanding what "suffrage" means.
* From the 24/3/14 episode of ''Series/MediaWatch'': Two of the following headlines about the missing Malaysia Airlines jet are from genuine newspapers, while one is from a spoof - "Pastor Predicted Disappearance of Jet", "Missing Jet in North Korea", "Plane Stolen by Aliens". Which one is the spoof? [[spoiler: The correct answer is "Missing Jet in North Korea"]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Misc]]
* Creator/SalvadorDali once sent a telegram for Romania's dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu, for his adoption of a scepter as part of his regalia. Dalí's intent was to mock him, but Ceauşescu, who had one of the biggest personality cults ever, took it seriously, and the text was published in the Party's newspaper. When he ''did'' find out it was a joke, he fired the editor who published it. Never mind that he was the one who ordered it to be published.
* Creator/RogerEbert went political and wrote a [[http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080921/COMMENTARY/809219997/-1/RSS blog post]] giving a statement of creationist beliefs, with the intention of making a point about people's inability to recognize irony. While many people did see the satire, a significant number of readers either thought he was being serious or assumed the site had been hacked. PZ Myers [[http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/09/there_is_such_a_thing_as_bad_s.php criticized]] the article, pointing out that when there are so many people making the same claims without irony, the joke becomes undetectable to anyone who doesn't already know Ebert's stance on the issue.
* A little known example with Erwin Schrodinger. His infamous Schrodinger's Cat thought experiment was actually made by him as an absurd scenario to point out the flaw with Albert Einstein's theory about quantum entanglement, which claimed that the combination of two systems (such as two sub-atomic particles) where interacted but then separated they would have to logically be each in a non-definite state. Schrodinger thought this was silly and so came up with his own version of the theory so absurd that it would show the flaws in Einstein's. His silly scenario was that if you locked a cat in a box with a gas vial which was then smashed, you would be unable to claim that the cat was dead without looking inside, so you had to assume the cat was both alive and dead simultaneously. Of course, he knew that this was stupid as the cat would always be dead as it would have breathed in the gas, but not many other people saw it as a parody and he has since become famous for this theory, and this theory only. The rest of his philosophical ideas now unknown to anyone without an A-Level in Philosophy.
* There were "scientific" papers and conferences that swallowed and processed nonsensical, [[FeigningIntelligence but imitating their style and language]] papers, only to discover they were punned:
** ''Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity'' [[http://www.physics.nyu.edu/faculty/sokal/ by Alan Sokal]]. Alan Sokal, a physicist who was [[HardOnSoftScience severely annoyed]] at scientifically-illiterate deconstructionist philosophers trying to work quantum physics into their philosophy, submitted a paper to the journal ''Social Text'' which declared "quantum gravity"--and ultimately reality itself--[[ClapYourHandsIfYouBelieve to be a social construct]]. ''Social Text'' accepted it. Right after printing it he notified them it was a [[InsaneTrollLogic logically inconsistent rambling]] as bad as he could write without [[MushroomSamba using mushrooms]]. Oops. ''Social Text'' was annoyed; they thought that the paper had merit, and, according to them, while the editors themselves didn't think reality was a social construct, they thought that Sokal thought it was!
** ''WMSCI 2005'' accepted an article ''Rooter: A Methodology for the Typical Unification of Access Points and Redundancy''. The only value it has for computer science is the fact that this garbage wasn't even written by a human, but by a pseudorandom text generator. Then these pranksters went to the conference, held a "technical" session and [[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill read a few more randomly generated speeches]] with straight faces. [[http://pdos.csail.mit.edu/scigen/ It's all there]] -- along with the Open Source text generator.
** The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bogdanov_Affair Bogdanov Affair]] is a reversal of the above. Igor and Grichka Bogdanov published their papers in reputable scientific journals claiming that their calculations could puzzle out what things were like in the Planck era (the point immediately after the Big Bang). Subsequent criticisms of the papers by scientists and in Internet forums claimed that the poorly-written papers, filled with many commonly used scientific buzzwords used in nonsensical contexts, were meant as a big hoax. The controversy is frequently called the "reverse Sokal hoax" because A) the material was submitted to scientific journals rather than liberal arts journals, and B) the Bogdanovs consistently maintained that they were completely sincere.
* In 1985 MIT pranksters managed to get a sculpture included in an exhibition at MIT's List Visual Art Center. Titled "No Knife", it consisted of an overturned wastebasket on which was a dining hall tray, plate, bowl, glass, fork and two spoons. It was accompanied by an artist's statement describing it as "a study in mixed media earth tones", and going on to praise and interpret it ("The casual formalism of the place setting draws upon our common internal instincts of existential persistence to unify us with the greater consciousness of human bondage") in a parody of the style of art criticism. It took the gallery staff several hours to discover it was not actually part of the exhibition.
* Valerie Solanas, infamous for shooting Creator/AndyWarhol, was also known for her ''SCUM Manifesto'', (with SCUM believed to stand for Society for Cutting Up Men, though she denied this) her infamous rant about [[StrawFeminist how the world would be a better place without men]]. Even though ''The SCUM Manifesto'' is generally taken at face value, Solanas [[ParodyRetcon did claim that it was satire]], with academics such as Laura Winkiel arguing on her behalf.
** She still ''shot and nearly killed a man'' (she shot someone else also, but only Warhol was seriously injured) for having "too much influence over her life". Being ''objectively'' crazy blurs the line between "things you really believe" and "things that are so insane they must have been intended as satire" considerably.
* In a strange case, creationist speaker Kent Hovind earned the P.T. Barnum "One Born Every Minute" Award when he incorporated information of the finding of man and dinosaur fossils co-existing and the government cover-up of this discovery, from a website into his lectures as evidence against evolution. In reality, the website was a fake one ([[http://www.nmsr.org/Archive.html and somewhat conspicuously so]]) that the New Mexicans for Science and Reason (NMSR) had set up as an April Fool's Day prank.
* OlderThanFeudalism: Scenes from Creator/{{Aristophanes}} over-the-top parody of Creator/{{Socrates}}, ''Theatre/TheButts'', were cited in Socrates' trial as if they were real evidence against him. You know, the one that ended with him forced to drink hemlock?
* SarahPalin mocked the way her opponents [[FelonyMisdemeanor obsess over minor misstatements of hers]] by releasing a blog post consisting entirely of erroneous statements made by President UsefulNotes/BarackObama. At least some of her detractors criticized the new "mistakes" from Mrs. Palin. Reimagined with [[BeamMeUpScotty common knowledge]] that Sarah Palin said, "I can see Russia from my house!" ...via Tina Fey's parody.
* The death of singer Cass Elliot from the Mamas and the Papas also factors into this. After collapsing from a heart attack, investigators noted that a sandwich was found in her room and, despite a post-mortem showing otherwise, parodies regarding her weight and the poor wording of the attending physician mean [[http://www.snopes.com/music/artists/mamacass.asp it's still widely believed that she choked to death on a sandwich]] simply because [[DeathAsComedy it's considered more humorous]]. In addition, it's usually noted to be a ''ham'' sandwich [[FatComicRelief Mama Cass]] allegedly choked to death on. Geddit, "ham" = "[[UnfortunateImplications fat pig]]". [[AcceptableTargets A cruel joke related to her weight]]. [[SarcasmMode Hurhurhur]].
* As a satire of excessive capitalism, an artist made a bench that you must pay to sit on; overstay your purchased welcome and the bench will ''impale you with steel spikes''. And now, a Chinese park owner who didn't get the joke [[http://www.metro.co.uk/news/838228-retractable-spikes-installed-on-park-benches-to-deter-lazy-bums actually wants to install these in his park]] to prevent hobos from hanging around on the benches.
* At the First West Coast Computer Faire, Apple engineer Steve Wozniak had made several gag brochures for a successor to the MITS Altair called the "Zaltair." The ad copy was filled with absurd claims, like having 18 expansion card slots, a new "BAZIC" programming language that could be rewritten by the user, and a case that will "add to the decor of any living room." People bombarded the MITS stand with questions about the new model, and it wasn't until late in the day that anyone caught on to the joke. Today, these brochures are highly sought-after collector's items. What made it plausible was Woz's unorthodox sense of humor and that everything listed there ''did'' really exist at that time — the fictional computer just had little to do with those features. Except maybe 18 expansion slots — this was how many slots were in the full-feature ''Altair 8800'' MB, though not all of them could be used for expansion.[[note]]MITS' S-100 bus was a passive backplane, and at least three to four slots were taken up by the {{CPU}} board, [[{{RAM}} memory]] board, I/O board etc.[[/note]] The first ProgrammingLanguage that could be rewritten on-the-fly[[note]]John McCarthy's Lisp[[/note]] was actually invented [[OlderThanTheythink back in '55]], but was virtually unknown in the microcomputer world, and a [[JustForPun case might be successfully built]] that the case that will "add to the decor of any living room" was present in Woz's own work — the fair was a venue where the AppleII was first unveiled, and it was the first fruit of Steve Jobs' famous "computer as appliance" philosophy.
* After years of secrecy English [[CropCircles crop circle]] makers Doug Bower and Dave Chorley decided to fess up to their pranks in 1991, only to find many UFO-believers deciding that although the circles were man-made, the two must have been possessed by aliens who had [[InsaneTrollLogic made the circles through them]]. As Podcast/{{Skeptoid}} sums up in an episode on crop circles:
-->''It is an interesting world we live in, where you can tell a group of people that you made a crop circle with a rope, even show them how you did it, and they still insist that an unknown paranormal intelligence did it. You can tell them that two plus two equals four and they'll insist that it's five.''
* During a game in longtime New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter's final season (2014), the opposing Minnesota Twins featured a hilariously effusive "scouting report" graphic on their TV broadcast, which led to sportswriter Joe Posnanski [[http://joeposnanski.com/joeblogs/greatest-thing-ever/ musing on his blog]] about how perfectly said graphic could work as satire.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* "The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)" by Music/{{Ylvis}} was made by a pair of talk show hosts and was supposed to be a parody of runaway formulaic pop hits that became... a runaway formulaic pop hit.
* People taking Music/AnalCunt's songs literally.
** Or for that matter, anything fronted by Billy Milano (S.O.D. and M.O.D. most notably). Flame wars have been fought over whether songs like "Speak English or Die" are satire or serious.
* Music/TobyKeith's "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue." Is it a genuine (if a little overheated) expression of PatrioticFervor, or an ironic glorification of the {{Eagleland}} (Flavor 2) mentality? It's really hard to tell. The song starts off sincere and heartfelt enough, but [[MoodWhiplash the abrupt shift from "melancholy" to "kickass"]] is bizarre enough to inspire at least a few self-aware chuckles. It gets even more confusing if you watch the music video, which backs up the lyrics with an intense montage of various U.S. military bombs, missiles, and fighter jets, looking almost like a Technicolor ''Film/DrStrangelove''. On balance: since most country songs don't feature so much violent or militaristic imagery, it's easy to see this as a spoof; however, the song's CrowningMusicOfAwesome and throat-grabbing finale make you ''want'' to take it at face value. So, all things being equal, it's all probably being played straight.
** There's also his more overtly satirical "American Ride" from 2009, which got him considerable heat from both the political right and left for its political barbs. But as several music critics and even Keith himself pointed out, the song pokes funs at ''both'' sides of the political spectrum. (It should also be noted that it's one of the only singles in his career that he did not write.)
* In a combination of this and StealthParody, Music/JethroTull recorded the album ''Thick As A Brick'' as a deliberately over-the-top ''parody'' of [[ConceptAlbum concept albums]] and the ProgressiveRock genre, after the previous album ''Aqualung'' was mistakenly called a concept album by the music press. It is widely considered one of the best progressive rock albums ever made, by music fans and journalists likely unaware that the work was a parody. Bandleader Ian Anderson still gets remarks from fans about how much older the fictitious child prodigy poet (Gerald Bostock) depicted in the cover art and album credits who "wrote" the lyrics to the album must be now in the present day.
** However, the follow-up album ''A Passion Play'' is apparently a straightforward example, despite having the same structure.
** Years later, Anderson also claimed that it was a parody of the concept albums by Music/{{Yes}} and Music/EmersonLakeAndPalmer however at the time ''Thick as a Brick'' was released, neither Yes nor ELP had even released one (Yes' would come two years later with "Tales From Topographic Oceans" and ELP would never release a concept album in their history) so it is quite possible that Anderson is being a bit of an UnreliableNarrator. He would finally embrace the concept in June 2012 when he released "Thick as a Brick 2." Though ELP had the album ''Tarkus'' and King Crimson made ''Lizard'' (both of them having sidelong epics) and Yes and Genesis had a penchant for long songs since the beginning. Maybe the success of ''Thick as a Brick'' helped bring it out further into the mainstream, essentially encouraging the trend of concept albums.
* ''WebVideo/TheRapCritic'' states this as the problem with ''Music/{{Kesha}}'': She's supposedly a parody of current music, but when "serious" artists are making songs that are just as ridiculous, it's hard to tell.
* Music/{{U2}}'s Zoo TV tour was intended to be an overt parody of mass media, but ironic content was so subtle that may fans believed their appreciation to be genuine. Their subsequent Pop Mart Tour upheld the theme of parody. This time, the target was consumer culture; and fans were just as baffled as they had been by Zoo TV.
* The Music/BeastieBoys' ''You Gotta Fight for your Right to Party'' was actually meant to mock partygoers and the whole 1980's party scene. How ironic that it became a hit at parties.
* Former Music/AliceInChains vocalist Layne Staley was often baffled by the number of people who interpreted his songs as pro-drug anthems, remarking "Don't these people listen to my music? Don't they know it's actually about how ''awful'' heroin addiction is?"
* An entire '''genre''' of music, called ''disco polo'' was created in {{UsefulNotes/Poland}} as a parody of disco music in the 80s and remains popular to this day (especially at parties). Not many people get the joke anymore, but it doesn't stop millions of people around the world from enjoying it.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:News and Columns]]
* ''Website/TheOnion'' is the embodiment of this trope, its satirical articles often being mistaken for real ones, while real extremist articles are often suspected of being Onion articles.
** An article called "''Literature/HarryPotter'' Sparks Rise In Satanism Among Children", in which six year old girls claim that "Jesus died because he was weak and stupid", was copied into a furious chain letter and circulated about the web. Commentators noted that many of the article's more obviously parodic passages were excised from the letter, suggesting that the poster may not have believed it him/herself. Regardless, it worked, triggering a panicked reaction among fundamentalists, in spite of (or perhaps because of) it ending with [[RefugeInAudacity J.K. Rowling praising Satan]]. The very same article led to a concerned parent sending mail to ''Reader's Digest'', criticizing them about interviewing Rowling. After a bit of back-and-forth, the reader mentioned reading about it on ''The Onion'' whereupon ''Reader's Digest'' [[http://robinabrahams.com/2010/04/01/april-fools/ pointed out that it's a humor paper, and Rowling is not really a Satan worshiper.]]
** Their videos have also undergone this trope, one of the most infamous cases being the video "Martial Law Plans Revealed?" [[http://idle.slashdot.org/story/10/07/21/1529256/Onion-Story-Gets-Blown-Out-of-Proportion taken seriously by some conspiracy sites.]]
** The AV Club posted an article about how [[http://www.avclub.com/articles/glenn-beck-restores-honor-to-spiderman-turn-off-th,50001/ Glenn Beck loved the Spider-Man musical]]. Since both Radio/GlennBeck and ''Theatre/SpiderManTurnOffTheDark'' are polarizing topics which often spark fierce discussions, a lot of people thought this was just ''The Onion'' making stuff up, even though the AV Club is the non-satire section. It's not a joke. He really did enjoy the musical.
** The blog [[http://literallyunbelievable.tumblr.com/ Literally Unbelievable]] chronicles people taking ''Onion'' articles at face value and posting about them on Facebook. It is as hilariously depressing as it sounds. Poe's Law applies recursively here, as it's impossible to tell whether the Facebookers are just playing along with the joke.
** The most controversial ''Onion'' example is their "Kelly" political cartoons, which still have people arguing about whether they're expressing or parodying conservative ideas. Although the real focus of the cartoons is less ideological than parodying the artistic cliches of bad, lazy political cartoons independent of any specific viewpoint.
** A high-profile victim of ''The Onion'' is US Congressman John Fleming (R-LA), who posted a link to the [[http://www.theonion.com/articles/planned-parenthood-opens-8-billion-abortionplex,20476/ "Planned Parenthood Opens $8 Billion Abortionplex" story]] [[http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2012/02/congressman-falls-months-old-onion-story-about-planned-parenthood-abortionplex/48344/ on his Facebook page]].
** Iran's FARS news agency fell for an Onion article that said more Americans would prefer Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to be president than Obama. This is somewhat understandable from a country that believes Hollywood is controlled by Washington.
** China's ''People's Daily Online'' reported as straight news the ''Onion'' story declaring North Korean leader Kim Jong Un the "sexiest man alive for 2012."
** The British newspaper ''The Independent'' [[http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/content/indy-voices-falls-onions-fake-miley-cyrus-editorial printed]] a "CNN statement" on their saturation coverage of a "shocking" dance routine by Music/MileyCyrus that was actually a satirical ''Onion'' column speculating on their motivation.
* While ''The Onion'' is perhaps the most famous satire newspaper on this list, other satire newsletters and satire news sites like ''The Daily Currant'' and ''Weekly World News'' can also fall to this. Website/{{Snopes}} has numerous examples of rumors that were sparked by articles from these and more. *Another satirical News site Free Wood Post put out a story that the FCC classified Fox news as Satire
* There are theories that Fox New is just a conservative version of ''The Onion'' that their slogan ''Fairly Balanced'' is akin to the The Onions ''America's Finest New Source'' as many people Find Fox' conservative fear-mongering anything but balanced. There coverage veers so far right it's often hard to tell the difference between something featured on their programs and genuine satire.
** Another satirical news site Free Wood Post ran an article that the FCC had classified Fox News as Satire.
** Fox News has denied being satirical in nature and assured people they are a legit news source.
* [[http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/borowitzreport The Borowitz Report]] is a satirical news blog hosted on [[http://www.newyorker.com/ The New Yorker]]'s web site, which frequently confuses people (especially their right-wing US satire).
* ''The Mirror'' released an article in 2011 listing [[http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/why-one-direction-are-better-than-the-beatles-156810 ten reasons why One Direction was better than the Beatles]]. Several months later the same writer wrote an article titled "[[http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/one-direction-better-than-the-beatles-column-846895 Hey dude, get a sense of humour:]] How I got death threats for joking that One Direction are better than The Beatles"
* Syndicated columnist Jack Kilpatrick once wrote a column purporting to be an interview with an ACLU leader named Eton "Si" Eritas. Eritas claimed he was determined to remove all traces of religion from America, going so far as to change the names of any cities with religious connotations, such as San Francisco and St. Paul. This column shocked many people and sparked countless columns and letters to the editor flaming the ACLU. The only problem? Eritas didn't exist. Eton "Si" Eritas, spelled backwards, is "Note: Is Satire."
* When ''Magazine/PrivateEye'' ran a mock-up ''Daily Telegraph'' cover, parodying the MP Expenses Scandal the paper broke by targeting its proprietors, the reclusive Barcley Brothers, they received a letter threatening them with libel action. Their response was that it was in the "joke" section of the magazine, it clearly wasn't a real news story, and they didn't think there was a case to answer.
** ''Private Eye'' gets this from many newcomers who don't know where the cut-off points between the 'investigative journalism' pages and the 'parody' pages are. There are a lot of otherwise intelligent people who think ''From the Message Boards'' (a parody of Internet arguments which [[InternetToughGuy contains]] [[{{Emoticon}} everything]] [[TheFundamentalist you'd]] [[PatrioticFervour encounter]] in a real Internet debate) is genuine.
* [[BritishNewspapers The Guardian]]:
** The newspaper finally pokes fun at the long standing leftist idea that promoting humans rights in totalitarian hellholes is the modern definition of "imperialism". [[http://www.zombietime.com/zomblog/?p=1689 Doesn't it?]]
** They parodied social justice warriors in a column about how [[ThomasTheTankEngine Thomas the Tank Engine]] is racist, sexist, and transphobic, [[http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/22/thomas-the-tank-engine-children-parents right?]]
* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wacfY-w0Vjc&feature=youtu.be Michael Savage debates a pro-amnesty liberal over the Arizona immigration laws]], and outright {{lampshade|Hanging}}s this.
-->--"Of course you're pulling my leg."
* Right-wing British paper "The Daily Mail" recently decided to make fun of their readers with an article about how ''right-wing voters are stupider''; while the article was intended to be an obvious satire ([[RefugeInAudacity as no paper would be stupid enough to flat out insult their readers]]), the less intelligent readers quite aptly failed to consider it a joke, which prompted Guardian writer CharlieBrooker to deconstruct it (and it's not helped by the fact that there have been several actual "studies" and surveys that deliberately tried to imply this).
-->In what has to be a deliberate act of "{{troll}}ing", last Friday it carried a story headlined [[http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/feb/05/daily-mail-calls-rightwingers-stupid "Rightwingers are less intelligent than left wingers, says study"]]. In terms of enraging your core readership, this is the equivalent of Nuts magazine suddenly claiming only gay men masturbate to Series/{{Hollyoaks}} babes.
* In an Onion-like newspaper in Mexico named El Deforma, there was a note about Samsung paying 1 billion dollars to Apple in coins of 5 cents. The note spread among [[http://www.noticierodigital.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=897185 other]] [[http://eldeforma.com/2012/08/27/samsung-paga-multa-de-1-billon-de-dolares-a-apple-en-monedas-de-5-centavos/ newspapers]], one of them, from Yahoo News (already deleted). There was another [[http://eldeforma.com/2012/08/28/el-deforma-gana-demanda-a-yahoo-por-plagiar-su-nota-de-samsung-y-las-monedas-de-5-centavos/ article]] making further fun about it.
* [[http://www.theworld.org/2012/11/satirical-serbs-go-global/ This story]] from Creator/{{NPR}}'s ''The World''. The Serbian satire website [[http://www.njuz.net/ NJUZ]] (pronounced "nyews", and self-admittedly ''The Onion'' [-[[RecycledInSpace IN THE BALKANS!]]-]) ran a fake story about a Serbian man who got drunk and jumped in the ocean, and landed on a shark, killing it. Macedonia's official news agency got hold of it and ran it as a real story, and things went downhill from there.
* Iranian news saw an image by satire site The People's Cube showing Iran Hearts Jews, [[http://thepeoplescube.com/current-truth/the-people-s-cube-pwns-iranian-propaganda-t1657.html and took it for realz]]
* [[http://www.duffelblog.com/ The Duffel Blog]] is essentially a military version of ''Website/TheOnion'', and as like ''The Onion'' some of the satirical articles on the site have been mistaken for real news stories. One of the more notable examples, given the "victim", is [[http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2013/02/mcconnell-duffel-blog/ US Senator Mitch McConnell, the Minority Leader in the Senate, took seriously an article about GI Bill benefits being given to prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay.]]
* Douglas G. [=McGrath=] had a regular humor column in ''The Nation'' which was supposed to be the fictionalized diary of a high-ranking bureaucrat in the UsefulNotes/GeorgeHWBush White House. In one column, he had then-Vice President UsefulNotes/DanQuayle giving a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars where he said, "The Civil War was the best war we ever had because when you're fighting with yourself you're always going to win." In Paul Slansky and Steve Radlauer's 1992 book ''Dan Quayle: Airhead Apparent,'' he claimed that the newsletter ''The Quayle Quarterly,'' dedicated to his mistakes, had contacted him because people had been contacting ''them'' to find out if the quote was real or not. [=McGrath=] said that if you were to put that fake quote on a page of real Quayle quotes, "you wouldn't even blink. It's the most interesting thing I know about Quayle: you can make up any quote, the more ridiculous the better, and it'll sound real." In fact, if you Website/{{Google}} the quote, you will find it [[CowboyBebopAtHisComputer listed on pages of actual political quotes]].
* In July 2013, a Spanish website known as ''Ciencia Seminal'' (''Seminal Science'') claimed that Creator/ShigeruMiyamoto leaked during an interview about ''VideoGame/{{Pikmin}} 3'' hints about [[Franchise/SuperMarioBros Mario and Luigi]] being, instead of brothers, a gay couple (you can read it [[http://cienciaseminal.com/2013/07/19/super-mario-bros-es-un-juego-gay-revela-miyamoto/ here]]). The way the news was written was so realistic that a large number of Spanish-speaking sites and even radio programs had echoed it as something real. As it turns out, the offending website is satirical. [[http://kotaku.com/a-bunch-of-people-got-tricked-into-thinking-mario-lui-912857972 Kotaku has more info on here.]]
* A lurid story alleging that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had executed his uncle by having him eaten alive by dogs was printed as potentially true by many English-language news outlets but [[http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/06/story-kim-jong-un-uncle-fed-dogs-made-up turned out]] to derive from a Chinese-language comedy blog.
* A February 18, 2014 [[http://www.thecrimson.com/column/the-red-line/article/2014/2/18/academic-freedom-justice/?page=single# opinion piece]] in ''The Harvard Crimson'' called "The Doctrine of Academic Freedom – Let’s Give Up On Academic Freedom in Favor of Justice" has the author argue that, instead of allowing academic freedom, universities should instead enact a policy of "academic justice" that actively bans and impedes any research that might be deemed offensive. "It is tempting to decry frustrating restrictions on academic research as violations of academic freedom. Yet I would encourage student and worker organizers to instead use a framework of justice. After all, if we give up our obsessive reliance on the doctrine of academic freedom, we can consider more thoughtfully what is just." The almost entirely negative responses in the comments include numerous accusations that the author is a {{troll}} or a satirist, with one guy saying "Was this cross-posted on ''The Onion?''" while another person says "There's something grimly admirable about an article that manages to be its own parody."
* Brazilian philosopher Luiz Felipe Pondé published [[http://www1.folha.uol.com.br/colunas/luizfelipeponde/2014/04/1443306-por-uma-direita-festiva.shtml an article]] in of the most known Brazilian newspaper claiming that the reason why the Brazilian Right isn't relevant is because it doesn't know how to seduce women. Naturally, lots of person misinterpreted the satire: on the Left, people thought it to be mysoginistic and a misrepresentation of the Left, and on the Right, people thought it to be a ridiculous reason for their lack of relevance.
* The NationalReport is a political Onion-like satirical newspaper, whose articles sometimes have been picked by the American religious right as legit:
** Renew America's far-right pundit, Austin Miles, [[http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/miles/140709 reported in a column]] that Obama spent his 4th of July of 2014 at a Mosque and invited Muslims to be with him at the White House, as well as saying that Michelle Obama is a transsexual woman originally named "Michael LaVaughn Robinson", his sources turned out to be a satirical [[http://nationalreport.net/obama-visit-mosque-host-muslim-leaders-july-4th/ article]] of NationalReport and this [[http://www.knowthelies.com/node/8893 joke website]].
** An [[http://nationalreport.net/9-year-old-suspended-saying-merry-christmas-teacher/ article]] about a San Francisco school suspending a nine-year-old student for wishing a "Merry Christmas" to an atheist teacher caused a similar-named school to be [[http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/S-F-school-bears-brunt-of-merry-Christmas-hoax-5073194.php inundated by intimidating calls and violent threats]].
** [[http://nationalreport.net/colorado-pot-shop-accept-food-stamps-taxpayer-funded-marijuana/ This article]] about a Colorado pot shop accepting food stamps, was taken seriously by [[http://www.snopes.com/politics/satire/potfoodstamps.asp many people]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The now defunct blog [=AntiSpore=] (a parody blog from supposedly a Christian Creationist taking issue with the themes ''VideoGame/{{Spore}}'' had on Evolution) fooled many gamers and even websites like [[http://kotaku.com/5047410/bizarre-anti+spore-website-takes-issue-with-stance-on-creationism Kotaku]] and [[http://www.joystiq.com/2008/09/10/we-hope-christian-anti-spore-website-is-a-joke/ Joystiq]], at least until some ''[[ViewersAreMorons very]]'' obvious notes on the blog's "Real About Page" were added, like the following:
-->But the Bible teaches us that God was not done with man. For we were His creation and He then spoke to Noah in Genesis 8:21-27 after the flood.\\
"21. The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: "Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And [[RickRoll never gonna give you up. 22. Never gonna let you down. 23. Never gonna run around and desert you. 24. Never gonna make you cry. 25. Never gonna say goodbye. 26. Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you.]] 27. Never truly believe anything you read on the Internet. There will always be cases of Poe's Law."
** Even after this, people kept up arguing against him for ''over a thousand comments''; there are over 2500 total, and the balance slowly shifts to people actually getting the joke, but toward the end there are ''still'' one or two condemning him as a bigot. Most of them apparently didn't even read the entry, and some of them who did read it, and pointed out he'd gotten the Bible verses wrong.
* When G4 held their 2011 [=VideoGame=] Deathmatch and pitted ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'' against ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword'', the Zelda Universe fansite posted an [[http://www.zeldauniverse.net/zelda-news/skyrim-needs-your-help/# article]] sarcastically imploring their readers to help ''Skyrim'', "our favorite game," help win the vote. So many people in the comments took it at face value that ZU had to post [[http://www.zeldauniverse.net/zelda-news/on-skyrim-vs-skyward-sword/ another article]] explaining that it was meant to be a joke. Incidentally, the comments themselves exhibit this trope as well; site members who got the joke tried to partake of the sarcasm in their own comments and got said comments voted down to as low as ''-20''.
* The "Laughing scene" in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'', which was ''intentionally'' made to sound fake and over-the-top [[ItMakesSenseInContext in-context]], was mistaken as a legit attempt at acting and is frequently held up as an example of poor-English voice acting.
* ''VideoGame/BioshockInfinite'' is filled with in-universe propaganda posters. It's pretty clear these are all intended as satire. This didn't stop a [[http://kotaku.com/tea-party-facebook-group-posts-bioshock-image-satirizin-1483821325 Florida Tea Party group from posting one of the posters on their Facebook page.]]
* A Facebook page impersonating Satoshi Tajiri posted the following: "You all think you have great ideas for Pokemon games, but if I actually listened to all of you and we combined all of your ideas into a game, it would be an unplayable monstrous game. You want a game with all the regions, but only the first generation Pokemons, yet all the legendary ones and such silly things. Whenever I receive one of these rants, I go to the development floor and read it out loud to all the Game Freak employees in a mocking voice, and we all laugh at you." [[FanDisillusionment Fans were shocked]] that the creator of something they loved so much was such a dick - those who didn't realize that even if Tajiri spoke English this well, he'd darn well know that "Pokemons" isn't a word, anyway.
* ''VideoGame/GrabbedByTheGhoulies'' was released as a parody of the HauntedHouse trope. However, a lot of people criticized the game for taking tropes it ''parodied'' completely straight. IGN even listed it as one of the worst "SurvivalHorror" titles ever. Yes, they put a ''parody'' of many SurvivalHorror games as a straight example of a bad one. (Even if it ''is'' [[CaptainObvious IGN]].)
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web -- Misc]]
* Popehat closed their [[http://www.popehat.com/2009/07/22/north-korean-twitter-account-not-genuine/ fake Twitter account]] for North Korea's propaganda ministry after legitimate news agencies started picking up stories from it.
* When [[http://www.freeratio.org/index.php/ Internet Infidels Discussion Board]] decided to start a contest of making parodies of the creationist organization [[http://www.answersingenesis.org/ Answers in Genesis]] cartoons, they received a cease and desist letter from the latter claiming that the parodies "clearly (are) likely to cause confusion as to the affiliation between your client and my client..." Here's an example: [[http://www.answersingenesis.org/CreationWise/Cartoons/July98CW2.gif original]] and [[http://www.animecritic.com/_temp/parody-July98CW2.gif parody]].
* A viral marketing ploy for the movie ''Hell's Half Acre'' created the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXG_XaORJbE WUCP]], an organization that represents the WhatDoYouMeanItsNotForKids mentality to the most logical extreme by acting shocked when they see the movie trailer and are appalled that this is being passed off as children entertainment and call for it to be banned. It's so over the top that no one would believe it was real, right? Well, as a look at the comments will point out, many people took it seriously. On a plus side, the movie producers did get quite a bit of free publicity.
* The Bonsai Kitten web site, which admittedly was a very sick joke, was a joke nevertheless (close inspection of several of the photographs revealed that they were obviously posed, such as a kitten supposedly "in" a bottle being actually behind it). Still, the site drew tons of protests, including several chain letters, from those who failed to grasp the parody.
** Even for those who accept it's parody, the argument goes that those who take it for real might try and do that to actual kittens.
* The [=ManBeef=] web site garnered similar reaction. The joke was the site claimed to sell human meat and provide recipes for cooking human meat. The site had nowhere to actually begin human meat transactions, just in case someone was crazy enough to try (and there were a few).
* Tech parody site BBspot ran an [[http://www.bbspot.com/news/2006/11/home-theater-regulations.html article]] claiming that the MPAA was lobbying Congress to pass a law requiring anyone who owns a home theater setup to purchase a home theater license, and additionally, that they would require people to install surveillance devices to make sure there were no unauthorized home screenings. Even though the site only runs parodies and not actual news, they had to run a second article explaining this fact to all the people who read it and thought it was real.
* A group parodying the Tea Party released videos advocating a boycott of Disney's Disney/{{Aladdin}} on the grounds that it was Islamic propaganda. Many were confused as to whether the videos were serious or not, but in this case the fact that it was believable as a Tea Party position ''was'' part of the point of the parody.
* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcCvvJWyx4c&feature=player_embedded PolitiChicks]], a right-wing "answer" to The View, has led to endless discussion in the comment section (as well as on [[http://www.gay.net/politics/2011/11/16/antigay-talk-show-launched-victoria-jackson a]] [[http://www.goodasyou.org/good_as_you/2011/11/video-anti-islam-anti-gay-pro-watching-toonces-drive-a-car.html number]] of [[http://joemygod.blogspot.com/2011/11/teabagger-politichicks.html other]] [[http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/16/victoria-jackson-politichicks-web-show_n_1097796.html sites]]) about whether it's serious or a parody, with the fact that Series/SaturdayNightLive alumna Victoria Jackson is involved causing the impression that it's all a skit. Of course The View has comedians as part of their panel too, and if Victoria Jackson's not genuinely the conservative tea-partier that every bit of public speaking she's done in the last four years indicates, then she's reached Andy Kauffman levels of StealthParody.
* Similarly the Radical Feminist blog "[[http://factcheckme.wordpress.com/ Femonade]]." is widely regarded as an inspired [[StrawFeminist parody]] due to it's relentless use of feminist tropes ('all heterosexual sex is coerced', 'all of the internet is porn', 'all men are bad', 'all transsexuals are men subverting women') taken to an unsustainable extreme. Comments against the blog consist of trolls trying to outdo each other, although including the occasional poster who is not in on the joke and would seem to believe it to be real.
* Regretsy, a website that makes fun of ridiculous Etsy products (its tagline is "Where DIY Meets WTF") recently debuted a column called "Etsy or Regretsy?", where they intersperse actual bizarre Etsy listings with parodies created by the Regretsy staff, and have the readers guess which are real and which are fake. [[http://www.regretsy.com/2012/03/16/etsy-or-regretsy-your-guesses-and-answers-5/ It's harder than you'd think]].
* Yahoo! Answers has [[http://answers.yahoo.com/activity?show=r6znu4h9aa Colonel Jack Fessender (Ret.)]], a longtime poe who has achieved some degree of infamy with way too many people thinking that [[http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100809080048AAcPSIu he]] [[http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20120502083348AAadkOT is]] [[http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20120320064538AAewgT5 for]] [[http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20111029083608AADUcpd real]]. He is also [[http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20111011053849AAEC9oE running for President]] so he can redesign the letter C so it doesn't so much like an Islamic crescent among other insane things.
* The "Amanda Bieber" Twitter account (more info [[http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/events/amanda-biebers-tweets here]]) is notorious for criticizing other musicians in praise of Music/JustinBieber. Her(?) comments are so full of ignorance (e.g. Music/KurtCobain is inferior to Bieber because he never got big on Twitter, France is an Islamic country) and hateful vitriol (nonwhite people need to leave America, gays shouldn't have rights) that she must be a {{Troll}}. Right?
* The [[http://ifyoulikeitsomuchwhydontyougolivethere.com/the-twat-o-tron/ Twat-O-Tron]] was created as a parody of many semi-coherent and angry commenters in the BBC website's "Have Your Say" section. It produces randomly generated rants formed from careful analysis of the HYS comments, and the results are not unlike the "From the messages boards" section in Private Eye: often sadly indistinguishable from the real thing. The source database has sadly not been kept up to date.
* [[http://projectfreeamerica.com/ Project: Free America]] is a website that advocates for the legalization of homicide [[ImAHumanitarian and cannibalism]]. They do, however, ThinkOfTheChildren by saying that those under the age of 18 would not be able to legally kill or be killed.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Wheel of Fortune Host Pat Sajak tweeted "“I now believe global warming alarmists are unpatriotic racists knowingly misleading for their own ends.” after outrage Sajak claimed it was parodying climate change deniers and was hyperbole. The original tweet in question was so close to what some of the crazier climate change deniers are saying telling the difference between sincerity and parody is almost impossible.
* The AltText of one ''Webcomic/{{Xkcd}}'' comic [[http://xkcd.com/301/ suggests]] trying this on a noted pit of stupidity and prejudice:
-->"Fun game: try to post a Website/YouTube comment so stupid that people realize you must be joking. (Hint: [[FailureIsTheOnlyOption this is impossible.]])"
* Endemic at Wiki/{{Conservapedia}}, a site created by right wingers as the MoralSubstitute [[http://www.conservapedia.com/Examples_of_Bias_in_Wikipedia for Wikipedia]]. As soon as it was founded, people descended on it writing completely-over-the-top articles (to the point it's now considered a FlockOfWolves), which some people took seriously. Their ''serious'' projects include [[http://www.conservapedia.com/Bible_Retranslation_Project a translation of the Bible into Conservative language.]] For instance, the whole "easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven" thing is apparently socialist, and "blessed are the meek" should really be "blessed are the God-fearing".
** [[http://www.boingboing.net/2007/02/26/conservapedias-entry.html Here's]] a particularly funny example of (apparent) stealth-parody vandalism.
** Or read their page on UsefulNotes/BarackObama, or any Democratic president of the 20th century. But especially Obama.
-->- ''Religion: Claims to be Christian''
--->- As of May 25, 2012, says ''Religion: probably Muslim''
-->- ''On April 27, 2011 Obama officially released his long form birth certificate, which many experts have determined to be a fake and no legal body has determined its authenticity.''
** See also [[http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User%3ACs1987/Examples_of_Bias_in_Conservapedia the second iteration]].
** The Conservapedia article on UsefulNotes/GeorgeWBush once said that he was "one of the greatest presidents in American history," that he was "successfully able to salvage the Hurricane Katrina rescue effort after it was sabotaged by a Democratic/Islamo-Fascist conspiracy", and that his unpopularity is entirely due to him being forced by the Democratic Congress to push through bank bailout packages.
** The root of the issue is that the site's proprietor, Andy Schlafly, keeps the site under tight control. The number of satirists has led him to become ever more paranoid and ban-happy... [[http://rationalwiki.com/wiki/images/5/56/Wigo1053_5.png the result being that only the parodists remain]], driving him ever-deeper into his mad spiral of paranoid banning.
** Wiki/RationalWiki speculates that this is the first living example of a "Poe Paradox" -- that in any given fundamentalist group, any new person/idea sufficiently fundamentalist to be accepted by the group will come off as being so ridiculous as to risk being called a parodist or a parody.
** This evolved into meta-humor once [[http://www.conservapedia.com/Poe%27s_law this entry]] made its way on there -- particularly with this laughable assertion:
-->"Clearly, the cause of the mistake is not that the genuine article is no better than a mockery; rather, the cause of the mistake is that some people lack the critical thinking skills and/or experience to differentiate the two."
** The caption below the picture of the Black Cat and number 13 on that page is even more hilarious. It quotes a ''WallStreetJournal'' article to claim that Christianity reduces belief in superstitions, yet the "unlucky 13" pictured is a superstition ''that has its origins in Christianity''.
* This is the basic premise of Rick Mercer's Talking to Americans where he travels around the US asking people about fake Canadian news stories. The show even got the better of some soon to be well known American politicians [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhTZ_tgMUdo here]].
* Website/{{Cracked}}.com has two articles about "Satirists Attacked by People Who Totally Missed the Point," [[http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-satirists-attacked-by-people-who-totally-missed-point/ here]] and [[http://www.cracked.com/blog/4-more-satirists-attacked-by-people-who-missed-point/ here.]]
** Also, see [[http://www.cracked.com/article_19036_too-stupid-satire-how-media-branded-me-as-racist.html this article]] about how the blogger meant to come off as so ridiculous that nobody could take it seriously... ''and the media thought he was being literal.''
** [[http://www.cracked.com/blog/i-cant-tell-if-movies-are-being-serious-anymore This cracked article is about movie trailers of 2011 summer movies]] - a romcom, a comedy and an action movie - that can be interpreted as parodies of their respective genres. They aren't.
** It shouldn't take long to realize that [[http://www.cracked.com/article_15739_50-reasons-lord-rings-sucks.html this article about Lord of the Rings]] is a parody. But according to the comments, some people still didn't get it.
** Cracked.com has also [[http://www.cracked.com/article_18812_5-reasons-red-dawn-secretly-subversive-anti-war-film.html argued]] that the Reaganite fantasy ''Film/RedDawn1984'' is actually a parody of resurgent UsefulNotes/ColdWar paranoia, claiming that the film actually used GettingCrapPastTheRadar to be highly critical of the United States.
** Yet another article from the site was about a woman who had created a fake online dating profile to see if the rumor that men on that site would overlook personality flaws and mismatched tastes if the woman in the picture was "hot." Even though the profile depicted someone who was very rude and immature, she got [[http://www.cracked.com/blog/4-things-i-learned-from-worst-online-dating-profile-ever/ a lot of replies]].
*** There was also a woman on Craigslist who pretended to be a cow to see how many men wanted to date her anyway. About 20 sent in serious responses without reading the ad. [[http://tgeller.livejournal.com/50714.html]]
* During Administrivia/TheSecondGoogleIncident, several works were cutlisted in protest to say "This zero-tolerance policy will likely cut this". While obvious ultrafamous works like ''Theatre/RomeoAndJuliet''[[labelnote:*]]Which has [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashcroft_v._Free_Speech_Coalition#Majority_opinion a history]] of being used this way[[/labelnote]] had little risk, ''Manga/BlackBird'' ended up being cut for real (it was restored afterwards).
* One recurring segment of ''Series/TheChasersWarOnEverything'' played subtitled clips from more extreme Middle-Eastern television shows which decried the west in the most ridiculous ways possible, including ''TomorrowsPioneers'', a Palestinian childrens' show ripping off Mickey Mouse but encouraging hatred of the west in children. Given what the ''War on Everything'' is normally like, one would expect the subtitling to be a GagSub, an exaggeration for comedic purposes. It turns out it's legit -- they had to put in disclaimers establishing that TheABC had independently confirmed the legitimacy and accuracy of the subtitles.
* Website/NotAlwaysRight and other such "true story of human idiocy" collections are ''just'' plausible enough that it's impossible to know for certain how many of their submissions are genuine, though [[http://notalwaysright.com/busted-pipes/2368 at least one]] is a known {{Urban Legend|s}}.
* The government of Malaysia took issue with [[http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Malaysian_government_warns_citizens_about_Uncyclopedia Unclyclopedia's entry on the country]]. It's not certain if they were displeased with the site while thinking it's a for-real or a parody.
* A parody series on Website/YouTube, made by Jellopocalypse, is named "Welcome to [insert website name]", which consists of fake guides, parodying the stereotype, problem or otherwise funny things that the website, being parodied, contains. When the "Welcome to {{Website/Tumblr}}" parody hit [=YouTube=], it wasn't long until Poe's Law hit the fan.
** And inspeaking of {{Website/Tumblr}}, there are several blogs on the very site that were written as a parody, but Poe's Law has kicked in and it's hard to tell them apart from many other blogs and "ask" questions on the site.
* There is a wide-spread rumor found around the web that says that TV Tropes features works pages for at least anime series that are completely fraudulent. The "series" in question contain so many of the stereotypical anime tropes and they are described in such a fanboyish way that its impossible to actually tell these pages from the ones featuring real anime series. Presumably, this is meant as tropers engaging in SelfDeprecation. Ironically, it's also possible that this rumor is another example of this trope.\\\
This may be based on ''JustForFun/IchibanNoTempura'', a fake anime mentioned in the "Just for Fun" section, which at one point was mistaken for real and a troper added it to the SlidingScaleOfAnimeObscurity page.[[note]]Or possibly the troper knew it wasn't real and just added it as a joke.[[/note]] Or possibly it could be inspired by ''JustForFun/TVTropesTheWebcomic'', a "webcomic" purportedly starring JustForFun/TropeTan and being highly {{Troperiffic}}, with all the references to its nonexistence being concealed in spoiler tags. Regardless, it means that this example actually [[AluminumChristmasTrees has some basis in fact]].
* The now-defunct website marryourdaughter.com was a website purporting to sell teenage girls (some as young as 13) to prospective husbands (provided they submitted a "suitable" proposal). It was presented as a way for parents to earn some money, get rid of {{Bratty Teenage Daughter}}s, and as a way for [[TheFundamentalist fundamentalists]] to [[ArrangedMarriage marry daughters off]] [[Literature/TheBible Biblically]]. The website was all [[http://snopes.com/inboxer/hoaxes/marryourdaughter.asp a hoax]], intended to point out inconsistencies in US marriage laws regarding age of consent and such.
* [[http://dailycurrant.com/2013/05/16/ann-coulter-walks-out-of-star-trek-claims-too-many-minorities/ This article]] from the satirical newspaper ''Website/TheDailyCurrant'' claiming that Ann Coulter stormed out of a showing of ''Film/StarTrekIntoDarkness'' yelling that ''Franchise/StarTrek'' had "too many minorities". At least half the comment section missed the joke, although a possible explanation is that after some of the stuff Coulter really ''has'' said, it's easy to believe.
* ''Website/SFDebris'' is fond of creating exaggerated parodies of ''Seires/StarTrek'' characters, particularly the captains. Two notable aspects are that Picard loathes children, and Janeway is an insane, capricious tyrant. Both of them managed to exceed his parody versions of them in the show; Picard when he praises Riker for letting a little girl die (rather than save her with his Q-granted powers), and Janeway when she [[{{Unperson}} wipes all records of a crewmember]] and bans the crew from ever speaking of her again (to resolve an issue with the Doctor's programming).
* After the public backlash against celebrities like the King of Spain and several other people who posted pictures of themselves posing with dead animals they killed on hunting trips, Jay Branscomb posted a picture of Creator/StevenSpielberg posing with the sick Triceratops model from his film ''Film/JurassicPark'', adding the caption: "Disgraceful photo of recreational hunter happily posing next to a Triceratops he just slaughtered. Please share so the world can name and shame this despicable man". Despite the fact that dinosaurs have been extinct for over 65 million years, [[http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2688463/Steven-Spielberg-Im-disappointed-Online-uproar-photo-famous-movie-director-posing-triceratops-just-slaughtered.html many people took the post seriously]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark''
** This also showed up in the episode "Trapped in the Closet" when an official narrates Xenu's origin story. The phrase, "[[NotMakingThisUpDisclaimer This is what Scientologists actually believe]]" was put in because it would've been indistinguishable from the show's weird humor to those who didn't already know the story. Even then, some people '''still''' didn't believe it, because even that sounds like something ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' would do.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:YouTube]]
* A Website/YouTube user named Tamtampamela had a channel on which she posed as a satire of fundamentalist Christians, but when she put up a video thanking God for the Japanese earthquake, saying that he had caused it to punish Japan's atheist population, it immediately went viral and she started receiving death threats, causing her to eventually come clean that it was a parody.
** Even [=YouTube=] blogger, WebVideo/{{Thunderf00t}}, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcikNCsilHk referenced her in a video]] (which came out before she outed herself as a parody) in which he hopes that she's "a Poe". Note: Even admitting it was a parody [[DudeNotFunny did not reduce the hostility]] [[TooSoon she received much]].
* Just as Website/YouTube user potholer54 was about to nominate a creationist for his 2008 Golden Crocoduck Award (given to the creationists who knowingly and most effectively lied to support their arguments), the creationist outed himself as a satirist. Despite this, potholer explained that one of his arguments (the rings of Saturn prove a young solar system) is actually used by some creationists. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztejNZIZdsU Watch for yourself here.]]
* Matt Harding of WebVideo/WhereTheHellIsMatt fame did a [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogcqFaNbah4 joke video]] claiming that his WebVideo/WhereTheHellIsMatt videos were just an elaborate hoax, involving robot backup dancers and other such absurdities. Soon news articles around the Internet were lambasting Matt for this terrible deception, to the point where he had to make a [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVAg6YTgTn4 public announcement that the hoax was a hoax]].
* Several videos, such as the famous "WebVideo/AngryGermanKid" video were originally made to ''satirize'' how German politicians saw gamers. Unfortunately, if you ask around today, most people won't actually know it's faked because of how easy it is to put on a show for the camera.
* Another famous video, the Greatest Freakout Ever: At least 3/5 of the comments were "Boy, this is what ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' does to people?!?", ignoring that you can replace "VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft" with "Xbox Live" or "VideoGame/EverQuest" and it'd ''still'' make sense...or that. The internet still seems to be divided between those who think it was fake and those who think it was real, without any conclusive proof one way or the other.
** Detractors often point to the over-the-top reactions of Steven (the freakout kid) as [[BeggingTheQuestion clearly]] being acted.
** Some cite the interview of Steven by Creator/DanielTosh on his tv show Series/{{Tosh0}} as definitive proof that the video was fake. The episode involves Tosh [[PerpSweating interrogating]] Steven, with the help of MichaelWinslow ([[HeyItsThatGuy You know]], [[AdamWesting that guy who makes the funny noises]]), eventually using a [[LieDetector polygraph machine]], and finally resorting to a threat to [[LaserGuidedKarma shove a remote up his butt if he doesn't tell the truth]]. This is a [[RuleOfFunny comedy show]], and it's not known what occurred back stage.
* P.Z. Myers fell victim of this in [[http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/09/20/this-is-our-opposition/#comments this blog post]] where he rants about an anti-feminism Website/YouTube video while labeling it as "Our Opposition", it should be noted that some of the commentators of his blog [[GenreSavvy started invoking this law]] pointing out that it was so over-the-top it had to be a parody, only to be dismissed by the rest of the commentators and P.Z. himself. Then the original poster of the video made a [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3thZ135aPhE response video]] {{MST}}ing and mocking P.Z. and his commentators for taking it at face value.
* The maker of [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BF3jvD_hNFc this]] "Cinema Trailer Sins" video criticizing the teaser for ''Film/{{Godzilla 2014}}'' had to post a comment stating that his extreme nitpicking and InsaneTrollLogic were never meant to be taken seriously after Franchise/{{Godzilla}} fans lashed out at him and got the video downvoted really low. (It should also be noted, however, that this channel is also a parody of the (massively) more popular and (slightly) more professional WebVideo/CinemaSins channel, thus accounting for many of the downvotes.)
* ''WebVideo/ThirdRateGamer'', a StylisticSuck parody of {{Caustic Critic}}s (''WebVideo/TheIrateGamer'' in particular) is often mistaken for a legitimate, awful reviewer. His NintendoDS "review" begins with a disclaimer that says that the show is a parody, but if you read the comments to some of his other videos, you can still find people confusing him with an actual reviewer.
* A few days before the 2014 Isla Vista Massacre, the perpetrator, Elliot Rodger, posted a video espousing his beliefs and plans for "revenge." The video ended up being posted to reddit's r/cringe subreddit, where commenters had a hard time telling whether he genuinely wanted to kill people or was just a massive troll. His posts in various internet forums got similar responses, and many of the things written in his manifesto come off as too extreme, over-the-top, and just plain insane to be believable.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:In-Universe Examples]]

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* A passage in ''What Th--?'', Creator/{{Marvel|Comics}}'s parody comic, has a hypothetical story in which the ComicBook/FantasticFour meet Franchise/{{Superman}}. The writer of the story comments in a footnote that it is impossible to write a parody of The Thing's dialogue that doesn't sound exactly like something he would really say.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Film ]]

* Leo and Max's 'SpringtimeForHitler' gambit in ''Film/TheProducers''; they aimed to produce the biggest flop ever so they could make off with the investment money, so they took in a story glorifying [[GodwinsLaw Hitler]] and made it as offensive as they could. Unfortunately, the actor playing Hitler himself was [[SoBadItsGood so terrible]] that the audience assumed that it was a parody, and the show sold out. The director deciding to throw in some catchy musical segments didn't help.
** In the musical version the former Nazi Franz who will be playing the part of Hitler breaks his leg just prior to curtain, and is replaced by the [[CampGay director]] -- who turns flamboyant up to eleven. The original version had him played by a beatnik.
** Roger Ebert noted that this is what actually torpedoed Leo and Max's scam. If they had gone all out (i.e., featured the Holocaust or Operation Barbarossa in their pro-Nazi musical), then their plan would actually have worked, as nobody would want to see satire that distasteful.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature ]]

* Exploited and combined with RefugeInAudacity in the Literature/HonorHarrington book ''On Basilisk Station'' through the "big lie" theory. After the [[PeoplesRepublicOfTyranny Republic of Haven]] gets their hand caught in the cookie jar regarding their schemes with Basilisk, Honor hopes that Havenite civilians will see through their government's [[BlatantLies outrageously false]] PropagandaMachine, which paints ''themselves'' as the real victims of the debacle, just as easily as the Manticorans have. Unfortunately, as gets explained to her by experts on such matters, the fact that said propaganda is so outrageously false is also what leads the Havenites to accept it at face value; they would never believe that their governing authorities would deliberately lie to them in such an audacious manner, so they end up believing them even when they ''are'' lying.
* Darrel Bristow-Bovey's self-help satire ''Literature/IMovedYourCheese'' complains about how hard it is to write a self-help satire:
-->When it comes to the self-help genre, the line between satire and the real thing is drawn in water with a blunt pencil.
* In Creator/PGWodehouse's short piece "How Kid Brady Broke Training", Kid Brady, after reading a magazine, goes off meat and starts an all-fruit diet under the belief that it will make him a better fighter. He later meets the article's author, who tells him that it was meant as satire, "[b]ut so subtle and delicate is my humor that apparently the thing is misleading".
* In ''Erasure'' by Literature/PercivalEverett, an intellectual black author, sick and tired of his philosophical books being passed over for publication because they're not suitably "Black," writes a way, ''way'' over the top parody of thuggish ghetto-chic blaxploitation called ''My Paffology'' and has his agent send it out as a protest. Random House accepts the book at face value as a fierce portrayal of the Black experience and pays six hundred grand for it. The book, now renamed ''Fuck'', goes on to win the National Book Award.
* This is what got the Bill of Life, which allows parents to have their children's body parts be divided and used as transplants once they reach age thirteen, passed in ''Literature/{{Unwind}}''; it was proposed in order to make both sides in the Heartland War realize how ridiculous they were being. What wasn't expected was both pro-choice and pro-life people to embrace it as the only way to compromise.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* An episode of ''Series/MurphyBrown'' had Murphy passing off a painting her infant Avery had created, with the fake name of "A. Very". One critic thought it was brilliant. The other thought it was child scribblings. An art buyer bought it for an obscene amount because the two critics were arguing over it.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Webcomics ]]

* Taken to something of a logical extreme in ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'', where ''Webcomic/SweetBroAndHellaJeff'', Dave's StylisticSuck webcomic, is [[http://mspaintadventures.com/?s=6&p=002226 described as]] "a webcomic ironically maintained through a satirical cipher" with "legions of devoted fans, most of whom are totally convinced" of his sockpuppet persona's sincerity. A bit of meta irony kicks in when you consider that in real life, ''Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff'' actually ''is'' much better known than ''Homestuck'' and ''MSPA'', and genuinely ''does'' have legions of devoted fans (though most of them are well aware of its ironic StylisticSuck value).
** Part of the reason is that ''Webcomic/SweetBroAndHellaJeff'' originated before Homestuck and was posted on the [[http://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/85435/higher-technology/p2 Penny Arcade forums]] by Andrew Hussie.
* In a ''Webcomic/CheckerboardNightmare'' arc, the titular character creates a children's show centered entirely around promoting himself and his merchandise. Said MerchandiseDriven nature is so transparent that the show becomes a hit amongst teenagers and young adults who mistake it for biting satire (the fact that Chex could only afford for the show to be run on a 4AM timeslot didn't help).
* ''Webcomic/SaturdayMorningBreakfastCereal'' parodies this [[http://www.smbc-comics.com/?db=comics&id=1656#comic here]].

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Original ]]

* In WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic's review of ''Film/ScoobyDoo'', [[spoiler:his younger self]] defends the movie by claiming that it's making fun of the show's pointless celebrity cameos. The Critic responds that no, the movie just ''has'' pointless celebrity cameos.
* A common problem on blogs like "[[http://whitewhine.com/ White Whine]]" and other collections of FirstWorldProblems -- for every entry that is a genuine example of someone engaging in over-the-top and unnecessary complaining about a trivial issue, there is another which is clearly either a parody of that type of person or someone who is perfectly aware that their current issues are trivial but are simply exaggerating for humourous effect or to vent.
* ''Website/{{Cracked}}'''s [[http://www.cracked.com/article_20203_the-5-most-epic-backfires-in-history-bad-jokes.html The 5 Most Epic Backfires in the History of Bad Jokes]]. From the lead: "The problem with sarcasm is that you can do it so well (or so poorly) that people don't realize you're joking."
* Discussed on ''WebAnimation/ZeroPunctuation''. More than once (such as in his review of ''VideoGame/{{Deadpool}}'') Yahtzee states that video game violence is already so extreme and ridiculous that its nearly impossible to parody.
* Invoked in a [[http://www.theguardian.com/environment/blog/2011/oct/21/lord-monckton-sacha-baron-cohen devastating satire]] by Australian comedian Craig Reucassel, in which he said that the controversial climate-change skeptic Lord Monckton [[note]]infamous for comparing environmentalists to [[GodwinsLaw Hitler Youth]], among other claims[[/note]] was a satirical character played by Creator/SachaBaronCohen-- and proceeded to interview an unsuspecting Monckton himself about it, asking such questions as "Will we ever see Ali G or Borat come back?" Monckton was bewildered, to say the least.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark''
** The episode "The Tale of Scrotie [=McBoogerballs=]" has this happen: Upon finding out that ''Literature/TheCatcherInTheRye'' is overhyped, the kids write an offensive story about nothing in particular, solely to be more offensive than ''Literature/TheCatcherInTheRye'' was claimed to be. The adults find it, and believe that it's a great literary work, even after the kids explicitly tell them that it is nothing more than a string of gross-out attempts on paper, and that there is no actual story in it.
** The 16th season episode "Sarcastaball" revolves around a game which Randy invents as parody, but which everyone else takes seriously.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/BeavisAndButtHead'' episode "[=Buttniks=]," they wander into a coffee shop and witness a poetry slam. Butt-Head goes on stage and deliberately stinks up the joint to the annoyance of the crowd. Beavis drinks lots of Frappucino (or, as he called it, "Crappucino") and turns into the Great Cornholio and goes off on an insane incoherent rant. The audience loves it and call it "ground-breaking stuff," instead of recognizing it as the babblings of an overcaffeinated psycho.
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' has Marge finding a copy of ''The Onion'' on her neighbor's coffee table. Upon reading it, Marge is surprised at the headlines only to be informed that it's satire. Next, Marge opens the paper and upon reading the movie reviews, laughs at what the critics say about the movies only to find out the movie reviews are real.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' episode "Brian Writes a Bestseller", Brian manages to pull this off with a hastily-written self-help book called "Wish It, Want It, Do It", which he wrote as a statement on self-help books in general. However, it winds up becoming a bestseller, and he ultimately buys into his own hype. It ultimately takes [[Series/RealTimeWithBillMaher Bill Maher]] to get Brian to admit the truth and be shooed off the set.
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