The Best Page in the Universe is a personal satirical humor Web site created by George Ouzounian, better known by his pen name Maddox. Launched in 1997 without any high expectations, the Web site soon became one of the most popular websites on the Web, becoming known purely through word of mouth, and turning Maddox into one of the earliest internet influencers many years before modern social media existed.
The Best Page in the Universe originated from a text document that Maddox wrote in 1996 aptly named "fifty things that piss me off!" He gave the list to several people on EFnet's #coders and a few coworkers, and the positive response led him to create the website. Maddox decided to name his site "The Best Page in the Universe" specifically due to his knowledge that Yahoo! blocked sites with the phrase "the best" in the title from inclusion in its search engine at the time. The website consists of satirical written articles by Maddox. Topics of the articles vary wildly, from humorous observations about everyday life, reviews of film, video game and other media, political satire, parodies of other websites, to random Non Sequiturs. Articles tend to written in a harsh, demeaning, and sometimes offensive tone, with consistent themes of Maddox's own perceived masculinity and intelligence, as well as mocking of others for behaviour he perceives as stupid or mindlessly conformist.
Many of Maddox's articles include MS Paint illustrations, with touchup done in Adobe Photoshop. Images include elderly people being fired to the sun, hippies being killed, and Maddox's testicles drawn larger than basketballs. Maddox maintains a section in which he criticizes hate mail his website has generated. When posting his replies, he breaks the e-mail down, ridicules points which use fallacious logic and corrects linguistic errors. He also runs an online store which sells merchandise such as stickers and apparel that bear phrases used in his articles. The site contains several "hidden pages", many of which are unfinished works or first drafts of articles that were moved around.
The page is headed with an image of Maddox's face superimposed over a bust of Che Guevara. In the image, Maddox is wearing a beret emblazoned with the Jolly Roger, and an eye patch. Maddox uses this image as a parody of the revolutionary icon. Maddox says that Che Guevara is remembered as "Che the revolutionary", not "Che the pinko", and claims to be neither socialist nor communist. Instead, he often proclaims himself to be a Pirate, and typically portrays himself as such in his articles and artwork.
They layout of The Best Page in the Universe is very minimalistic, mostly consisting of large font grey text on a black background. This is primarily to reduce bandwidth costs — useful, as the site contains no advertisements other than for itself and for Maddox's books. Maddox also states that the minimalism protests the many Web sites containing "fancy HTML" but lacking substantial content. Maddox has compared reading black text on a white background to "staring at a light bulb". The use of large, light-colored text against a black background is to, in his stated opinion, reduce strain on the eyes.
Despite Maddox never creating any advertisements for promotions for his website, the site gained incredible popularity purely though word of mouth alone. Individual articles on the website would gain millions of unique views, an extraordinary amount considering this was in the late 90's and early 2000's when the Internet itself was not as popular as it is today. At it's peak, Xmission.com, which hosts The Best Page in the Universe, had an Alexa rank of about 16,000, and TheBestPageInTheUniverse.net, which works as an alternative domain for Maddox's Web site, had an Alexa rank of about 33,000.
As of 2017, Maddox's body of work has also expanded to:
- A nifty show on Youtube
- Two books; The Alphabet of Manliness, and I Am Better Than Your Kids
- The Biggest Problem In The Universe; a weekly podcast in which Maddox, along with Dick Masterson of Dr. Phil and menarebetterthanwomen.com fame (infamy?), aims to create a comprehensive list of all the problems in the Universe, in hopes of eventually finding the biggest one. Hilarity ensues.
- NOTE: Maddox ended the show abruptly in 2016, neglecting to feature or even mention Masterson during the finale, right before starting the Mad Cast Media podcast network with satirist Rucka Rucka Ali. Dick questioned this on his own "sequel" podcast (link above), as well as other weird things that happened before and after the breakup. Leaked BPITU bonus content, doxing, slanderous videos, history denial, restraining orders, trademark debacles, and even courtroom dramas ensue.
- A third book, F*ck Whales: Petty Essays from a Brilliant Mind, which, possibly due to the aforementioned story, isn't doing too well.
- A Twitch channel
Maddox also appeared in an eighth season episode of Penn & Teller: Bullshit! about old people and the stereotypes about them. Maddox thought that old people sucked. In 2015, a full 5 years later, he finally made a video and article about his experience, only for Penn Jillette to apologize immediately on Twitter.
This website provides examples of:
- Accentuate the Negative: He shows no mercy in his evaluation of children's works, culminating in a book, proudly titled I Am Better than Your Kids. Several of his articles are extremely caustic attacks on video games, celebrities, and movies he hated/hates.
- Alternate Character Interpretation:
- He believed that Christopher Reeve was a "self-serving asshole" who only opened a paralysis foundation because he himself needed treatment - the fact that he would be helping millions of other paralysis victims was an unintended side-effect, though one he was all too happy to accept praise for.
- He also calls the nurse who committed suicide in the aftermath of an Australian prank on the royal couple as "selfish", as she took the easy way out; similarly, he calls anyone who uses that suicide to guilt-trip the radio personalities behind the prank as "cowards" who want an easy way to guilt some pranksters who didn't foresee a suicide coming.
- He also believes Ellen Degeneres' coming out, while sincere, was a marketing ploy to gain more viewers from the controversy.
- April Fools' Day: He participates in it, often leaving a subtle hint that his temporarily-transformed website is a joke (such as putting "af" in the URL). One such prank he did was his Unfastened Coins video, and another prank he did was changing his page into a Xanga-style blog. Notably, the latter drew hate mail from people who thought he was for real and he really blew up at his fans about it.
- Association Fallacy: Possibly spoofed. "Mimes are worthless. Environmentalists are worthless. Therefore Mimes are Environmentalists."
- Batman Gambit: He managed to do this against a hate-mailer. Instead of ripping apart the hate mail as he usually does, instead he told the mailer how he used to be abused and that his writing was a way to express himself. The mailer wrote back in sympathy, only to have Maddox respond back: "Just kidding. Tool."
- Berserk Button: It would be easier to list what doesn't piss him off. Among other things:
- Don't tell him that you hate math.
- Don't mention feminism around him.
- Don't bring up Titanic or tell him to watch it.
- Don't use net slang when emailing him.
- Governments, don't ban his website or he'll visit your country just to leave printouts of his website all over the place and make a "cockery" of your buildings, as the United Arab Emirates found out the hard way.
- Don't block (ban) his website on your company's servers if you own a business. He may make fun of your products and/or ads, as he did with Apple for not letting Apple employees view his site.
- Black Comedy: For example, in his article The iPhone is a Piece of Shit and so is Your Face, he wrote, "When the iPhone was first announced, CEO Steve Jobs spewed enough BS to cover a football field full of babies 3 feet deep in bullshit, which sounds cool because he could have potentially murdered a football field full of babies, but he passed on this opportunity by introducing the phone instead."
- *Bleep*-dammit!: In the video to go along with this article, a censor bar on his mouth has the word "FUCK" written on it. And the word "dipshit" half a second before that doesn't get censored.
- Bowdlerise: In his article "Et tu, Maxim? Even Maxim can't step." Maddox compared the fake muppets he created in a previous article next to fake muppets Maxim magazine made for an article that was published after his and after he found IPs tracing to Maxim computers in his website logs. The article was later edited to say it was all a big misunderstanding, and the pictures of Maxim's fake muppets were removed. The article was also moved off the front page.
- Boring, but Practical: His reasoning for his website's Minimalism.
- Brick Joke:
- Most of the counters at the bottom of pages are this, usually referencing a one-off joke early in the article. The site's FAQ, for instance, contains the question, "What does that number at the bottom of each page mean?" He explains that each page has its own page-view counter, with a unique phrase for each one. The FAQ's own counter, of course, says that "X people still don't understand how the counters work on my site."
- By far the longest instance of this involved a 2004 article titled "Looking for a safe stance on abortion? Me neither", where the counter at the bottom read that "x people will vote for me not realizing that I can't run for president until 2016." Come November 2016, a full twelve years later, and Maddox updated the article to announce that he would actually be running for President.
- But Wait, There's More!: In his BuzzFeed rant, after talking about how the unsourced images add nothing to their articles, Maddox starts talking about how the articles themselves were plagiarized by saying, "But wait, there's less!"
- Catchphrase: He is quite fond of the word "dipshit" and claiming that something (himself roughly 4 out of 5 times) rules.
- Caustic Critic:
- Child Hater: As best demonstrated with his "I Am Better Than Your Kids" site.
- Comically Missing the Point: In his review of Mad Max: Fury Road Maddox spends most of the review Rooting for the Empire without shame, loving every second of Immortan Joe and his army almost literally wallpapered in Rule of Cool. Keep in mind that A) Fury Road is an unconventional Feminist Fantasy, and B) the Maddox persona is a mild satire of being macho and writes Black Comedy about mistreating women.
- Cowboy BeBop at His Computer: In an instance where Maddox fell foul of this trope, he complained of Prometheus not having the Alien in it, calling it a bait-and-switch. However, Ridley Scott had explicitly stated long before the film's release that it wasn't going to have the Aliens themselves in it, rather that it was only going to be set in the same universe. It was in fact various papers, magazines and film news websites that had hyped it as an Alien movie. Of course, he may have been exaggerating.
- Delusions of Eloquence: Maddox received a hatemail from a junior highschooler who used lots and lots of big fancy words. He accused Maddox of having "a life as squalid and decrepit as Eminem and Fidel Castro".
- Disproportionate Retribution: He once got an e-mail talking about how dull his site was. He responded by banning the person's entire ISP... with a message explaining that the banned individuals should send this dude an e-mail of gratitude.
- Early-Installment Weirdness: His first couple of years of articles are not nearly as well remembered as some of his others due to being written very much in the style of a generic angry college kid as opposed to his later, more exaggeratedly manly and meticulous persona. Most of his early articles are satirical or otherwise "don't take this seriously" in nature, unlike the Sincerity Mode present in many articles starting in the 2010's.
- Emphasize EVERYTHING: He attacked the prevalent misuse of the terms "epic" and "fail", saying that their overuse by popular culture has stripped them of their meaning. People sick of it themselves hailed it as a welcome return from a months-long hiatus and a Moment of Awesome.
- Enemy to All Living Things: He has claimed that animals are only useful for eating, and suggested that readers with vegetarian friends should triple their meat consumption to make up for any animal suffering prevented by their not eating meat.
- Even the Guys Want Him: He has received at least 80 marriage proposals. 4 of them are from men.
- Everybody Hates Mathematics: Defied, since this is a particular Berserk Button for him (he majored in math). He dedicates an article tearing apart the "when will I ever use math again in life?" excuse, mentioning that math is the reason why technological advancements such as oil platforms, medicine, and space travel even exist, and that people that use the excuse are lazy, self-important morons.
- Everyone Hates Mimes: Maddox hates mimes so much that he even dreams of them getting skewered by a rain of swords.
- Excuse Plot: the (non-existing) Best Game in the Universe has one as evidenced in the prologue:[...] Satisfied from his healthy breakfast of rocks and shitting gun powder, [Maddox] headbutts the front door into splinters and proceed to do his daily business:
That's it. That's pretty much the premise of the whole game.
- Fan Dumb: Invoked and mocked. He calls Apple customers and Macintosh customers simple-minded idiots; they send him hate mail, which he turns into more material.
- Four-Point Scale: In a hidden page listing his favorite movies, by virtue of them being his favorites. Also Broke the Rating Scale, since the ratings he uses go from S+ to S++++, and the ratings below that are a simple S, SHIT, PUTRID, and BRAVEHEART.
- Gag Penis: A lot larger than the sun!
- Subverted in the article titled "How is it possible that a guy with a small penis and a hairy back is more powerful than Pepsi on the Internet?" Though he maintains that his nuts are still huge regardless; for instance one of his complaints about the original Xbox was that the original, infamously-huge controllers were "almost as big as my nuts".
- During a trip to Dubai to verify the claim of his site being banned in the UAE, he took a photo of the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest skyscraper, with his legs positioned to look as if the tower's coming out from between his legs—a "cockery", as he puts it.
- Grammar Nazi: One of the ways that Maddox took apart a hate mail is by pointing out its numerous grammatical errors. He's had to deal with a few of these thinking that the words "inane" and "homage" are not actual words, assuming he meant to write "insane" and "homepage".
- Government Conspiracy: Spoofed on the "Unfastened Coins" sub-webpage, where Maddox "proves" that the Titanic didn't sink because of an iceberg collision, but because of a government cover-up. He also mocked it with "There is no 9/11 conspiracy you morons", completely savaging Loose Change.
- Hates Small Talk: Maddox wishes he could kick people who make small talk in the crotch. Seriously.
- He-Man Woman Hater: Frequent usage of Stay in the Kitchen and objectification. Played for laughs, of course.
- Hype Backlash: A lot of the things he expresses hate for are (or were at the time) particularly popular, such as Titanic (1997) at the time he wrote his anti-Titanic article, and the iPhone (then without a lot of features and apps available nowadays).
Oh poor guy, booo hooo hooo! He has nothing left in his miserable existence. Except for the millions of dollars he'll command in sales and donations from the two book deals he got since his accident, the publicity from going on hundreds of tours and public talks, and a jump start to his dead career with possibly more opportunities rolling in after his accident than before (let's face it, when is the last time you saw a Reeve film that didn't involve him wearing spandex?). On top of that, he gets blind praise from millions for an accident that occurred to him while he was riding his trained thoroughbred horse, after having lived the better part of his life as a handsome millionaire, who has been sought after by millions of women and probably a good chunk of men. Not to mention the best medical treatment in the world in addition to the financial resources to continue the best physical therapy after the accident, a luxury not available to most other paralysis victims. The fact that you think he has nothing to look forward to just because he's a cripple is not only insulting to him, but all people with paralysis, which is infinitely worse than the assertion I've made. Nice job, you insensitive cock.
- The opening of his response to one piece of hate mail, condemning him for making fun of Christopher Reeve, was dedicated to calling out that hate mail for making far worse implications than Maddox did.
- His Sasha Grey article is in part dedicating to calling her out on being this: trying to become a "legitimate" actress yet still using her porn name and notoriety to actually land acting jobs, denying other people the respect she demands for her own work, etc.
- Hypocritical Humor:
- One of the above-mentioned uninformed grammar Nazis who thought "homage" wasn't a real word went on to tell Maddox that he "didn't think you'd want some collage-educated guy bitchin at you." Another one tried to claim that there were no spelling or grammatical errors for Maddox to rip him apart for... but he misspelled "grammar", and immediately followed up this claim with a sentence using the wrong form of the word "you".
- The FAQ notes that Maddox dates pages by when they were last updated rather than posted, and that if a page actually is updated it will be moved back to the top of the front page, but he then says "this rarely happens because I do everything perfekt the frst time."
- I'll Never Tell You What I'm Telling You!: "You know ACE, I won't even point out the irony of your subject line (it's "you're", not "your", dipshit)"
- Insane Troll Logic: "Screw the whales. Why? Because they're drinking all our water and eating our sailors."
- Intentionally Awkward Title: It's difficult to take about the title of the work without sounding extremely subjective.
- It Tastes Like Feet: "Hot dogs taste like the inside of my dick." (*NOT VERIFIED.)
- Logical Fallacies: One of the staples of Maddox's satire.
- One particularly hilarious example is a cartoon satirizing astrology in which someone unscrews the cap from a soda bottle and reads on it the words "SORRY PLEASE TRY AGAIN", and then furiously shouts at the heavens, "DAMN YOU NEPTUNE!"
- He also pointed out the idiocy of people who are opposed to the hiring of immigrant labor and opposed to laws that would force companies to pay these immigrants fair wages. If they had to pay them fair wages, there would be no incentive for these companies to hire immigrant workers over local Americans (who are already protected by minimum wage laws). Apparently he even called in to a local radio show about this one, but the host was unable to follow his basic argument.
- He's also pointed this out in articles about food, noting there are onion haters who inexplicably will order onion rings, or a pompous vegetarian ordering a seafood pasta and then having the restaurant take it back when it came with seafood.
- Long List: From "If these words were people, I would embrace their genocide.":Liberal media: Whiny, bitching, cry-baby conservatives love to prattle on and on about the "liberal media." To be fair, except for FOX News (Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, John Gibson, Neil Cavuto, Steve Doocy, E.D. Hill, Brian Kilmeade, Brit Hume), Clear Channel, Laura Ingraham, Dr. Laura, Rush Limbaugh, Hugh Hewitt, Ann Coulter, Newsmax, G. Gordon Liddy, Michael Reagan, Michael Savage, The New York Post, Sinclair Broadcast Group (WLOS13, Fox 45, WTTO21, WB49, KGAN, WICD, WICS, WCHS, WVAH, WTAT, WSTR, WSYX, WTTE, WKEF, WRGT, KDSM, WSMH, WXLV, WURN, KVWB, KFBT, WDKY, WMSN, WVTV, WEAR, WZTV, KOTH, WYZZ, WPGH, WGME, WLFL, WRLH, WUHF, KABB, WGGB, WSYT, WTTA), David Horowitz, Rupert Murdoch, PAX, and MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, they're right.
- Minimalism: The sites pages consist of minimal colour (large grey text on a black background), and is mostly text oriented, for the most part lacking images, advertisments, animations, and other fancy design gimmicks. The site author, Maddox, claims the purpose of this is in part to minimise bandwidth consumption, but is mostly as protest against "all the slick-looking, contentless web sites out there" and to make the website easier on the eyes as "Staring at a white background while you read is like staring at a light bulb".
- Murderous Thighs: He claimed a benefit of bicycling was the ability to use his leg to crack the skulls of two kids at once.
- Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book: One of the "I am Better than Your Kids" submissions was disturbing enough to scare Maddox.
- Not Using the "Z" Word: He hates this trope and wished zombies movies would just call them zombies.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: When the COVID-19 Pandemic began to escalate in 2020, he reposted his word-for-word article from a decade prior where he lampooned the media's overzealous fearmongering around the swine flu by daring someone to infect him with swine flu, only replacing the phrase "swine flu" with "coronavirus." Once he (and in fairness, and most of the rest of us) realized that COVID was actually a very potent disease compared to swine flu, he recanted himself and made a video calling out the COVID deniers using simple statistics.
- Overly Preprepared Gag: He once flew nearly 8,000 miles to Dubai...just to verify that his site is banned, litter printouts of his website around the city to taunt the ban, and use a view of the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building at the time, to make the tower look like it's coming out from between his legs.
- Police Brutality: Discussed in "A message to cops.", where he expresses his grievances with some of the more petty or needless things police officers do.Most cops I see abuse their power every day by parking illegally, talking on their cellphones while driving, drifting in and out of lanes without turn signals, flashing their lights to get out of intersections and power tripping like crazy. If you're a cop who's reading this, rather than being butt-hurt by people's perceptions of you, do something to change it. Write a fellow officer a ticket. Stick your neck out for us, rather than your colleague for a change. Do the right thing. We notice.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Near the end of "If these words were people, I would embrace their genocide.":Vog: I
- Refuge in Audacity: "If there were a building that stood for grammatical integrity, this email would be the plane that crashed into it."
- Rice Burner: He provides the trope's page quote with this article. He then points out that even if one does invest in an actual performance car rather than needless decorations for an economy car, the illegality of driving over 200 miles per hour on public roads ultimately renders performance cars worthless too. He mocked their responses of accusing him of driving a lame car by posting a heavily photoshopped, pimped-out economy car. Of course, a lot of people actually believed that was his real car and accused him of being a hypocrite.
- Rouge Angles of Satin: Gets absolutely livid at multiple emails claiming that he "misspelled" the word "insane" as "inane" on his "I Am Better Than Your Kids" page. He closes out his response by making fun of said people constantly mistaking "your" for "you're".
- Self-Demonstrating Article: His Uncyclopedia article.
"It doesn't." awkward pause
- "These corporate sites have promotions, games, and discounts, yet more people come to this site every day and read stupid bullshit about how big my balls are."
- There's also a brief segment from his video rant on apps, as he goes on a tangent about Egyptians' belief that hedgehog amulets could cure baldness.
- He's aware of his own increasingly-spread-out updates and jokes about it.
- Slasher Smile: After reading hate mail criticizing him about his lack of smile, he has done something between this and the Psychotic Smirk at the end of many of his YouTube videos - despite his rather heated delivery, he retains quite a relaxed posture and attire. Many first-time viewers (and some even long-time fans) get surprised by this.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Parodied. "Some people think I'm conceited. Oh well... THE UNIVERSE REVOLVES AROUND ME. I AM KING. Everyone wishes they were me. EVERYONE. If I weren't me, I'd wish I was. I love me." Overlaps with Refuge in Audacity.
- Speak Ill of the Dead:
- After the death of Christopher Reeve, Maddox updated his article about Reeve... simply to change the title from "Christopher Reeve is an asshole" to "Christopher Reeve
iswas an asshole."
- When bin Laden was assassinated, he promptly declared that anyone posting depressing quotes about how they wouldn't wish death on anyone was being a wimp, and suggested celebrating instead.
- Even those celebrities he actually likes aren't entirely immune to this. His article on Robin Williams' suicide, and ABC News' refusal to honor the family's wish for privacy that they themselves were reporting, ends with Maddox stating that every gracious thing anyone has ever said about Williams was true, "even though I still think Patch Adams was shit and had too many kids in it".
- After the death of Christopher Reeve, Maddox updated his article about Reeve... simply to change the title from "Christopher Reeve is an asshole" to "Christopher Reeve
- Take a Third Option: On the Dragon's Crown debacle, instead of going the usual "women are stupid" route for laughs (which he already did in the written article on females in gaming, but dropped for the video itself), he suggested that if women want to see less sexualization, they need to join the games industry and help grow the (small but growing) female developers and designers in the games industry, so that their opinions and designs get more exposure, instead of the usual skimpy-women-in-bikinis thing.
- Take That!: On almost everything. His Ikaruga review turned into a random stab at Tekken, mocking its character design (in particular, Armor King).
- Tempting Fate: Seen right here.In closing, Chump Change has made a special request. He would like to know the answer to the following question:
"Why would I get hate mail if you posted MY hate mail on YOUR site?! Dumbass"
Update: Chump Change broke down a record 20 minutes after this email was posted (after he received a flood of hate mail)...
- Trademark Favorite Food:
- Beef jerky. At one point he posted an entire article, the link to which said would offer a list of everything better than beef jerky. The article consisted of one single word: "nothing".
- His article on Tabasco sauce also used a similar joke - it included a list of things he would suggest one put Tabasco sauce on, which consisted of a single bullet point: "everything".
- Unperson: "So not only is Apple blocking me, but now they're saying I don't even exist?"
- Viewers Are Geniuses: Maddox learned the dangers of this assumption the hard way, along with people insisting "inane" was not a real word.
- Viewers Are Morons: He heavily believes this, specifically playing this viewpoint up in "I am a genius, you are not" and "Wireless internet may very well destroy our chances of contacting intelligent life", wherein he rips apart moronic mail. Also the focus of "Nobody cares if your puns were intended".
- Wall of Text: Played with in his article criticizing BuzzFeed:TL;DR. Fuck you, read it.
- You Will Know What to Do: Parodied by Maddox in his review of The Matrix Revolutions, which he hated. He particularly criticizes the Cryptic Conversations between Neo and the Oracle.Neo: What do I need to do?
Oracle: You KNOW what you need to do.
Neo: Where do I need to go?
Oracle: You KNOW where you need to go.
Neo: Who do I need to see?
Oracle: You KNOW who you need to see.
Neo: What do you want?
Oracle: The same thing you want.
Neo: How will I know I'm making the right choice?
Oracle: You will KNOW...!
- Work Info Title: The title of the page tells you that it's a webpage.
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