Blog. Steps In to Debunk a Panopticist Creation

June 14, 2005

This is hilarious: The fake Parents magazine cover I created for Panopticist a couple of months ago has propagated itself all over the web, and now it’s earned its own page on, the excellent website that debunks or confirms urban legends. The cover’s distribution gained significant momentum last week when one of the friendly guys at Boing Boing posted it without realizing it was a joke (and without knowing where it came from). He quickly posted a clarification, but the ball was already rolling: The cover has been pulled out of context and posted in all sorts of places (32,615 hits on!), almost always by people who had no idea where it came from. Lots of people have thought the cover is real, so Snopes stepped in to debunk it.

In the post where I originally published the cover, I didn’t pretend it was real. I just meant for it to be an amusing (if juvenile) riff on a growing trend in magazine-cover design. So it’s bizarre to see the cover get taken out of context, and to watch credulous people actually wonder if it’s real.

A totally inadvertent hoax! Huzzah!