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An interesting phenomenon that I think should be revealed to the public is the vast number of web sites devoted to the negative portrayal of Bert from the kids' TV show "Sesame Street."

To see for yourself, go to any broad search engine (pretty much anything but Yahoo!) and type in 'bert is evil'. You'll get tons of sites based on the subject, and some are really funny in a sick, twisted way. Most of the them have pictures that place Bert in incriminating circumstances.

I don't know who came up with the idea originally, or if there's any true backing to the idea, but I like it just for the pure irony of the whole thing. I think you will too. Give it a try.

On October 11, 2001, dino, the creator of fractalcow.com and the "Bert is Evil!" website has pulled down his Bert is Evil! website after doctored photos created to mock suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden appearing with Bert appeared on a poster created by Taliban supporters.

dino writes:

I have taken down the "Bert is Evil!"site from my server. I would like to thank Sesame Workshop for their patience and restraint all these years. I implore all fans and mirror site hosts of "Bert is Evil" to stop the spread of this site too.

This is not selling out. I was not bullied. I am not being a pussy.

I am doing this because I feel this has gotten too close to reality and I choose to be responsible enough to stop it right here.

I want to thank all the fans who laughed with me all these years. Thank you to the mirror sites who continued the legacy beyond what I started. Thanks to Victor J. Zuylen, N. Ross Gilbert, Wout Reinders and Jasper Hulshoff Pol who helped me build the site back in the early days. Thank you to Tiffany Schlain and the Webby Awards team for believing in me. Many thanks to the press who have helped me get my site noticed (specifically the now defunct magazines Internet Underground and The Web). Thank you to Lloyd Kaufman and the Tromaville.com staff who brought Fractal Cow back to life.

The Bert is Evil! site was started by Dino Ignacio of a company (probably his own) called Fractal Cow, operating out of San Francisco. He recently abdicated responsibility for the site, which was picked up by the rather misfortunate (to hear his account of things) Dennis Pozniak of Edmonton. You can read about Pozniak's subsequent media harassment at http://plaza.v-wave.com/bert/bert.htm.

One of Canada's two national newspapers, the National Post (unofficial motto: delivering the unreadable to the unspeakable since 1998) printed the following, uncharacteristically humorous editorial on 12 october 2001:

Bert's jihad

Residents of Sesame Street are reeling from news that Bert, a felt-skinned local, has been linked to Osama bin Laden by a Reuters photograph.

Ernie, Bert's longtime roommate and special companion, was quick to dismiss the claim. "Bert 100% opposes terrorist methods," said the squat brown muppet. "But," he added, "Bert also believes the United States must be more even-handed in its Middle East policies to avoid further expressions of rage."

Bert's political beliefs first aroused controversy in 1996, with the broadcast of Sesame Street's now legendary episode 2765 -- referred to by most viewers as "the jihad episode." According to the plot, Bert rouses his neighbours to righteous fury against the Zionist Occupation Government run from Mr. Hooper's grocery store. The fanatical mob then attacks Guy Smiley, host of numerous game shows, denouncing him as an "agent of cultural imperialism." Luis, who works at the Fix-It Store, is savagely beaten, as is his unveiled "girlfriend" -- yet another decadent Western innovation -- Maria. In the chaos that ensues, crypto-Jew Grover and exploitative Saudi-style monarchist "the Count" are put to the sword according to the laws of Sharia. In a hideous conclusion that horrified millions of child viewers, Bert performs the rites personally.

"This show was brought to you by the letters D and N," a blood-crazed Bert declares as the famous theme song plays. "And by the number 7."

It is thought Bert is now hiding in Oscar the Grouch's elaborate network of trash-strewn caves. Sesame Street Defence Forces spokesman Cookie Monster said finding Bert may be difficult and that residents of Sesame Street should expect a long campaign. "Fighting terror no easy," the googly-eyed monster added. "It really, really hard."

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