We recall a few Monty Python sketches involving chains of nonsense words uttered with the exact prosody of words with actual meaning – along the lines of talking to a dog, who, like a particularly dim checkout cashier, responds to verbal formulæ and tone rather than content. We also recall quite a range of television comedy sketches (so many it is an actual archetype) with dialogue commenting on the purpose of the dialogue or the true action, à la audio description:

– Grimace as he gingerly opens the diaper.

– Predictable flapping of hands as husband makes hay of something I put up with seven times a day.

– Roll eyes at wife, hoping she'll take over.

– Busy with fetching baby wipes, studiously avoiding gaze.

That sort of thing.

Is the same possible for Web sites?

Apparently. The parody of MetaFilter makes us wonder just how much sense a Web site has to make before it becomes “content.” Of course, the trick is that the parody duplicates the actual MetaFilter graphic design, carrying semantic weight and offering further evidence that design and content cannot be separated.

The first reader to apply this same technique and create a NUblog parody receives a free meningitis-addled kiss on the lips. Quick tips: Use words like twee and juggernaut promiscuously and employ the first person plural. Let ’er rip.

Posted on 2001-08-17