Stone thy neighbour

Photof*ck Friday

It's Friday, so it must be...Photofuck Friday! Each week, The Dutch engage in an online feast that is becoming increasingly popular and will make the satirical magazine Private Eye green with jealousy.

Every Friday, The Dutch weblog Retecool ('ass cool') picks a topical issue and offers its readers a tool kit to create a photofuck, a collage of various pictures and text balloons, ridiculing fallen politicians and entertainers. The response is usually tremendous with over a hundred contributions in a couple of hours. Some contenders show off their digital artistry with impressive Photoshop renderings.

To avoid capacity overload, users have to store the images on their own server and then link to it. When visitors select the Retecool web page, it pulls in all those images at once (broadband connection recommended).

Retecool is best known for its one-off pranks. Earlier this year the web site wrote a small script that queried the webpage of the Dutch radio station Radio 538 so often it was unable to handle the traffic. This in response to many calls from the deejays to their listeners to refrain from visiting the Retecool.

Most victims who get roasted by Retecool are of Dutch origin, like Martijn Belevander, who was exposed as a mass spammer recently, or former MTV deejay Adam Curry, who is locked in a fight with the tax collector over his chopper.

Occasionally, Retecool addresses international and more general issues, like bumper stickers or the much admired televised briefings by the former Iraqi Minister of Information Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf.

When Gerhard Schroder, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, cancelled his planned vacation in Italy recently after accusations by Italian undersecretary Stefano Stefani that German tourists are drinking too much and taking part in burping contests; Retecool immediately swung into action.

Most Retecool buffs didn't spare the Germans either, given the impressive amount of beer-bellied jokes.

Retecool can't claim exclusivity to Photoshop terrorism. Both b3ta.com and Fark.com host thriving communities of Photoshop satirists, but a swarm of foreign imitators may not be far away. ®

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