Darwin Awards
Just the FAQs

Are these stories true?
What about the peculiar LOGO?
What is it supposed to activate inside the reader?
What about the Darwin Awards Movie?
Tell me the history of the Darwin Awards.
Who is Wendy Northcutt?
Censorship. What's the deal?
I sent you email. When will I hear back?
Why are Urban Legends here? Legends aren't true!
Where can I buy the Darwin Awards Book?
I don't get it. How is death funny\?
Why can't I print the stories? (defunct)
May I use your stories? Permission questions.

Where can I get a Darwin T-Shirt?
[click here]

 

Where can I get a Darwin Fish?
[click here]

 

Where can I get a Life?
[click here]

Are these stories true?

Yes! Darwin Awards and At-Risk Survivors are known or suspected to be true. Look for the word "Confirmed" under the title. Media references are always cited below the story. Some are suspected to be true because they sound plausible but the source is unverified. Please send legitimate confirmations to Darwin.
No! Urban Legends are definitely not true. They're fake. Bogus. That's why they're called legends! Personal Accounts are true according to the author, but they have not been verified. If the author has included a reference, it is cited at the end of the article.
 

"Confirmed by Darwin" means the story is true. In the old days, this meant it was submitted by multiple people, from several reputable media sources such as news, television, radio magazine. The determination was partly intuitive; successive versions as the investigation progressed, no grammar errors, a subtle implausibility alert, an aura of truth, and so forth. But nowadays, most stories are confirmed immediately by checking the online sources. But then, as now, eyewitnesses do add weight, particularly multiple witnesses.

In short, they are true, to the best of my knowledge! Emails saying  "ain't true" are bootless, unless you have corroboration, like the NMSR Science & Reason Club taking credit for a hoax.

What about the peculiar LOGO?

I made it up, from a funky font, with colors and painstakingly positioned letters. Previous logos were my hand-drawn aniimations. (Later I eschewed all animation.) Seven years later, Book 1 comes along, and I was so excited. Dutton created cover art for the book. At last, a professional logo! When the cover arrived... imagine my horror. Dutton used *my* my logo So. I am not enamoured of the logo. Logo competitions were held over the years, to no avail.

What is it supposed to activate inside the reader?

Under the category of strange questions fans ask:
Dear Markus: For me, it's, "Wow, there but for the Grace of God go I, Wendy," and I recall sub-catastrophic events in my past, and am thankful to still be here! Taking life for granted is a trap. Appreciating life and its short, sweet beauty... that's what activates inside me. Reports are also, "Wow I felt stupid, but compared to them I'm a genius!" And also a sense of justice, poetic justice, for example criminals caught in the perpetration of crime. A sense of karma. "What did you expect, you did evil, then weren't consequences?"

What about the Darwin Awards Movie?

"Did you take part in the making?"
Dear Markus: My project with Finn Taylor, who writes and directs a supremely funny romp into the light side of the Darwin Awards. A romantic comedy, pitting Winona and Fiennes against a quirky entourage, and imminent doom! I watched some filming, read the script (request copy of script), watched the director cuts 3x, and loved it. It will be entertaining to discuss the Rules questions that follow its general release.

Movie Discussion Forum.
Official Movie Website.

Tell me the history of the Darwin Awards.

I created the Darwin Awards community around five stories circulating on the Internet in 1993. Vote, slush pile (

Why did you name it the Darwin Awards?

If God made us, why did he make us so stupid?

Dear Piet, "Intelligent Design" is not a Christian belief. It does not eqate with knowing God is our Creator. It's bullheaded stupidity alone. Designed to draw attention. Please re-analyze your decision. God is our Creator? Personal decision. Intelligent Design? That's plain dumb. Bless, Wendy

Piet is an "old fan [and] also a Christian who believes in Intelligent Design as Christians do, that God is our Creator. I can't help but wonder if you share Christian belief in Intelligent design?" Oct.2006

Who is Wendy Northcutt?

Who is John Galt? Darwin wishes to be described as an internationally renowned raconteur, a svelte brunette who spins eloquent yarns from tragedy. That doesn't make it so, but a girl can dream! My audiences are generally rolling in the aisles with laughter, so come and see for yourself. Or ask your college's events coordinators to invite me. Here's how!

Censorship! What's the deal?

It doesn't happen. Here are two examples: The JFK Jr. plane crash was hashed out in the Philosophy Forum and members in good standing agreed that it just wasn't novel and stupid enough to qualify. Newcomers wanted JFK Jr. nominated because of his public image and the percieved magnitude of his stupidity (grossly exaggerated.) The jumping death of wrestler Owen Hart also disqualified based on its merits, rather than on the heated WWF outcry. He trusted event coordinators to provide a safe working environment.

Censorship almost happened with the Texas Bonfire tragedy in 1999. Mutilation threats, tear-stained pictures of deceased students, anger and woe poured into my mailbox. One particularly vivid writer described using a rusty spoon to scoop out my testicles. Luckily for me I don't have testicles! Ten thousand angry and pleading emails helped convince me to eliminate the event from consideration quickly. But it was the right decision, and Aggie pressure just speeded up the process. The students who were killed had every reason to think the construction was secure, and were innocent bystanders to the tragedy.

Read the Rules.before you decide it was censorship.
Bribery, however, is encouraged <-:.
(So far, to no avail.)

Ironically, emails that plead with me to remove a story often mention the humor of other Awards, and claim to be against censorship. Is it only funny if it happens to someone else? I don't think so. I'll feature my own mother if she pulls a Darwin. How about you?

I sent you email. When will I hear back?

If it's a question of privacy, I try to respond right away. With 2000 emails a week, your compliments, criticisms, and stories take awhile to read. If a story is rejected, you'll usually know in a week or two. If I like your story, it will take longer, but I will contact you when I accept it and right before I publish it.

Want to send me email? Contact Darwin here.

Why are Urban Legends here? Legends aren't true!

They're funny! They're cautionary tales of evolution in action. Urban Legends include inspirational narratives of legendary Darwin Awards contenders. They portray heroes to hold up as powerful figures of martyrdom for the good of the species. Many people write to ask for specific Urban Legends, and these pages includes some of the most popular (though fictitious) Darwin Awards. That's why they're here.

Where can I buy the Darwin Awards Book?

Thanks for the support! The book is coming out in November 2000 in English! Spring 2001 in German! It contains all the stories on the website (except a few duds) and then some. I expain the history of the Darwin Awards, and explore eleven philosophical discussions. Can a clone win a Darwin? What if you're reincarnated? Which came first, the chicken or the egg? A website biography and some Darwin Haiku round out the book. Ordering information will be along later this summer. Watch evolution happen right before your very eyes!

The Darwin Awards: Evolution in Action

Dutton Books North America
Orion Books English Commonwealth
Hoffman & Campe Germany

Can I have it autographed?
Sure! Send it to me.

I don't get it. How is it humorous to joke and laugh at death?
"Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." - Peter Ustinov
It's just one of the mysteries of life. Black humor entertains some of us. There is nothing wrong with either liking or not liking it. My family and friends, we actually laugh at the notion of finding each other featured on these pages. If you want to understand the humor, is to consider an evil person who earns her ill-gotten rewards. For example, the (legendary) absentminded terrorist who sent a letter-bomb with insufficient postage. The package was returned, and the terrorist opened the package, and blew himself up! It starts with poetic justice, and the sensibilities of Fate, Nature herself deciding, "Should I stay or should I go?"

Why can't I print the stories? (defunct)

Happily, you can now print the stories. This question was from the Frameset Years. Javascript inadvertently prevented some pages from printing. An inconvenient but effective workaround: select all the text on the page, (ctrl-a) to select all, (ctrl-c) to copy, (ctrl-v) to paste into a text editor like Notepad. Then print.

May I use your stories? Permission questions.

You can link to The Darwin Awards. I appreciate your recommendation! You can use a story on your personal website, with no advertising. Only one, but you can grab a new one every month. Just add a Copyright notice linked to www.DarwinAwards.com. Use an Artist Graphic or make your own. If you're earning money from your website, it's not ethical to use my Copyrighted material without permission. Ask First. The Darwin Awards are protected by Copyright law.


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