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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Web Bids Farewell to 'Best of the Worst'

WASHINGTON -- Alas poor Mirsky, he's called it quits.


After nearly two years, the mysterious man who wants to be known only by his last name has pulled the plug on his one-of-a-kind Web site, the Worst of the Web. His last page was Nov. 1; there were no fresh turkeys for Thanksgiving.


For some time to come, the pages will still be available. But, speaking by phone from his home in Boston, Mirsky said he's sorry he hasn't written a book about his experiences. "I feel bad," he said. "In a short while there's not going to be anything solid as evidence of this site."


Impermanence is one curse of the Web. In this case, more's the pity. In a world gone giddy for the Internet, Mirsky was a voice of reason, of reticence, of resistance. He was a seer among the blind. He called a dog a dog.


From the very beginning, in early 1995, we could tap into Mirsky's Worst of the Web and find links to the Internet's most fatuous and frightening sites, such as:


?The Naked Mile, billed as "the only event of its kind in the world. Hundreds of students -- both men and women -- run naked for about a mile. Where else but Ann Arbor could such an event happen?"


?The Male Genitalia Kit, which "contains easily understood tables and graphs to allow you to determine what percentage of the population has a smaller or larger, thinner or thicker, pointier or curvier ..." Well, you get the idea.


?The UFO Abductee Test. It not only helps you remember that you have been kidnapped by aliens, but offers the Abductee Recovery Package enabling you to "erase the bad effects and perhaps understand why you were chosen to be abducted. Then you can get on with your life.''


Along with his picks, Mirsky provided droll commentary. Of these last two sites, he wrote simply: "It's a relief to finally realize I'm not that curious.''


In the annals of Internet history -- if there is, or will be such a thing -- Mirsky deserves a hallowed place among critics. Another site, Useless Pages, tries to provide the same wry service but the wit is not quite as wicked.


Mirsky was a man with a mission. "There is so much insipid writing about the Web,'' he said. Most reviews of Web pages and products, he said, are "too glowing, not critical enough.'' He said there are too many "cool site'' services.


Mirsky hoped to balance things out.





Getting there: Mirsky's Worst of the Web at http://mirsky.com; Naked Mile at http://ncnatural.com/naked-mile; Male Genitalia Kit at http://www.tiac.net/users/ infomed/orderkit.html; UFO Abductee Test at http://tucson.com/ufotest; Useless Pages at http://www.go2net.com/internet/useless.