Contestants making progress in race for Imsori Foundation's Xed-out Prize
Multiple organizations are racing to be the first to return the Earth's population to the Dark Ages for a second time. We rate the teams' chances.

By Igor Amos

True Dork Times Global Subintelligence Editor

X-ed out prizeWASHINGTON, D.C. (TDT) In a sparsely-covered press conference, Imsori Foundation President Theodore Kaczynski, Ph.D., yesterday lauded the progress of the top five teams competing for the group's prestigious Xed-Out Prize. Kaczynski feels one of the teams (listed below) will likely be the first to complete the Imsori Foundation's mission of returning the Earth to the Dark Ages for a second time.

Kaczysnki appeared especially taken with the efforts of Team Fatwa, largely composed of Islamic extremists. "They've been making quite a bang recently," Kaczynski chuckled, and pointed to the resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan and the prospect of a "democratically elected" Shia-controlled nation of Iraq as particular strengths in the Fatwa team's efforts.

But he refused to count out a feisty American contingent, Team Rapture, who appear to be Fatwa's strongest competitors. "They're just as dedicated, and they've been making huge inroads into both the American media and the U.S. government. Especially the courts." But outside observers note residual hostility to the group's goals within the country's citizenry, and feel this handicaps their likelihood of success. They also appear to lack a substantial international presence, which may hamper their chances, especially against fellow competitors with an American foothold, such as Team Indulgences-R-Us and Team We Own the World.

Ranked far down in the competition by experts, and by Kaczynski, was the heavy underdog Team Terra! Terra! Terra!, headed by frequent media-seeker Ralph Nader. In response to assertions that his loosely-knit collective of special interest groups appeared to lack the cohesion necessary to turn back a millenium of technological progress, Nader was adamant that his group would be competitive.

"Hey, we hate physics, engineering, biology, and logical thought just as much as those other guys!" Nader alleged. "I mean, come on, what have computers done for us lately? And we're pretty sure GM food, nanotechnology, and possibly stem cells are all going to destroy the planet. Maybe we don't understand any of these topics in any meaningful way, but as long as we can convince impressionable high school and college students that celebrities think these things are bad, we're halfway there."

So without further ado, we present you with the leading contenders for the Imsori Xed-Out Prize. Should one of them actually succeed, you probably won't be able to read this (unless you printed it out ahead of time). But by then, you probably won't care. So, pull up a roughly-hewn log or stump, and Celebrate the New Dark Age with us!

Xed-Out Prize Leaderboard
Team, Leader
Bio Strengths Weaknesses Overall Score
Team Fatwa
Khamenei
Leader: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Affiliation: Islamic fundamentalists.
Favorite historical period:
Reign of Saladin.
- Pissed off about pretty much every social advance since the 1500s.
- Hate women, Western philosophy, music, Garfield.
- Handy with bombs.
- Didn't come out too well during first Dark Ages.
- Not exactly the stealthiest team.
Current progress
  70%
Overall chances
  50%
Team Rapture
dobson
Leader: James Dobson.
Affiliation: Evangelical Christian conservatives.
Favorite historical period:
The Great Flood, Crusades, Tammany Hall.
- Watch out sodomites, feminists, evolutionists and liberals, lest we smite thee!
- Currently controlling U.S. government. Or at least they think they are.
- Actual Dark Ages might cut into talk radio hosts' and televangelists' profits.
- Low morale: some team members hoping to get Taken Away before contest ends.
Current progress
  45%
Overall chances
  40%
Team Indulgences-R-Us
Pope
Leader: Pope Benedict XVI.
Affiliation: Holy Roman Catholic Church.
Favorite historical period:
Spanish Inquisition, original Dark Ages.
- None too fond of stem cells.
- Starting to think evolution is not such a good idea, either.
- Repent, it's Harry Potter!
- Massive global reach.
- Shockingly forward-thinking positions on war, poverty and capital punishment unlikely to score many points with the judges. Current progress
  25%
Overall chances
  20%
Team We Own the World
Ken Lay
Leader: Former Enron CEO Ken Lay
Affiliation: Multi-national corporations.
Favorite historical period:
Feudal Europe, Gilded Age.
- They have all (or most) of the money. And it can be spent as they see fit.
- Thanks to military outsourcing, also (can) have the weapons.
- Seem to enjoy various technology-based toys, not to mention impotence and baldness cures. Are they really committed to the cause of regress? Current progress
  20%
Overall chances
  40%
Team Terra! Terra! Terra!
Nader
Leader: Ralph Nader
Affiliation(s): PETA, Greenpeace, eco extremist groups.
Favorite historical period:
Agrarian Mesopotamia.
- Oppose pretty much all advances in biological sciences, nuclear power.
- With a good fairy tale, could be talked into hating many other forms of tech.
- Followers may not be aware they're in the competition.
- Could easily become confused and directionless if celebrities were rounded up and imprisoned.
Current progress
  10%
Overall chances
  5%
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