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Is a Personal Vendetta Behind 'The Final Edition,' a New York Times Parody Website?

12:50 PM, May 10, 2011 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
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The website The Final Edition has just been unveiled with some fanfare. Ostensibly, it's a parody of the New York Times. Heaven knows there's no shortage of material there. The Atlantic's summation of what's on the site will give you the general flavor:

Self-described "smart jokes" in today's edition include:

A spot-on pastiche of a Thomas Friedman column drawing attention to the fact that Friedman sources most of his "international reporting" on his way to and from the airport.
An almost worn-out but well-written explanation about why the Times' demise is nobody's fault.
A relatable essay addressing the horror of your mom joining Facebook.
A report on Steven Spielberg's latest Holocaust-based Oscar bait.
A perhaps kind of accurate article that were Islam an actual nation, it would be more powerful than the United States.

However, one of the main reasons why the site is getting so much attention is that it's the brain child of Tony Hendra -- a comedian with an impressive resume, notable for his role in This is Spinal Tap and stints at National Lampoon and Spy magazine.

So why was Hendra moved to satirize the Times? Well, perhaps the fact that the fact the Times once ran a lengthy article about Hendra's daughter's accusations that he molested her has something to do with it:

In the new best-selling book ''Father Joe,'' Tony Hendra recounts his 40-year friendship with a wise Benedictine monk whom he credits with salvaging his soul and enabling him to accept God's love. Throughout the book Mr. Hendra, a noted satirist, appears unstinting in his contrition, exhuming his recurrent failings as a husband and father and his wayward indulgences in alcohol and drugs.

''Father Joe'' has been widely praised, the accolades including a lead review in The New York Times Book Review, and critics have lauded Mr. Hendra for his raw honesty in baring his sins and for his lyrical distillation of the pitted road to redemption.

But when Jessica Hendra, his 39-year-old daughter from his first marriage, read the book recently, her reaction was stunned anger. Unmentioned in the narrative, she said, is the far darker story of how her father sexually molested her when she was a child and consistently discounted the devastating effect on her. Her version of her father's past challenges the premise of ''Father Joe'': that Tony Hendra found deliverance through faith and atoning for his failings.

Tony Hendra categorically denies he molested his daugher. After the Times article, Jessica Hendra went on to write a tell-all autobiography.

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