YOU DON’T GOTTA BELIEVE

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DON’T believe a word of this:

I used to get paid to be skeptical. As a newspaper editor, I was always asking reporters questions like “Did he really say that?”, “Are you sure these numbers are correct?”, “Why are we doing this? Are people still reading newspapers?” and “Did she really use the bloody fetuses from her self-induced abortions to make her senior art project?” (I’m not making up that last one — a Yale student made that claim and the media ran with it.)

I might be out of a job but I’m still a skeptic. Especially when it comes to videos of amazing feats that people circulate by e-mail. Instinctively, I just assume they’re fake until I can prove otherwise. (Maybe it’s because they arrive the same way I get messages about penis enlargement and my Swiss lottery winnings.)

Just recently, I received these three videos that fooled my family and friends:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Turns out they’re all advertisements, viral marketing schemes (I won’t name the companies or products behind them because that’s what they’d like me to do), and all it takes is a simple Google search to confirm they’re fake. I’m obligated to tell people they’re phony, right? Then why do I feel like I’m pooping on a party when I do, like I’m giving away some magic trick and spoiling the illusion? Everyone in the e-mail chain was enjoying that ball girl’s catch till I called bullshit.

Well, I’m gonna keep on doing it (with snopes.com as an ally), because even though I’m not paid to be a skeptic anymore, it’s still a worthwhile job. And there’s a lot of bullshit online.

Now, of course, just because a video is fake doesn’t mean it isn’t entertaining:

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5 Responses to “YOU DON’T GOTTA BELIEVE”

  1. Christine Says:

    phew! I thought you were going to tell me the “Christian the Lion” video now circulating is a phony and that a second take was needed because Christian actually ate the face off his former owner in the first shot. Perhaps an ad for Siegfried and Roy’s new cologne?

  2. Fake or not. . . .the old lady clubbing the guy’s car is fantastic. .. that one’s been making the rounds online for a while now.

  3. It amazes me how gullible people are. First it was spam of all types (and remember, the Nigerian bank account thing was a fax spam before there was even email). Then people were amazed to discover that photographs could be altered, and now… hmm, is it just possible that VIDEOS could be faked? And on YouTube, the bastion of truth? Most intelligent sensible people know that a magician’s card trick is a trick, even if they don’t know HOW it was done, yet they believe anything, no matter how apparently implausible, if they see it on print or in video, which is ass-backwards (you’d think people would more readily believe something they see in person). What the world needs is more cynicism. I think.

  4. wow! i did like the mobile phones videos!

  5. From one party-pooper to another, I salute you. I think you like the penguin video because you can relate to it – and I don’t mean to the hapless penguin falling face down in the ice.

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