Hoax Etiquette

Blog Posts

In the Future, Will Farting Get You 5 to 10?

by
Filed under: Creative Activism, First Amendment Issues, Hoax Etiquette, Legal Issues, Political Challenges

A new article by Joey Skaggs published in Huffington Post:


Jurors on the case against Desiree Fairooz—a protestor who laughed out loud during a Senate hearing on Jeff Sessions’ Attorney General appointment, when Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said Sessions had an “extensive record of treating all Americans equally under the law,” and then demanded to know why she was being physically removed and arrested—apparently felt forced to find her guilty. Some of them said it was not the laughter, although Justice Department attorneys believed that the laughter was enough to justify a criminal charge, but the disruption after the laughter that forced their hands.

protestor arrested for laughing

It’s a slippery slope away from our civil rights when jurors are forced to deliberate on laws that should be challenged rather than enforced. What’s next? If you fart out loud, you get 5 to 10?

And, it looks like laws about public conduct are being used in a discriminatory way. Not everyone is being held to the same standard. Remember South Carolina Representative Joe Wilson, Sr. who yelled, “You lie!” at President Obama in a joint session of Congress? His outburst was considered “disrespectful” and he got off with an apology.

In fact, these days, everyone should be laughing and challenging the obvious hypocrisy and alternative facts presented to us daily by the Trump Administration and members of Congress. Laughter is a great way to help people realize how absurd the situation is when officials lie with impunity. We have short memories. We should think back to the Chicago 7 and how satire and mockery were powerful tools used to sway public opinion in 1968.

We the people should not tolerate this kind of abuse of power. So, let’s, at every opportunity, scoff, mock, satirize and laugh, so that unthinking people might start thinking. The First Amendment does not give you the right to slander someone, and sometimes it’s not effective to disregard civility, but challenges must be made and people have to find ways to speak out. Let’s do it in a more creative way so as not to be sucked up into the legal loop and drained of time and resources.

I’ve been using satire as a weapon of choice since the 60s. And I marvel with wonder at how lucky I’ve been to not be locked up for some of the things I’ve done. There have certainly been enough people rooting for my incarceration.

I suspect this protestor was unaware of the potential legal ramifications of her actions. Not that being aware would (or should) have stopped her. I think she was brave to do what she did. However, had she been aware, or perhaps more thoughtful about her plans, she might have come up with a more creative way to protest given the circumstances. It’s always necessary to ask, “Do my actions have a chance of being effective or will they be alienating and dismissed?” Had she stopped at the laughter, she might have made a greater case in the court of public opinion.

We can’t let false truths become the official record. Lies should be revealed and challenged at every opportunity. It’s the system allowing them to continue unfettered that must be changed.

And… Capitol security should not be run by the airline industry.


Sensitivity Training for Mummers

posted by
Filed under: Hoax Etiquette

Philadelphia requests full spectrum satire…


Mummers seek inclusive tone after insensitive displays
by Errin Haines Whack
Associate Press
December 4, 2016

credit Philly mummers.com

credit Philly mummers.com

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Organizers of the Mummers Parade are hopeful that cultural education efforts will help the city’s annual New Year’s celebration be more respectful and inclusive following a string of racially and ethnically offensive displays.

The initiatives include sensitivity training sessions and online videos that explore issues such as cultural appropriation and privilege, sexual identity and the rules of satire. Mummers’ leaders also published an open letter last week condemning “expressions of hate and bigotry.”

“We want to make this open for more people,” said George Badey, a veteran member of the Fralinger String Band and chairman of Love the Mummers. “The parade needs to evolve and represent the full spectrum of Philadelphians.” Read the rest of this story here.

Joey Skaggs to the NY Daily News, “You Gotta Realize There Are Consequences”

by
Filed under: Hoax Etiquette, How to Pull Off a Prank, Legal Issues, Prank News, Pranksters, What Makes a Good Prank?

Call us snobs, sticklers… call us the Emily Post of prankdom. But releasing a bunch of live crickets in a crowded subway car, as Brooklyn’s Zadia Pugh was recently arrested for doing, isn’t much of a prank. When there is so much groupthink and hypocrisy to expose and so many passersby thirst for wonder and delight, it’s not enough to simply scare and annoy people. That’s a sad and boring way to go viral. People are plenty scared and annoyed as it is.

Legendary prankster Joey Skaggs was asked to comment on Pugh’s stunt and to lend some guidance to cavalier young instigators of her ilk. Irreverence is just the beginning.


“Seasoned prankster Joey Skaggs chides rookie Zadia Pugh for unleashing crickets on packed D train: ‘You gotta realize there are consequences'”
by Graham Rayman
New York Daily News
September 3, 2016

crickets4n-2-webAs a prankster, Zaida Pugh — who terrified straphangers in August when she released live crickets on a packed subway train — is no more than a misguided rookie.

And Joey Skaggs should know.

For the past 40 years, Skaggs, 70, a New Yorker who now lives “somewhere in the south,” has conned the media into reporting fake stories as fact.

His elaborate pranks include creating a brothel for dogs and posing as a man who invented a vitamin pill made of cockroaches which supposedly would make people invulnerable to radiation.

The press bought it.

He got the press to buy that he had windsurfed from Hawaii to California. He created a Celebrity Sperm Bank, and a “Fat Squad,” made up of commandos who supposedly physically restrained people from breaking their diets.

He unrepentantly posed as a priest and pedaled a full-size confessional booth around St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and got on the news for that, too.

Author Andrea Juno once wrote that he “uses the media as a painter uses a canvas.”

crickets4n-4-webSkaggs told the Daily News on Saturday even though Pugh claimed to be making a statement about homelessness, her stunt on the Manhattan Bridge on Aug. 24 was “irresponsible and dangerous.”

“To me, the expose’ is the most important part,” he said. “It’s not the ‘hahaha, I got you.’ It’s the ‘Aha.’ When they realize they have put aside critical thinking.

“The goal is to get people to become more media literate and more skeptical about information that’s given to them by governments and corporations. And you have to be ethical and careful in going about it.” Read more.


Spreading Fear for Profit

posted by
Filed under: Fact or Fiction?, Fraud and Deception, Hoax Etiquette

Fake news sites are using Facebook to spread Ebola panic
by Josh Dzieza
The Verge
October 22, 2014

They call themselves satire sites, but they’re really spreading scary rumors for profit

There’s a scary story bouncing around Facebook, accruing hundreds of thousands of likes: the small town of Purdon, Texas, has been quarantined after a family of five was diagnosed with Ebola. The story is a total hoax, put out by a deeply cynical site called the National Report. But to the 340,000 people who saw it pop up in their news feed, it looked real enough to share.

“We’ve seen stories on satire sites — fake news sites — getting tremendous traction because they feed on people’s fears,” says Craig Silverman, the founder of Emergent.Info. “It’s really becoming an epidemic now.” Silverman launched Emergent with Columbia’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism last month to track the spread of rumors online in real time. Many of the stories he’s seen have been organic rumors, things like the pumpkin spice condom or the 50-foot crab that begin life as jokes, get taken out of context, are written up in news stories, and take off on Facebook before anyone bothers to verify them. But he’s finding that a surprising number, especially when it comes to Ebola, are deliberate attempts to deceive. “I’ve had people emailing me about the Purdon story, very scared, asking if it was true,” says Silverman.

Emergent's chart of the spreading Purdon hoax. Green represents shares linking to the hoax, red represents shares debunking it.

Emergent’s chart of the spreading Purdon hoax. Green represents shares linking to the hoax, red represents shares debunking it.

(more…)

Flappybird Photo Hijack

posted by
Filed under: Fraud and Deception, Hoax Etiquette, Legal Issues

In case you think the risque photos on your Android phone are secure…


Hackers plotted fake Flappy Bird app to steal girls’ photos from Android phones
by Graham Cluley
September 6, 2014

Next time you install an app on your phone, you’d best think twice if it asks permission to access your photos.

As The Guardian reports, following a tweet from security researcher Nik Cubrilovic, the very same hackers who merrily collected naked photos of more than 100 female celebrities, including Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence, had plotted a variety of dirty tricks to increase their haul.

At least one hacker openly posted on the AnonIB image board, proposing what he called a “genious” idea: (more…)

Flash Mobsters

posted by
Filed under: Hoax Etiquette, Practical Jokes and Mischief

For flash mobsters, crowd size a tempting cover
by Eric Tucker and Thomas Watkins
AP
August 9, 2011

The July 4 fireworks display in the Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights was anything but a family affair.

As many as 1,000 teenagers, mobilized through social networking sites, turned out and soon started fighting and disrupting the event.

Thanks to social networks like Twitter and Facebook, more and more so-called flash mobs are materializing across the globe, leaving police scrambling to keep tabs on the spontaneous assemblies.

“They’re gathering with an intent behind it – not just to enjoy the event,” Shaker Heights Police Chief D. Scott Lee said. “All too often, some of the intent is malicious.”

Flash mobs started off in 2003 as peaceful and often humorous acts of public performance, such as mass dance routines or street pillow fights. But in recent years, the term has taken a darker twist as criminals exploit the anonymity of crowds, using social networking to coordinate everything from robberies to fights to general chaos. (more…)

Prankenstein scammers

posted by
Filed under: Fraud and Deception, Hoax Etiquette

What not to do:

brain200.jpg4 Charged in False Brain Surgery Claims
June 2, 2007

New York (AP) — Four people billed a health insurance company for 20 brain operations that were never performed on them, sometimes for the same person on multiple occasions, authorities said.

One 36-year-old man from New York City claimed nine brain surgeries for himself, along with his wife and two sons, receiving reimbursements from New York-based Group Health Incorporated totaling $142,268, federal investigators said Friday. Read the whole story here.

Pass the dressing. Hold the sperm.

posted by
Filed under: High School Pranks, Hoax Etiquette

What not to do!

saladdressing200.jpgSalad Dressing Semen Spawns Trouble
May 24, 2007

Wheaton, Ill. (AP) — A judge has ordered a 17-year-old to pay a $750 fine and perform 120 hours of community service for contaminating salad dressing with semen and returning it to a suburban Chicago high school’s cafeteria.

DuPage County Judge Terence Sheen also placed Marco Castro on two years probation Wednesday and ordered him to write a letter of apology to Wheaton North High School officials. Castro must complete his community service work for an agency that works with AIDS patients. Read the rest of the story here.

The Writing is on the Wall

posted by
Filed under: Hoax Etiquette, What Makes a Good Prank?

from katra.vox.com

From: katra.vox.com

On the other hand… what not to do:

A 13 year old boy was arrested and held without bail on suspicion of making a criminal threat after he allegedly wrote “Shooting Friday” as a prank on a bathroom wall at his school in Vista, California. Read the story here.

Prank You Very Much: The Etiquette of Hoaxing

by
Filed under: Hoax Etiquette, Practical Jokes and Mischief, Why Do a Prank?

Three generations of pranksters: Self portrait of Caroline Weber with Nancy and Rose

In my natal family, the holiest of holidays were April Fools, Valentine’s, Halloween, and the first night of Passover, in that order. To joke was to love was to entertain was to celebrate liberty. My friends were brought up to take praying seriously; my brother and I, to take playing seriously. (more…)

Our Favorite Pranks by KDM and CLM

by
Filed under: Hoax Etiquette, Just for Kids, Practical Jokes and Mischief

laundry.jpg tree.jpg

We take our pranks pretty seriously, so we’ve made up some prank guidelines: (more…)