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25 June 2005

Misinformation. I was reading a book called Cider With Roadies by music journalist Stuart Maconie. In it he admits to writing a false story that dapper and mild mannered TV host Bob Holness played the sax solo on Gerry Rafferty's Baker Street. This story clearly captured peoples imagination as it still gets repeated as fact to this day. Have you ever spread misinformation for giggles? Have you lied to someone to make them look stupid? I once told David Bowie he'd look really cool doing a Nazi salute, and now the rest is history...
Freshman year of high school two friends of mine, purely for shits and giggles, started a rumor that another classmate played Kimmy Gibbler's little brother on Full House. They about peed their pants when the rumor was still going around senior year. The subject of the rumor was a good sport about it all. In all honesty, he did bear a resemblance to his fictional older sister.
posted by frecklefaerie 25 June | 05:20
When you work in IT Support every now and then some hopeless trainee joins the department and you start to question your own sanity. Through the wonders of nepotism a guy called Jimmy joined our department. He knew nothing about computers, he could barely switch one on without someone holding his hand, but his dad thought he could make big bucks if we trained him up. Except this asshole was untrainable, he had the memory of a goldfish with alzheimers and seemed incapable of doing anything on his own. So there you go, the definition of dead wood.

Anyway we used to make all kinds of shit up for this guy.

One day we had a bunch of computers that wouldn't boot up. My colleague told Jimmy that the hard drives were manufactured by a company called Towers, were faulty and the PCs would need to be returned - would he be a good chap and stick a "Faulty Towers" label on each of the PCs and then send them back. That stack of twenty PCs sat there for days and everyone who saw them cracked up - and yet poor Jimmy was, as always, completely oblivious.
posted by dodgygeezer 25 June | 05:32
Oh yeah, I also managed to convince a guy once that the Manic Street Preachers song Slash & Burn was about VD.
posted by dodgygeezer 25 June | 05:34
After shaving my head and dressing down, I managed to fool the Manhattan-area members of MeFi into thinking I wasn't mathowie.
posted by Smart Dalek 25 June | 06:04
frecklefaerie's story reminded me of the only time I've ever actively spread disinformation that I can recall. Normally, I'm almost compulsively honest.

In high school, some friends and I messed around in a spooky old abandoned small church in the country. My best friend and I were flirting with a couple of attractive and popular girls and we claimed that satanists used the church for rituals. This turned into a grand scheme where we spread rumors around the school for three weeks, left "satanic" items and symbols in the church for others to find, and the girls agreed to let us take them to the church one night. We prepared a lot that day and had about four other people there waiting. One guy appeared to be hanging from a noose in a back room, he was supposed to come alive and chase us.

So, anyway, we take these girls out there and we walk no more than four steps into the church when one of our friends, who was told to wait until we were much farther inside, jumps out at us. Of course we immediately turn around and run back to the car. All the preparations in the church were for nothing...
posted by kmellis 25 June | 09:28
...And then my friend pretended that he couldn't get the car started. The girls were screaming, I was yelling at Marvin to get the car started, and these guys with masks and guns and stuff were surrounding the car and trying to get in. I don't know how far we thought we'd take it, but that same friend who jumped the gun earlier got a little carried away and jumped on the hood and the car and started slamming the butt of his rifle into the windshield as if trying to break it and get in. My best friend, Marvin, was so pissed that he completely dropped out of character and got out of the car and yelled at Danny to get down off his car right now.

The girls were sort of mad at us and, for some strange reason, our hopes that the adventure would have romantic rewards were quickly dispelled.

I had this idea because during my freshman year myself and a date were the targets of an eleborate hoax in some woods nearby that involved at least ten other people in robes, masks, a burning cross, etc.

The stuff that my friends and I did that year (my junior year, I believe) in those woods and the church created a whole folklore about satanists and evil things suppsedly occuring in those woods and that abandoned church that persisted, as far as I know, for many years to come.
posted by kmellis 25 June | 09:28
In college there was a guy that claimed to already know anything you talked about. He'd interrupt as you were finishing with something along the lines of "yeah, I knew that." I used to drop in little factual lies when talking to him just to amuse myself.

When the band UB40 were coming to town I told him that it's pronounced "You before tee" (emphasis on "before") - which is a play on what I said was the old expression "You can't put U before T". I heard him pronounce it that way on the college radio station and once even tell my false origins on the air. I also found out that he got into a heated argument with another friend who correctly said the band's name comes from the British unemployment form number. He claimed that a member of the band told him the true origin of the name.
posted by Slack-a-gogo 25 June | 13:08
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