Thursday, December 6, 2012

Royal Phone Hoax Victimizes The Duchess of Cambridge

Did a couple of Australian DJs managed to victimize the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton during her hospital say via a “Royal Phone Hoax” prank call?

By: Ringo Bones

Even though tenured historians are very much reluctant to admit it but so called “prank calls”, or “hoax callers”, had probably been around since everyone started using Alexander Graham Bell’s then newly-invented telephone. And believe-it-or-not, the latest victim of this “phone shenanigan” is no less the currently most beloved British monarch – as in HRH the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton.

During her “routine” hospital check up in the King Edward VII Hospital after a bout of morning sickness due to her pregnancy, the Duchess of Cambridge’s “confidential” medical results were inadvertently leaked by an inexperienced hospital staff who fell victim to a “Royal Phone Hoax” back in Wednesday, December 5, 2012, by someone impersonating to be HRH Queen Elizabeth II no less. The so-called hoaxers were later identified to be DJs from an Australian FM station named Mel and Michael of 2Day FM.

Unfortunately, this resulted in a “royal uproar” given that British laws consider unlawfully snooping on someone’s confidential medical results is considered an invasion of someone’s privacy under existing laws and statutes in the UK. If the House of Winsor ever decides to press charges and pursue the two Australian crank callers to the fullest extent of the law, Mel and Kim of 2Day FM could probably spend some serious jail-time. Although a few years ago, former Republican 2008 U.S. Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin was victimized by French phone hoaxers, who are also DJs of a French FM station, claiming to be the then French president Nicolas Sarkozy. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

The American History of the Bathtub Hoax: The Hoax That Refuses To Drown?

Does the famous American history of the bathtub hoax the one that stubbornly refuses to be drowned in spite of repeated denials? 

By: Ringo Bones

According to hoax scholars, the American history of the bathtub hoax is a textbook example of a practical joke-based hoax. Not only does it qualifies being defined as “a deception for mockery or mischief” but also qualifies as something being deliberately concocted untruth made to masquerade as truth. Originated by H.L. Mencken, this “somewhat believable hoax” refuses to be drowned in spite of repeated denials. Originally published as a news article in the New York Evening Mail on December 28, 1917 under the heading, “A Neglected Anniversary” – it states that the first American bathtub was displayed in 1842 by Adam Thompson of Cincinnati, at a stag party, where the entertainment consisted of trying the bathtub out for an actual dip. 

To Mr. Thompson’s surprise, the article states that physicians denounced the bathtub as a menace to health. The state of Boston prohibited the use of the bathtub except under strict medical advice; various states even imposed installation taxes or special water taxes; and in the state of Philadelphia, a measure forbidding the use of bathtubs from November to May was defeated by a mere two votes. Despite this opposition, it was nigh impossible to legislate the bathtub out of existence. Even President Millard Fillmore installed one in the White House after his inauguration in 1850 and took the first “presidential bath”. 

Of course not a word in that very interesting New York Evening Mail article was true. Nearly ten years, however, H.L. Mencken found it necessary to write: “Pretty soon I began to encounter my preposterous “facts” in the writings of other men. They began to be used by chiropractors and other such quacks as evidence of stupidity of medical men. They began to be cited by medical men as proof of the progress of public hygiene. They got into learned journals. They were alluded to on the floor of Congress… Finally, I began to find them in standard works of reference.”

Even today, the “facts” concocted by H. L. Mencken about the introduction of the bathtub into the United States are still finding their way into innumerable newspaper and magazine articles, speeches by prominent persons, plumbing advertisements, official US government publications and even serious books on social history. The American history of the bathtub hoax refuses to be drowned, indeed.  

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Ossian, Son of Fingal: Romantic Literary Hoax?

Probably only known to hardcore literature buffs in this day and age, did the translation of a 3rd Century Gaelic bard's work to Modern English literally started the European Romantic Movement?

By: Ringo Bones

Literary hoaxes plaguing the European literary scene is by no means a recent 21st Century phenomena like the Axolotl Roadkill debacle. As far back as 1760, a collection of moody prose-poems full of romantic descriptions of wild Highland scenery appeared under the title: "Fragments of Ancient Poetry, collected in the Highlands of Scotland and translated from the Gaelic or Erse Language".

James Macpherson, who claimed to be the translator of these works by a 3rd Century Gaelic bard named Ossian, is known to have been, in fact, the author of the poems. At that time however, a number of critics considered them genuine translations. Of more importance than the "forgery" is the fact the poems created a sensation in Europe and gave impetus to the Romantic Movement. Lord of the Rings trilogy in poetic form?