Since we are on the topic of web hoaxes—an Ethics Alarms hot button—I thought it appropriate to mention that one such hoax that effectively tricked me back in 2011—the story about the jilted lover who supposedly tattooed a huge steaming pile of poo on his ex’s back as revenge—apparently came to life for real in Australia.
Christopher William Lord, 23, has been sentenced to a year in prison for inspiring a tattoo artist to trick his “friend” by inking a large tattoo including a penis, testicles and an obscene phrase on the unsuspecting victim’s back, while assuring him that the design the unsuspecting young man had chosen was coming along beautifully. The tattoo artist is serving time for the incident, properly charged as an assault.
Yes, alcohol was involved. As a special nice touch, the man whose back was so defaced is disabled.
The only thing that approaches the obnoxiousness of web hoaxes is the superior sneering of those who, after the hoax, mock anyone so trusting as to believe such “ridiculous” stories. This is hindsight bias at its most annoying, and this is part of the despicable objective of hoaxers. It is their own, warped IQ test, designed to allow them to feel superior to their victims, while amusing others so toxically cynical that they refuse to believe or trust anyone or anything, and deride the rest of us for promoting and encouraging trust the only way possible—by doing it. Web hoaxers and their enablers,in contrast, make life a little bit crummier, nastier and dangerous, because it amuses them.
“If you let them, they will crochet the world the color of goose shit.”
– Jacques Brel.
4 thoughts on “Life Imitates Hoax: The Cruel Back Tattoo Revisited”
Well-worded. I’ve been flummoxed by this attitude for a while now. It’s cynicism taken to an unbelievable level,and purposeful cruelty…and these people think it makes them look intelligent. They ooze superiority. To whom to they look intelligent (or think they do?), and would you want anyone who admires these people for an acquaintance? The irritating comeback of 98% of these charmers is that it’s their freedom of speech. Well, ya, but…
Psst: Jack, spelling.
You mean imAtates? Yeah, don’t know where that came from. None of the spell-checks cover either the tags or the headlines, so the damndest things sneak in. Thanks…I fixed it.
I’ve been burned a couple of times, but the hoaxes themselves just caused me to shrug and shake my head. The first sounded reasonable at the time and on the second it seemed prudent to take an action based on the hoax’s information. It was quick and cost me nothing. What infuriated me was that when I passed it on to a few friends, along with the caveat that I could not speak to the veracity of the claim, one of the recipients “replied to all”, telling me what an idiot I was to believe this claim and to pass it on to others. The next time we physically met was also the last, but I suspect he will remember the encounter for some time.