Thursday, 27 March 2008

Mad World

As I said yesterday, it isn't April 1st until next week. The Museum of Hoaxes is preparing for this annual clickathon by shifting most of its images onto another site. Otherwise they might well crash, as the mildly perplexed check up to see which of the morning's stories are true and which a wind up.

And it might be kind of hard to tell. This week has seem some credulity-stretching incidents, from the pregnant man (well, pre-op George Michael lookalike, but the law sez he's a he) to the supermarket thief who hypnotises checkout girls. Yesterday I brought you the German man who called the police to rid his flat of a mouse (they failed). Today, in another mammal-and-cops related incident, the Telegraph reports a court case from New Zealand. A 48 year old man was found guilty of wasting police time after he (take a deep breath) complained that he had been raped by a wombat, an incident which left him with an Australian accent. He made the whole thing up, of course: as everyone knows, wombats don't actually live in New Zealand.

Even big news stories this week have a large dash of the surreal. Thus we find France's oddly ludicrous president arriving in England just as a nude photo of his wife goes on sale in New York. Not a very good one, either, just going to prove that some women look better with their clothes on. The American election looks increasingly farcical, with Hillary Clinton's easily-debunked claims about having dodged Bosnian bullets just the latest inexplicable own goal. Meanwhile Britney Spears seems to be behaving like a normal human being for a change. Strange times indeed.

What are these weird stories doing, and why are they appearing now? I think it may be the press getting the silly season in early, while they still can. Odd believe-it-or-not news items typically dominate the summer months when no much else is going on, but that cannot be the case now. After all, Iraq, which has once again made it onto the radar screen of the west's restless consciousness, is in the midst of a renewed civil war. Afghanistan is an ongoing disaster. The financial gloom continues to deepen. We are looking, I suspect, at an approaching tsunami. Before the wave hits, water sucks from the beach, leaving behind the random detritus normally obscured by the shallows. There's just time to gawp before everything, and everyone, gets swept away.

1 comment:

silas said...

The tsunami image is a splendidly conceived one. Let's hope that after the storm, the calm returns and some green shoots of recovery are soon visible. Rather than the entire country just sinking under the water.