September 12, 2013
What Do You Mean We Can’t Believe Celebrities?
If you can’t trust a late-night TV host, who can you trust? On Monday, Jimmy Kimmel revealed the “Worst Twerk Fail Ever” story, in which a girl who was shaking her stuff, much like Miley Cyrus, falls over and catches fire, was a hoax.
In other words, it was a setup and it wasn’t real.
“To the conspiracy theorists on the Internet who thought the video was fake: You were right. It was fake. We made it up,” Kimmel said as the audience applauded.
USA Today noted that he went on to thank Caitlin Heller (real name: Daphne Avalon), the apparent “victim,” for helping him to “deceive the world and hopefully put an end to twerking forever.”
So, perhaps something good will come of this, namely that it could stop twerking, but at what costs. It could instead spur copycats and other hoaxes.
Typically celebrity hoaxes involve the celebrity in question and are usually that they died. This has become so common that there are sites, such as Hoax-Slayer, that list celebrity hoaxes and usually this involves the words “NOT Dead.”
However, in the Internet age, hoaxes have become akin to practical jokes. Consider that Ashton Kutcher build his “empire” via his MTV Punk’d TV show, or how Betty White’s comeback resulted in the equally painful to watch Off Their Rockers. Somehow practical joke shows are practical business, and these celebrity hoaxes blur the line.
The irony is that sometimes the hoaxer becomes a victim of the hoax. In December, police arrested a juvenile for hoax celebrity calls involving Ashton Kutcher and Justin Bieber. This was far from a laughing matter as he reportedly made prank calls and reported violence in the homes of Justin Bieber and Ashton Kutcher.
So, who’s laughing now?
In the case of Kimmel it is sort of funny, or rather would be were it not made up! Yes there is a lot of competition on late night TV. Apparently Arseno Hall returned to late night TV, and it doesn’t really seem like Jay Leno will go quietly into the night and fade away. Chances are he’ll emerge at Fox or somewhere else. Maybe Conan O’Brien is laughing at that, but who knows.
The point is that there are a lot of TV shows, and people on camera and behind the scenes are fighting for ratings. Everyone wants these things to go viral so now we’re at the point where we need to make it up.
Imagine where this might take us next?
Do we need someone to really set fire to themselves while twerking or whatever the latest fade happens to be? Wasn’t there already a South Park episode about this very thing? That should suggest that Kimmel is actually late to the party on this one.
Now in fairness it could get worse. Anyone remember the unforgettable saga of the “Balloon boy” who reportedly took flight in Colorado back in 2009. The family behind it came up with the idea to pitch a reality TV show about their “wacky adventures.”
As the saying goes, “it is funny until someone gets hurt,” but the fact that Richard Heene (father of the balloon boy) was sentenced to 90 days in jail was downright hilarious. That was no hoax!