Like the Timex Social Club, I spend a lot of time lamenting the rumors that surround me every day. How do they get started? And where do they get crazy? In Truthmongerer, I’ll try to suss out the kernels of truth in the rumors that are taking up airspace in gossip columns, blogs, and our tips inbox.
THE RUMOR: In the wake of Michael Jackson’s death, Kanye West has been lobbying people, trying to convince them that he should take over the title of “King Of Pop.” (Who are these people? Who knows? Not music critics, ha ha!)
TRUTH THRESHOLD: 0.54%.
LIKELY TRUTHS: Sure, Kanye has a big ego. He even adds singsong verses to others’ songs about that fact. And you can’t deny his Jackson influence.
LIKELY FALSEHOODS: But really? All this fuss over a title that was invented in the first place? Come see how your dubious rumor sausage gets made!
The item about West’s lobbying Jackson’s family actually went up shortly after the pop star’s passing. But it wasn’t until yesterday that it was picked up by Bossip, and the rest of the gossipsphere fell in line. The damning quote:
“You know everyone loves and respects Michael but times change. It’s so sad to see Michael gone but it makes a path for a new King of Pop and I’m willing to take that on. There’s nobody who can match me in sales and in respect so it only makes sense for me to take over Michael’s crown and become the new King,” said West. “First there was Elvis, then there was Michael, now in the 21st century its Kanye’s time to rule. I have nothing but respect for Michael but someone needs to pick up where he left off and there’s nobody better than me to do that. I am the new King of Pop.”
All links to this story lead back to Scrape.TV, which I’d never heard of before today, and which seems to fashion itself as a not-as-succinct-or-witty Onion. To wit, a few other headlines from the site:
“MCDONALD’S CONSIDERS ADDING SOYLENT GREEN TO MENU”
“FRITO-LAY SUED OVER IRREGULARLY SHAPED POTATO CHIPS”
“STUDY FINDS SILVER BULLETS LARGELY INEFFECTIVE AGAINST WEREWOLVES”
“COMEDIANS AT A LOSS WITH PALIN RESIGNATION”
OK, so that last one might be sorta true (although she certainly is providing fodder for the more resourceful funny people out there). But are you really going to believe a story containing this straight-faced discussion of “blood monarchies” in relation to totally made-up titles:
“Monarchies can pass to non-blood relatives but only in very rare circumstances. In the case of musical monarchies it is really just a marketing title and has nothing to do with a ruling class or managing people or organizational structures. There really isn’t a need to declare anyone else the new King because it isn’t a real position but I guess if West wants to claim the title then all power to him,” said Scrape TV Entertainment analyst Tracey Temple. “It is a little soon to claim that title and that may irritate a few people. It’s not like the people will revolt and the kingdom will collapse if someone isn’t right there to pick up the sceptre and continue the rule. I’m sure the Jackson family won’t be too happy with the news.”
–from a site that has this disclaimer at the bottom of every page, “All content herein should be considered rumour or truth based solely on your perspective”? Come on, Internet. At the very least, can’t you wait until Kanye goes all-caps on this story before you get your reblogging knickers in a twist?
[HT: Tommie Sunshine]