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Truth is having a bad week on the Internet

  • Blog Post by: James Lileks
  • December 3, 2013 - 12:22 PM

A handy reminder: people make things up on the internet. Tip-stiffed because the judgmental patrons disapproved of her “lifestyle”? Well, now we have the catchy and euphonious term “tip hoax probe.” That “Viral” essay about “poverty lessson?” Well, er, hmm. That “epic” twitter exchange between some guy and Pace Picante’s account? Fake. That equally “epic” series of tweets about a loud complaining lady on a Thanksgiving flight? Why, that was performance art. Here’s how the Telegraph put it:

Inadequate young men have a new hero and his name is Elan Gale. He's a TV producer. He has been regaling Twitter with the tale of his Great Victory over A Middle-Aged Woman, and a depressing number of his peers seem to be punching the air and making those "doof doof doof" noises you hear at wrestling matches. You can follow Elan’s triumphalist account of his odyssey in its full glory here, but the potted history is, basically, this: mildly inconvenienced by the presence of a talkative woman in his earshot, Elan threw a teenage girl's hissy fit.

Buzzfeed, which previously said that the guy “won Thanksgiving,” whatever the hell that means, now says the story was made up. HuffPo is on it:

The Huffington Post Canada has reached out to both U.S. Airways and Gale to clarify the matter. Neither have responded to an interview request at the time of publication.

Have Gale's recent admissions changed the way you felt during the fight? Let us know in the comments below.

Hard to believe that U.S. Airways hasn’t gotten back to Huffington Post Canada yet.

JUST SAY NO TO HOBO This would tax the senses of anyone who has a passing interest in good fonts. Alan writes:

I was sitting in traffic the other day and it occurred to me that you need to know that New Mexico issued license plates for government-owned vehicles use the Hobo font. It's surreal.

He’s right. Oy.

He continues:

We have a ridiculous number of valid plates; there's even one with Mistral on it (a personal hate-font of mine.) I haven't seen one with Papyrus yet, but it seems inevitable.

Daughter came home from school the other day and said they’d studied Egypt. Guess what the font was in the book? Of course: Papyrus. Also overused by yoga-class fliers and anything relating to aromatherapy. Here’s Mistral:

It’s not a bad font; for the time, 1953, it was pretty cool - but it was overused in the 80s, which is why the 2011 movie “Drive” used it to get that “Miami Vice” vibe. As much as I hate Hobo, you have to respect its longevity: It goes back to 1910, when it was created by the great American fontographer Morris Benton. If you strip away all your preconceptions, try to forget the bad signs and newsletters, you can see it as it was originally intended: an art-nouveau-inspired font that wouldn’t look out of place on a Mucha ad from Paris. But it’s not only overused today, it’s not particularly Southwestern, so I don’t know what they’re thinking.

MYSTERY Dearcabbie.com's text says:

"I don't know you and you don't know me but we're sharing this time together as we go through life." As such, cab drivers gain a lot of experience learning answers to life's many questions. Call it mind reading, call it a physic ability, call it fortune telling, or call it just being helpful; guiding people on their way just seems to be a part of many cabbie's everyday life. So go ahead; ask the cabbie what you wish!

Why you’d ask a cabbie about your innermost doubts and questions, I can’t imagine. Especially if the cabbie can’t find 35W without TomTom. 

The cabbie:

The text comes from dearcabbie.com,a site that popped up in a google ad box. Someone paid for it. I can’t figure out why. Eventually the cab moves, and that’s rather cool, except for the unmoving mouth and eyeless face and the looping video and the sense that you’ve died and gone to hell.

Is that the case? I typed “Am I in hell? into the “ask the cabbie” field. No answer. Reloaded the page. The lips in the rearview mirror parted slightly. Tried one of the “most frequently asked questions.” Nothing. Maybe you’ll have better luck. Or, if you just want to experience what it’s like to be driven in circles by an enigmatic driver who refuses to answer your repeated demands to be released, give it a shot.

ART HISTORY I’m not saying it’s good, but it is historical: a collection of cassette tape inserts. (Via Coudal.) Things like these rarely get saved; no one pays them any mind. Same thing happened with 45 RPM sleeves. Everything needs someone who’s interested in preserving the commonplace and quotidian, if only to scan it and provide a record of what the ordinary items of everyday life looked like.

Like postcards, for example. Today’s Strib has a story on the Soo Line building’s rebirth as an apartment building. Someone was sent a postcard of the building almost 90 years ago; someone put it in a drawer; someone took it out decades later and it ended up in my hands. This is what they removed from the second floor when the building was renovated in the 60s.

Barbarians!

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