close your eyes
October 11, 2002 9:46:00 PM CEST


The Buzzcocks Hoax

Many people, especially the older generation, say that the internet is full of rubbish. That it is more about misinformation and rumours than information.

In a way this is true. As anybody can write something on the internet the average quality of pages published on the internet is inferior to articles in classic media like newspapers and magazines which are written by professionals.

On the other hand the upside of the internet is that it is a democratic medium which assembles much more knowledge than all of the old media together.

The biggest advantage of the internet in my point of view is nevertheless the freshness and the interactivity which manifests itself most in the discussions taking place in the newsgroups and forums. Everything written in one of these discussion groups can immediately be questioned by potentially all internet users. There is a self-correcting mechanism at work which usually separates the wheat from the chaff quite soon.

More or less starting from 9-11 I have been relying a lot on Metafilter for up-to-date information. MeFi is an online community or collective weblog with currently 16,549 members. As you have to register to participate it is quite easy to evaluate contributions by other members based on their past contributions.

On Tuesday Metafilter pointed me to an article in The Weekly Standard about a punk rock festival in California. This article was also referenced by the OpinionJournal, a part of the Wall Street Journal family. The author, a certain Larry Miller, wrote about a friend of his named Jack Burditt who went to the festival with his daughter. The relevant bit started with Miller stating to his friend that he had never heard of a band called Buzzcocks and goes on:

... Before we strangled each other, Jack told me the rest of the story.
The lead singer of every band that day had gotten huge cheers in between songs by shouting things like "ANARCHY!" or, "F--- CORPORATIONS!" or just, "S---!" and all fifty thousand kids would scream their approval, whoop, and shove their fists into the air. Typical, I guess. Then, "Buzzcocks" came on, played their first song, and the lead singer stepped forward and shouted this (verbatim from Jack, he wrote it down) into the mike: "F--- GEORGE BUSH! DON'T LISTEN TO HIM. WE HAVE NO BUSINESS BEING IN IRAQ, NO MATTER WHAT HE SAYS." And here comes the good news.
There was a long pause, complete silence. And then they started. The boos. One here, one there. Then everyone. Everyone. Louder and louder. Jack told me how the puzzled singer blinked in surprise, looked at the rest of his band, and then stepped forward again to try to save the moment. "NO, NO, YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND. I SAID F--- GEORGE BUSH. F--- HIM." The boos grew even louder, and then people began shouting back up to the stage, "NO, MAN, F--- YOU!" "YEAH, F--- YOU, A-----E!" More and more, ceaselessly rising, until the shaken band caucused quickly and just blasted into their next song.
It took a while in the Metafilter thread (up to now 76 comments) before people started doubting the story:
I don't trust a man who doesn't know who the Buzzcocks are to tell me what happened at a Buzzcocks concert. Like saying, "I don't know who Mozart is, but people seemed to hate his little Figaro play."
I never remembered the Buzzcocks being at the forefront of political punk in the first place.
After some more posts the inevitable happens. Someone who has been to the concert comments:
Just a wake up call, folks- I was at that show, and this never happened. I don't recall anyone in the Buzzcocks saying a word between songs. They just went one song right into the next. They were one of the best bands that day, so I think I would have noticed.

The strange thing after that post is that the people just continued posting as if nothing had happened but after another comment by a festival goer it became obvious that the story was totally false:

Not only is it made up it's bullshit. It never happened at all cause I was there too. The only thing you might have called controversial at that festival were the fires set in the lawn area after dark, the lead singer of Pennywise encouraging 20,000 people to storm the stage, and the fact Blink 182 was booed thruout their entire set. I suspect the nice daddy who took his TRL daughter and friends to the Inland Invasion were Blink 182 fans. All I know is the last place I'd ever want to be with my dad is a punk rock show. It was hard enough being there with the pre-teen Blink 182 fans.

The Buzzcocks themselves published a reply on their site that it wasn't them and finally Larry Miller corrects his story in The Weekly Standard and claims that it was Blink 182 who had criticised Bush's Iraq war plans and got booed.

So that is why I trust 16,549 people online more than any newspaper or tv station in the world.

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In the future, everybody will be famous for 15 minutes.

I got daypopped on a bad day, no titles, backlinks not working. Who cares?

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