It’s really all fake, in Jamaica: new news for old wives’ tales

I wanted to write something about the trend of fake news that is sweeping many countries. Social media and the spread of Internet access has made sharing information and misinformation as easy as breathing in and out. I am not going to rationalize why some people would want to spread things they know to be false. They’re mischievous at the very least, and downright nasty and malicious at worst. But, there are many things that go on in the world that are plausible, and unless one knows a lot about a lot, then it’s easy to be caught out.

So, I’m not going to town on people who believed the USA was going to ease visa restrictions on Jamaica, when we have a new US administration that is dead set against most forms of immigration. I will not lampoon those who thought the story of Jamaica becoming a part of the USA like Puerto Rico was real. Some of these stories pander to what people hope would happen to ease lives that are perhaps set in a fragile way regard their legality.

Let’s not knock it! Elvis lives!

Just looking around what passes as ‘news’ in this island is baffling enough. I decided to just look at random at some of our daily papers, especially those known for more exotic stories. Look at what I found as the main story in one–the ‘star turn’, one might say.

The Star: Condoms being used to apply make-up – Jamaican beauticians reject new trend. Should I believe the report? Do I care? If I had a stock of condoms, would I be concerned that they may start disappearing as the lady in my life strives for more beauty? In the absence of a major loss of memory, would I start to panic if my supply, stored in a discreet place, started to dwindle? Would I wonder if I had wandered a bit too much? Let’s leave it there, with a look at the lovely image the Star put with the story.

Condemned to ugliness unless you use these to rub away the warts?

When the rubber hits the road…

 

What about last summer’s story that wasn’t, of Elaine Thompson being dated by Prince Harry? That was too silly, especially as the pictures used were always of the two ‘lovers’ side-by-side only in two separate pictures. You never noticed?

Princess Elaine of Banana Ground?

We were so besotted by the thought of our new sprint queen being in line to become Queen of England? Princess Elaine of Banana Ground. Let’s invite the Royal Family for a tea party…’Ganja tea, anyone?’ 🙂

 

Then, we had our own ‘fake food’ story just a few weeks ago, with rice ‘made out of plastic’, which seemed to be a rehash of a well-known hoax, but all of a sudden, Jamaicans were finding reason to believe the island was awash with bendy and stickier-than-normal rice. We banned imports. We tested batches of rice. But, nada. Not a grain of truth? But, maybe people just didn’t know how to cook rice! My suspicions were raised when I heard the lady from Manchester utter that well-known Jamaican word ‘spatula’. Yes, the rice stretched…the imagination…for sure 🙂

People are often unsure about news coming from other countries, that seem plausible. Imagine waking to read headlines like ‘Trump wins!’ After sucking back in the mouthful of cereal that morning, how many thought this was a true story? How many thought it was–surely–a hoax set up by the so-called ‘alt right’? Time to pinch yourself and open your eyes. Surprise! Now, anyone who watched the new US president’s first, impromptu, solo press conference this week–which lasted over an hour–will be rubbing their eyes and asking ‘Is this real?’ It quickly became the stuff of highlight reels. 

“It’s all fake news…The BBC…Quiet!…I’m not ranting and raving…This administration is running like a fine well-tuned machine…”

But, the Chinese, who are often the butt of fake news stories are only one silly story away from being blamed by Donald Trump for the flood of fake news that seems to be sweeping his new administration off its ‘well-oiled-machine-machine’ way.

Jamaica, of all places, though! This is the land where people are making new grief out of old gullibilities, by telling mainly older people in the USA that they have won money in lotteries. How more fake can you get? Well…Our Minister of National Security invoked the spirit of his uncle, whom he claims is an Obeah Man–call that a ‘Witch Doctor’ in standard English–in his fight (or is it ‘fright’) against crime. For real?

Maybe, like The Donald, we should just keep yelling “Your organisation’s terrible…Quiet!…Dont be rude!…You are fake news!”

Heaven help us the next April 1.

The good, the bad, and the ugly (March 23, 2014)–Football Edition

Good

Wayne Rooney? This is your life. He scored a sensational volleyed goal yesterday against West Ham United.

Of course, immediate comparisons will be made with David Beckham’s long distance lob against Crystal Palace.

My vote goes to Rooney, who never controlled the ball, but volleyed it, after a lovely little nudge on his opponent. Becks had the ball at his feet and was under no pressure, waltzing in midfield. “Incredible!” “Astonishing!” That’s what the commentators said. F****** brilliant! Oh, but not on the telly can that be said.

Bad

Arsenal will be seen as English Premier League Champions-pretenders this season for one reason. Against other top four teams they have been given a royal tonking by the other three when paying at their grounds. Yesterday, they suffered 6-0 to Chelsea, but had been roasted 6-3 by Manchester City and 5-1 by Liverpool. That big loss spoiled Arsene Wenger’s 1000 EPL game as their manager.

But, the match was also memorable for a refereeing howler. Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain dived and handled the ball on the goal line, but a bizarre case of mistaken identity meant that his team-mate Kieran Gibbs was sent off instead. Referee Andre Marriner pointed to the spot for a penalty, but sent off Keiran Gibbs, rather than Oxlade-Chamberlain, who could be seen on television vainly telling the official: “Ref, it was me!” Do I really want ‘to go there’ and say, “We know they all look alike?” No, I’ll let Marriner stew on the skewer for a bit first.

Kieran Gibbs
Kieran Gibbs (“I’m not Oxlade-Chamberlain”)
Oxlade-Chamberlain
Oxlade-Chamberlain (“I’m not Gibbs”)

Ugly

Refereeing decisions. I may have to start a petition to see if FIFA will review refereeing decisions in a transparent fashion. But, the no-men of Zürich are not easily persuaded to do things that are sensible for ‘the beautiful game’. They argue that ugly is pretty, in the sense that “mistakes are part of the game”. Well, yes, if you allow them to be and do not use simple means to correct them.

A report from last year, highlighting refereeing incompetence, could easily have been written this past weekend. I’ll keep hammering this topic, hoping that like many a real person, FIFA will feel the sting of shame. But, I wont hold my breath. After all, we’ve got the murky World Cup bidding process to occupy them. What is it about organizations based in Switzerland that makes me feel a bit queasy when thinking that transparency is not high on the agenda?

"What, me? No way, ref!" Gibbs gets the mistaken identity card and an early bath
“What, me? No way, ref!” Gibbs gets the mistaken identity card and an early bath