turns out the "star" of the phoney beheading video is none other than the avant garde hip-hop artist the great white hype. i first heard about gwh years ago on rec.music.industrial... his first release was a hip-hop parody of coil's scatology, & future releases also dabbled in industrial parody and sampling. but i'd never heard any of his work until recently, when i ended up discussing gwh with connie (living in the bay area [where gwh is from], she had also heard of him but never heard his work. so i tracked it down on slsk and some of it is pretty interesting... at times very lo-fi with clumsily improvised lyrics (and i am an expert on clumsily improvised lyrics), so i can see why some people on rmi & the coil list couldn't appreciate it.
so recently i've been downloading all this gwh stuff (which took forever to find) & suddenly he is all over the national news for this media jam. his label's site (linked above) links to this article in the sf chronicle:
The faked beheading story broadcast on two Arab language television stations and sent out on international news services early Saturday was based on a grainy video that was made by three Bay Area residents as an experiment to find out how quickly erroneous information could be spread by the Internet.
The experiment had a delayed reaction, but when it came, it did so more dramatically than the people who made the video ever dreamed.
sadly, none of the media coverage mentions "the great white hype" by that name... they use his "given name": benjamin vanderford. the chronicle mentions that he is a "musician and video game designer" but that's about it.
gwh/vanderford even appeared on fox news. you can watch a video clip of it online: the host displays the typical fox news arrogant attitude by totally missing the point when gwh tries to explain why they made the hoax video.
gwh's point is pretty clear: to demonstrate that the media needs to be more suspicious before propogating unverified misinformation. the vanderford doesn't even show a severed head, only a blade held up against his neck, AP and reuters picked up the story as true, without bothering to check up on it, or acknowledging that they hadn't.
okay, it's bedtime now... tomorrow the mms begins. don't forget: i'll be playing an mms show saturday night at united states of mind, & i'll also be spending a fair amount of my weekend at the summit, so i'm not sure when i'll get to write "sf part ii" but it will happen.