As harsh as 2009 has been for celebrity deaths, it's been an even harsher year for Internet-based fake celebrity deaths. As of June, the real-to-fake death ratio has approached one-to-two: Michael Jackson's demise not only clogged the Internet for a day, but also sucked down Harrison Ford (missing and believed drowned) and Jeff Goldblum (plummeted off the very same New Zealand cliff that claimed Tom Hanks in 2006 and Tom Cruise in 2008). Just in the last three years, the world has briefly mourned Miley Cyrus (car crash), Matt Damon (plane crash), Paris Hilton (stabbed to death in jail), Natalie Portman (another NZ cliff casualty), and Britney Spears (general debauchery). Last month's imaginary Kayne car crash was the lead story the morning after it didn't happen. Although obit-bots have apparently churned out some celeb deaths on autopilot, the hoax surge has been greatly lubed by the rise of Twitter. During WW2, misinformation's biggest target was troop movements; in the age of Afghanistan, it's snuffed celebs.
|The three on the right: Henry Rollins, Greg Ginn, and Chuck Biscuits, elusive even in Black Flag. Photo by Dave Markey.|