Location: United Kingdom

A Naija Guy living (and loving) in the UK.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Hoaxes, Satire and Confidence Tricks

In October 1938, a young and at that point relatively unknown theatre director Orson Welles deceived a nation into thinking that Martians were invading the United States. Whether this was something he did intentionally or not we will never know as in the subsequent furore he did conflicting news interviews relating to his original intentions. The radio play was "The War of the Worlds" a H. G. Wells novel that has recently been made into a film by Steven Spielburg featuring Tom Cruise. The show was presented as a series of news bulletins in a style which perpetuated the resultant confusion. In the climate of fear of the late 1930s in the lead up to the Second world war many listeners were taken in and in the hours following the broadcast there was confusion and panic in parts of the USA particularly the New York area.

I was listening to the radio last night and was fortunate to tune into Down the Line on BBC Radio between 11 and 11:30pm. The show was presented as a real life talk radio, with listeners able to call in to discuss the issues the host raised at the beginning of the show. As the show wore on it became clear to me that something funny was going on. The discussion was about equality and it touched on the issues of female drinking to excess and their ability to give consent when drunk. It finally dawned on me that the whole show was probably a wind up when Felix Dexter (formerly of the Real McCoy) came on in his Nigerian alter ego and asked for all women to be locked up indoors by their spouses. While the host dealt with him as an insane caller the spell was finally broken. Looking at the message board for the show there were loads of people who had similarly been initially taken in and thus felt the need to write in to complain about this act of deception by the BBC. Bill and Grace wrote in to say "This is just dreadful! I have signed up to the message board just to express my consternation. It was clear within two minutes of listening to this new programme that it is a spoof - (not sure of what). It is just very very boring. Have googled it, and it seems the BBC press department have promoted it as real live phone in - which it is absolutely not. I am flabbergasted at its awfulness! What ARE they trying to achieve? Sorry - I'll shut up now. But it really is bad."

Anyway this leads me to Osuofia's "I go chop your Dollar" that I commented about a few days ago. After putting up the article I got a response from Kunle stating the video was part of the publicity for a film called "The Master". This caused me to see if I could find out more information about it and have since realised that the video is an attempt at spoofing the issue of Confidence fraud. Since I came across the piece out of context, I think I should be excused for not realising that its a spoof that was done as part of the promotion for a film . However I suppose a simple google search for "I go chop your dollar would have lead me here. So I apologise, I obviously need to do more research in the future before I form and publish certain opinions. I think my zeal to ensure that Nigeria is promoted in a positive light by Nigerians caused me to lash out. Yes, our beloved country has problems that still need sorting out but if all we do to continue to focus all the negatives - and they are aplenty - then it will become increasingly difficult to attract external investment. Oh and by the way I find I'm not the only one who misinterpreted the video's intentions. See an article from the Chicage Tribune here.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought the video was very funny.

12:58 pm, June 20, 2006  
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