This week, fake stuff is bubbling to the surface of the internet, whether it’s fraudulent super-fans, a poseur punk band, or a despicable “national holiday.” (Content warning: The story below concerns sexual assault.)
The internet reacts to a particularly gross, fake holiday
According to alarming TikTok and Twitter rumors, April 24 is being called “National Rape Day.” Supposedly, a group of six men on TikTok posted a video promising sexual assaults when the day arrives and encouraging other men to join their twisted holiday. Some seemed to even believe that rape had been made legal, but only for April 24.
None of it is true, of course. There is no evidence of the video from the “six men,” rape is illegal every day of the year, and “national rape day” isn’t a new lie: Rumors of it have apparently been circulated on the internet since at least 2010. There is no evidence of an increase in sexual assaults connected to the date either.
This week in music: Is this online punk band real or fake?
The internet is abuzz this week with rumors that the band “Tramp Stamps” is an “industry plant,” with hundreds of videos and thousands of comments dunking on Tramp Stamps for being poseurs.
Tramp Stamps’ official story is that singer Marisa Maino, guitarist Caroline Baker, and drummer Paige Blue formed the band after they “got drunk at a bar and wrote a song.” They dye their hair crazy colors, cite Weezer, Paramore, and Blink-182 as influences, and wrote a song with the chorus “I’d rather die than hook up with a straight, white guy.”
If all that seems a little on-the-nose to you, you’re not alone. TikToker @hard_cope, in a video exposing the pro-musician background of the band, summed up the collective outrage thusly: “It’s almost like it’s a bunch of people who were like, theatre majors… are co-opting riot grrrl aesthetics that people literally dedicate their lives to, for money.”
The band responded to the online whirlwind by posting, “F*ck you. You don’t like our music? Don’t listen to it.”
Honestly, I can’t disagree with ‘em. Every band is an “industry plant;” punk gods The Sex Pistols were put together to promote a clothing store. Ultimately, whether the Tramp Stamps are fake, real, or intentionally generating buzz by seeming fake on purpose, it doesn’t matter, as long as they rock. I’ll reserve my judgement on their rock-itude and urge you to check out the video for Tramp Stamps’ “I’d Rather Die” and form your own opinion.
Great hoaxes and urban legends of yesterday
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that young people are dumb because they spread fake rumors. You did it, too.
Back in the day, the urban legends below were repeated like gospel on grade school playgrounds from New York to Portland and everywhere in between, going viral before there was even an internet to go viral on.
- Spider-eggs in Bubble Yum. The idea that Bubble Yum gum was full of spider eggs was so widespread in the 1970s and ‘80s, Bubble Yum’s parent company spent $100,000 on ads in over 50 newspapers to debunk it. Kids get their news on the playground, though, where a fifth grader solemnly telling you about a kid he knew who totally died when the spiders hatched, and, like, suffocated him by spinning webs in his throat, is way more convincing than anything in a newspaper.
- Mikey from the Life cereal commercial died from eating Pop Rocks and Coke. It was common knowledge that the kid in the Life Cereal commercial died when his stomach exploded after he ate Pop Rocks candy and Coke. This made Mikey’s appearance in his famous commercial positively eerie. The thing was on every 10 minutes, and you couldn’t watch it without the chilling image of his stomach exploding and splattering his horrified parents with a mixture of half-digested cola, pop rocks, and guts filling your mind.
- Richard Gere and Rod Stewart’s unique personal lives. If you’re the right age, you know exactly why singer Rod Stewart had to have his stomach pumped and why actor Richard Gere went to the emergency room. And if you don’t, find a fifth grader to spell it out.
This week in fake sports: Lakers fans catfished…for years
Creating a fake persona to trick people is a hobby as old as the internet, but whoever is behind the social media accounts of Lakers super-fan “Vivian Flores” has taken the genre to exciting new levels.
“Flores” has been online since 2009, growing a sizable following by posting pictures of herself, detailing her battle with Leukemia, interacting with Laker Kevin Durant, and posting analysis of Lakers games and news. She even co-hosted a podcast with fellow Lakers fan Josh Toussaint.
Everything was going great for Flores until this week, when Toussaint tweeted that his co-host had suddenly gone missing. Concerned fans spread the word to look for her, the Lakers organization offered assistance, as did actor O’Shea Jackson Jr. and Lakers forward Markieff Morris.
A few hours later, Toussaint reported that his co-host had been found, but the controversy got fans curious about why none of them had ever actually met Flores, even though she reported being at various games. Before long, internet detectives were pulling on threads that unraveled Flores’ entire online sweater. They discovered that her pictures were photoshopped, her voice on the podcast sounds very much like a pitched-up male voice, and someone with very similar pictures and usernames catfished Raiders fans a few years ago.
Flores (or whoever runs the account) at first decided to post through the controversy, tweeting various defenses, and even putting up a short video where she holds a sign with her name on it…but her name is misspelled. Wisely, Flores then deleted her accounts and disappeared.
While some believe Toussaint was behind the hoax, he vehemently denies it, claiming he was just as fooled as everyone else, which leaves the question of why. Why would anyone would devote an entire decade to faking being a Lakers fan? Deep psychological issues? Performance art? Who can say?
Viral video of the week: How long could you survive locked in a grocery store?
When not debunking various food hoaxes and myths, YouTubers The Food Theorists answer deeply ridiculous fan-submitted questions with a seriousness and dedication that the questions absolutely do not deserve. This week, they present a plausible answer to the question “How long could you survive locked in an average supermarket?”
The question is more complicated than it seems at first—even doing the math to figure out how many calories are in the food in a market is difficult, and when you factor in the different half-lives of various consumer goods, spoilage, and how much farming you could do from the soil in the plant department, it gets very complex very quickly. The Food Theorists are better at math than I am, and come up with a reasonable answer. I don’t want to spoil it, but you could probably live in a supermarket for way longer than you think…if you’re willing to make certain sacrifices.