March 15, 2011

Sheep Fodder

I'd been vacillating over an appropriate ARG platform for my current setting for ages, but it looks like a possible answer had been staring me in the face all along.
BBC FLASHNEWS: japan govt cnfrms radiation leak at fukushima nuclear plants. Asian countries should take necessary precautions. Remain indoors first24hrs. Close doors n windows. Swab neck skin with betadine where thyroid area is, radiation hits thyroid first. Take extra precaution, radiationmay hit phil at starting 4pm 2day. Pls.send to those whom you care.
It was awfully thoughtful of them to clearly spell out "radiation" whilst grossly messing up everything el-- focus, girl, focus.

It should have occurred to me long ago that perhaps the art of the chain SMS message hoax deserved closer scrutiny of some sort. Both the evening news and the paper today confirmed that this was all a pile of fear-mongering bull plop, but I already had my suspicions the moment the message advocated applying antiseptic to protect your thyroid despite the fact that (to my knowledge) a topical application really can't do much for a gland that's inside your body, but I digress.

Not since Pablo Banila had I expressed such a surprising modicum of admiration for a juvenile electronic prank that proved virulent enough to put the Philippine public's collective panties in a bunch. Of course there's nothing funny about sowing such immature chaos in the wake of a genuinely awful natural catastrophe, but you still can't help but wonder what sort of person would watch the aftermath of an earthquake/tsunami on the news and think "Hey! I've got a great idea for a message we can forward to people!"

Add the fact that messages like these are typically nigh-on untraceable, and... let's just say the power perversion potential in a cellphone-crazy country like ours can be frighteningly great.

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