It’s a fake dinosaur, please stop tweeting

Old hoaxes never die, they just fade away and resurface a year later. Last July, there was a Facebook kerfuffle about how stupid people could be. Due to a joke tweet showing a picture of Steven Spielberg during the filming of Jurassic Park posing with a dinosaur (umm, an animatronic one) with a satirical caption, many people (myself included) wondered if people were really that gullible to think dinosaurs were still alive and being hunted.

Well it’s come back around again with the opening of Jurassic World this weekend. Now, it appears that fiction author Joyce Carol Oates has stepped on a flaming pile of fake dino poo.

A photograph of the director with an animatronic dinosaur, posted online as a joke, prompted some choice comments from Oates. The internet is bamboozled.

Source: Joyce Carol Oates and that picture of Steven Spielberg with a ‘dead’ dinosaur

Oates’ latest gaffe – if indeed it was a gaffe, on which more later – is less controversial, but significantly funnier. After Twitter user Chris Tilly posted, as a joke, the image of Steven Spielberg sitting next to the body of a triceratops which went viral last year, writing “This guy thinks it’s cool to kill defenceless animals then take a selfie. Jerk”, Oates took up the anti-hunter baton.


Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 2.21.05 PM

Salon covers it.

There are only three possibilities. I will list them here, as well as their likelihood:

Oates was making a joke (5 percent chance)
Oates didn’t click on the photo and thought it was a picture of a slaughtered elephant (80 percent chance)
Oates thinks a triceratops was murdered (15 percent chance)

Oates has been told in no uncertain terms that her twitter feed is awful and should be deleted since it’s embarrassingly annoying and sometimes racist. So, there is a very good chance this was NOT a joke. She seems to say absurd things. She has since removed the post, reducing the chance that it was a joke to below 5%. I’d say she mistakenly assumed it was a rhino (not an elephant as the Salon writer contends) since poaching of rhinos is widely covered in the press.

I still contend, as I did in the older post, that is perfectly conceivable that a good chunk of humanity online does not know that is a dinosaur, or that dinos are long extinct. People don’t know much about nature, generally. They continue to fall for really ridiculous things on social media on a daily basis. And, the more shockingly nuts it is, the more often its shared. Critical thinking is really lacking in society, but maybe this was just a case of not paying close enough attention and not being as familiar with something as you should be before commenting.

This is a good time to mention: So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed.

  6 comments for “It’s a fake dinosaur, please stop tweeting

  1. June 10, 2015 at 2:55 PM

    It’s got to be option # 2 (she didn’t click on the photo). I don’t really know this author or her work, but a quick Wikipedia check lists so many accolades for her, over a long writing career, that I find it difficult to believe it was option # 3.

    What I am waiting for is for someone to jump in and say this is proof that dinosaurs are alive and well in Brazil or New Guinea or Poughkeepsie or….

  2. Ronald H. Pine
    June 10, 2015 at 3:00 PM

    I’d be more inclined to think that she mistook it for a rhinoceros than for an elephant.

  3. June 10, 2015 at 4:49 PM

    Actually, my wife suggested a fourth possibility– that JCO was slap-happy drunk. That might actually explain a lot….

  4. Mark Riegel
    June 10, 2015 at 7:16 PM

    I’d really prefer to think that Ms. Oates was attempting to exercise her dry wit and failed to remember that nearly no one on line has a subtle sense of humor.

    And yeah, she was probably a little drunk.

  5. Christine Rose
    June 11, 2015 at 9:22 AM

    How about she read her twitter feed on a phone and her eyesight’s not that great? And she can be drunk as well, why not?

  6. André
    June 14, 2015 at 6:19 PM

    Actually, she was joking. The lady’s not dumb, but a rather intelligent and very good writer in my opinion. There’s a piece about it on Huffington Post where she’s quoted about this and saying that people are not getting her jokes.

Comments are closed.