Back in June 2015, we posted this story about a photo of a raccoon riding an alligator. I’ll admit, I thought it could be possible. There were plenty of authentic photographs of animals hitching rides on other unlikely animals. (I really doubted the weasel on a woodpecker, but it was REAL.)
A woman has admitted that she hoaxed this raccoon photo as “art”. The Washington Post has the story:
The story of Zardulu begins like this: The anonymous artist, who closely guards her identity, once worked in secret, staging scenes such as the raccoon and the alligator, never revealing to the world what she had done. She refers to her creations as “myths,” their purpose is to be “pearls of merriment for the world to enjoy.”
She was reluctant then to reveal any of the secrets of her work, asking the Gothamist reporter, “Why wake the world from a beautiful dream when the waking world is all so drab?”
Zardulu now feels a little differently. She believes that Zardulism “will be more effective, and will last longer, and will inspire greater participation in others, if occasionally the veil is lifted.”
Unanswered questions remain about her hoaxes. Raccoon alligator had help from someone who believed it was real. The pizza rat filmer says it wasn’t staged.
She says she doesn’t want to mislead people, though she calls her work “myth creation”.
Hmm. My take is a bit harsher. I see these hoaxes on the spectrum silly prank to politically motivated fake news. The fact is, our media system of news and information is already poisoned and rickety. We have so much bullshit asshattery and hoaxing going on in the world today that affects peoples’ lives – their feelings towards their government, their opinions on policy and law, their choice of medical treatment, what kind of food they buy, and how they vote. Hoaxing is not generally funny, it makes people feel foolish and angry. They also do not necessarily learn from being conned because they often lack the foundation and skills to think critically about anything. Call me a sourpuss (or worse, if it makes you feel superior), but after years of this seeing this stuff that makes people even more distrustful of the media and each other, I guess it has blackened my soul. This artist is in no sense “brightening the world” by faking charming scenes people like or making people scared of environmental harm (the mutant catfish). By presenting lies as not untrue, she reveals that people are dark and perverse and what may seem adorable and special is really manufactured and ugly.