Bad comic timing

Bad comic timing

: Bad taste meets bad taste.

Earlier today, I wrote that Bill Maher started his show with a “joke” about a Ronco necklace for Americans going to Iraq: a big, steel ring to prevent beheadings. And this morning, there were reports that another American has been beheaded by the slime over there. The reputed victim, it seems, was a San Franciscan who’s running for the Board of Supervisors there. Here’s his site.

: Now it turns out that beheading is a hoax: The “victim” videotaped his own execution to draw attention to his campaign.

Vanderford said he understood if relatives of those killed in Iraq thought his stunt was misguided, but he offered no apologies for the hoax.

“I see how it could be considered disrespectful. But I think people, if they look at it, will understand two other big issues it brings up,” he said. “A small group of disgruntled people in Iraq or Saudi Arabia could just get more attention just by easily releasing something like I did on the Internet.”

What an incredible asshole. And I suppose in World War II, he’d stage his own gassing just to say Holocaust deniers could have a point if they had a point.

Guys, it’s not funny. These are gruesome, brutal, horrid murders, not punchlines.

: My commenters — thank you, guys — reported this was a hoax while I was out on a jaunt to the orthodonist’s (not for my teeth, by the way). There was also discussion about my linking to what turned out to be a hoax. I explain in the comments that when I linked to this story this morning, I said there “were reports of” this beheading. That’s the way such things are handled in the news business; rather than saying there was a beheading, you say there were reports of a beheading because that’s all you know for sure — the reports — and that’s also a way to indicate that you’re not sure the reports are true. That’s the accepted way to handle such things. Now perhaps that’s not good enough. Perhaps as a blogger, I should/could have added a caveat listing the things that could raise suspicion about the reports (e.g., there was no evidence that this guy was in Iraq or was missing and he was running for office in San Francisco… which is usually certification for looniness). But that would have been pure conjecture as well and if the reports had turned out to be true — which was quite possible — I would have come off as an ass. Bottom line: The commenters continued the conversation that is news and alerted the readers here to the fact that this was a hoax and I’m grateful; that’s the way our new medium works.