The case of the unpopped corn

July 10, 2008, 4:35 PM UTC

A friend sent me a video yesterday that really scared me. It shows a series of clips of people around the world arranging their cell phones around a small handful of unpopped popcorn. After their phones are made to ring in unison, the corns seem to pop as a result of weird vibes, radiation, heat or whatever is apparently emitted by the cellphones.

I saw the video and my first thought was, “I don’t care how stupid it looks on me. I’m getting Bluetooth.”

This subliminal message turns out to be the purpose of the video. Short story: it’s a hoax, a viral attempt to scare people about their cellphones enough to make the mental leap to the hands-free variety. Why an electronic bug up your canal is preferable to a hot cell in your ear is anybody guess. But that was the marketing concept. And it worked, at least on me.

The Web giveth and the Web taketh. YouTube was used as the medium to disseminate this hoax because, like many online venues, it is without filter for the most part and all things on it are essentially of equal value. True or false is nugatory. Is the cat really saying “Oh my my” or is it just yowling? You decide.

At the same time, others cruise the value-free environment busting people. This is quite evident on wikipedia, where a cadre of tight sphincters patrol to weed out any inconsistencies, frivolities or, at this point, fun. And so it is that Gawker came up with the blog that busted our fraudulent popcorn poppers, pooping on their parade.

What does this all lead to? A general headset, when one is cruising the Web, that all belief should be suspended, that everything that seems real just may not be? That time eventually wounds all heels?

Do we emerge with more or less faith in the things we see and hear? I really don’t know. And I’m still getting a Bluetooth.