POP ROCKS AND PRINCE
Who likes Pop Rocks? Anyone who's cool, that's who! When I was a kid, there was a rumor that "Mikey", (the kid from the Life Cereal commercials) had a lethal mixture of Pop Rocks and Coke that caused his stomach to explode. This urban legend became so prevalent that my grandmother kept me from buying them, and for a while, the product was essentially taken off the market. But they've since come back with a vengeance, and Mythbusters even did a segment that proved that no such injury can happen. That being said, if you put Pop Rocks under your eyelids it may cause immense pain, but you'll be able to see God! Try it out!
This sort of thing was a popular theme for Urban Legends in the '70s and '80s. Another more salacious example was that signer Rod Stewart, performed oral sex on a large amount of guys at a party, and guzzled so much cum that he had to go to the hospital to get his stomach pumped. Of course it's a fake story, which was amazingly addressed on a recent Katie Couric interview with Stewart, but I love the idea that there was a medical pro on the scene who felt that that the sperm to blood ratio was reaching dangerous levels and that the "Maggie May" star needed to see a doctor.
These sorts of urban legends still occur, but with today's easily confirmed internet culture, false death rumors and crazy stories don't last more than a few minutes. Back in the day, you could make up a story that a celebrity died, and it was nearly impossible to prove wrong until a radio station or the star's actual publicist stepped in. I recall back in 8th grade, a story of Def Leppard lead singer Joe Elliot dying in a car crash, causing classmate and super-fan Lisa Henry to erupt into tears. How could she know for sure that it was fake?
Morgan Freeman can be announced as dead, then alive again by Morgan himself within a matter of seconds on Twitter.
I love having information so quickly at my disposal, but do miss the times where you could throw a bit of crazy out there without it being disproved so instantly. With Wikipedia and it's ilk, it's so easy for people to become "experts" on just about any subject they want to argue with you on the internet about. Sure, they just looked it up and learned it themselves 5 minutes ago, but they'll pass it off as if they're longtime scholars on the matter.
One can still pass off fake stories as real, however. Recently in Sacramento, Prince was reportedly seen at a restaurant and record store with a local singer. Nothing hard to believe about that, and local Facebook was understandably buzzing with the news. I put in a joke post that I saw him walking out of our grocery store, Corti Brothers. This got passed around to the extent that it was reported in The Sacramento Bee paper and local radio. The manager of the store, no dummy to turn down free publicity, was smart enough not to confirm or deny the store when asked about it. I was thrilled to see such a dumb rumor get picked up in so many ways:
The Sacramento Bee's first "break" of the story:
Here's a local radio station website with the story:
Prince's Own Fan Site
And many many more on this Google Search results page
Not that this was some fantastic story, just believable enough to get passed around, but it was amazing that during all of this, not a single source quoted me, or asked me for more information, even though my Facebook post clearly identified me. They just ran with the story. It's certainly a sign of how bad our gossip culture is. Look at a major tragedy event on the news, and just marvel at how much misinformation gets reported as fact as it unfolds, as the TV is too afraid to miss out on something that "might" be true.
By the way, I heard that that girl from the old '90s Pepsi commercials got a heart attack from putting tampons soaked with Monster Energy Drink in her ass. Pass it around.