On Bubble Boy Hoaxes And Not-Bubble-Boy Not-Hoaxes

October 6, 2011
  • On Bubble Boy Hoaxes And Not-Bubble-Boy Not-Hoaxes

November 2009 seems like such a long time ago. I was blogging about 8oz. Burger Bar and how I tried 100 new foods that year, Spring Awakening, John Terlazzo, and online poker. Oh yeah, and there was that time I almost choked to death on a kernel of popcorn while watching The Men Who Stare At Goats. Many of you probably disregarded that post as a typical Swan Fungus antic after I wrote a prank post about how I almost died via dislodged hubcap four months earlier.

Speaking of “pranks,” November of 2009 was the month I purportedly pulled a fast one on WFMU’s Beware Of The Blog by sharing a mysterious CDr I found in the middle of the desert. Filled with cryptic messages, weird experimental music and a crude treasure map, apparently the entire Internet (Boing Boing, MetaFilter, Reddit, etc.) concluded my post was no more than an a hoax and a poor attempt at self-promotion. If all the messageboards and all the news aggregators are to be believed, I’m a professional musician who was out to sell copies of his album by manufacturing a viral marketing campaign to raise awareness about my music. That seems logical, right? Because I’m constantly blogging about all the music I make and I’m shamelessly trying to make money off you people at every opportunity. Right? RIGHT?

I never addressed the ??? / WFMU scandal on this website at the time because I didn’t want to add fuel to any of the fires burning across the aforementioned group-speak websites. When the then-administrator of WFMU’s blog e-mailed me to ask that I write a new introduction to the original post and alter some of the text in the story to “aver” that I was innocent, it only served to encourage more accusations, hate e-mails and a couple attempts to hack my Facebook and Gmail accounts. Oh yeah, and a week later I was unceremoniously (oh, but could you imagine the ceremony had I still lived in Jersey?) let go by WFMU due to “the hubbub” I’d stirred and the new direction of the blog (all music, no exceptions). I can’t say it came as a surprise. My last correspondence with the administrator of the blog basically said that I understood the desire to distance themselves from the situation and hoped to be vindicated someday.

It’s been almost two years since that wild week in November. The deluge of e-mails has long subsided. Evidence of my stint as a blogger for WFMU has been mostly scrubbed from their website. All has — for the most part — been forgotten. Hell, even I forgot about it for a while.

Until this afternoon, when I received an e-mail from a friend directing me to an article on WIRED’s website today. An electronic musical artist from New York “needed to do something more creative to commemorate the release of his new album…his novel solution: hide copies around New York City and kick off a scavenger hunt.” In his own words, the musician said that his idea “seemed like a good way to distribute the music to both unsuspecting passers-by…” as well as pre-existing fans of his music.

I’ve never admitted guilt to anyone who has asked about the whole ??? / WFMU viral blog post, but if I did I’d totally be laughing about this story and proclaim, “I did it first!” And I never will. So I’ll just wish the musician luck with his recording career and commend him for utilizing a unique promotional technique.

Slowdive – I Saw The Sun

Leave a Comment