Have you ever wanted to coast to fame and glory on the internet? Here’s your big chance!
We’ve put together this handy checklist that will enable you, too, to become the star of your own show…by building and disseminating (note to Abe: this means ‘spreading’) an internet hoax. It only takes a tiny amount of brainpower, a few friends in the right places, and a couple of small victims. Totally a DIY project that you can throw together over the weekend, for months and months of lasting fun.
Ready? Let’s start!
- Find your victims. Ideally they will be small children, preferably with a mother who cares less about her kids than about her tan. Cute kids work best. Bonus points if they’re blonde and blue-eyed; photogenic children make the biggest impact. You’ll probably need to sleep with the mother, but what the hell. Small price to pay.
- Identify your targets. You’ll need a primary target—someone everyone can love to hate. For best results, choose a primary target who has something your audience doesn’t have, but wants. Actors make excellent targets, as they’re generally good-looking, but everything they do and say can to defend themselves can be called into question, because…well, because they’re actors! So obviously, they’re always acting! And everyone envies actors their good looks and their high-flying lifestyles. Your secondary targets should also be people your audience will hate: anyone who can be termed ‘elite’ in any way is a safe bet. Rich people; people who aren’t rich but live in wealthy neighbourhoods—use your imagination! Go nuts! This is your chance to wreak revenge on pretty much anyone who’s ever pissed you off in any way.
- Terrorise your victims. Let them know who’s boss. Pro tip: beating children with spoons helps them understand that you’re in charge. Plus, it minimises bruising. Threats are also good: small children fear abandonment, so tell them that if they don’t obey your every whim, you will bury them out in the desert or some damn thing. Keep them lean and hungry, too. Use food as a weapon. A hungry child is a vulnerable child. Perfect for your purposes.
- Teach your victims. What do you want them to say? Create your script carefully: it should be dramatic, with elements of the supernatural, and above all, sexy. Remember, SEX SELLS. Especially underage sex. Add a soupçon of moral outrage, and you’ll know you’ve got a winner. Once you have your story, you need your victims to be able to recite it verbatim, even in your absence. If you’ve completed Step 2 well enough, this should be no problem. (Do bear in mind that the longer your victims are out of your presence, the less influence you will have over them. Under no circumstances allow them out of your sight.)
- Publicise, publicise, publicise! These days, the best way to get your story out and about is via social media and the internet. As soon as you’re certain your victims can recite their stories convincingly, contact as many Alt Media types as possible. Do you know anyone who’s managed to bring other hoaxes into the public sphere? This is the time to call in all your favours, and get those rumour mills spinning!
- Make yourself scarce. Think about it: if you’re always out there pushing your story, people will notice and accuse you of confabulating (note to Abe: that means ‘making shit up’). But if you control your public image, ensuring that only certain privileged bloggers or online broadcasters have access to your exalted presence, your hoax is bound to go places. People will hang on your every word. Think ‘Wizard of Oz’: that fellow kept his ruse going for years, simply by never revealing too much about himself. A good way to keep yourself conveniently out of the public eye (and coincidentally out of reach of the long arm of the law) is to move to a foreign country. We hear Spain is nice at this time of year.
- Scoff at the scoffers. Not everyone will accept your story holus bolus, no matter how hard you work to cherry-pick and/or invent facts to back it up. The best way to deal with those Negative Nellies is to either ignore them altogether, or if that’s not possible, to mock them. It won’t necessarily put them off your scent, but it’ll convince your loyal followers that you’re still in the game, and that they should keep backing you up.
- Get other people to do your dirty work. Want to send poison pen letters? Find a blogger who specialises in that. Want to harass either your primary or secondary targets? Pump your followers up with stories of their horrible transgressions, turn them loose, and let them do it for you!
- Whatever you do, don’t alienate your supporters. No, seriously. If you piss off those who have slavishly followed your every word for months on end, eventually you will lose them, and your story will start to come apart at the seams. When that happens, more and more of the general public will begin to see through your lies, and ultimately you’ll become a laughing stock, rather than a heroic whistleblower. Or whatever. We are not kidding, you really don’t want to lose your supporters…don’t accuse them of being shills…no, really….
- Oh. Too late. Sorry, Abe, you’re on your own now.