In hindsight, one of the few consolations is the fact that social media had not yet reared its Hydra-heads when the New York Times was fooled by a Seattle woman’s faux grunge glossary. Can you imagine the hashtags that would have sprung from the 1992 article being exposed the following year as having been victimized by a hoax?
If you’re too young to remember “grunge speak” or if the details have become a little hazy, click on over to author and musician Tom Maxwell‘s fun piece on Salon, hitched to the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain‘s death. (Shockingly, the Web archived version of the November 21, 1992 NYT piece still features the erroneous sidebar and some wrong-employer attribution for the hoaxer.) From Maxwell’s article:
Thomas Frank (now a Salon contributor) revealed the hoax in The Baffler’s winter-spring 1993 issue and explained that: “[Gag lexicon author Megan] Jasper was surprised by the various journalists’ ’weird idea that Seattle was this incredibly isolated thing,’ with a noticeably distinct rock culture. The result of this credulity was that, as Ms. Jasper puts it, ‘I could tell [the interviewer] anything. I could tell him people walked on their hands to shows.’”