Gizmodo and the Iranian Boat Threat: A Common Thread

I have great admiration for a great practical joke. There have been a couple world-class practical jokers this week.

First the “I am coming to you. You will explode in a few minutes.”

One of the great elements of a practical joke is that the person you play the joke on may do serious physical harm to the jokester. In this case, it would be a battleship puking a shell the size of a Volkswagen all over your own self.

But jeez, the Iranians must be laffing so hard their turbans are unraveling. The U.S. media picked it up and ran it with no questions asked.

Have you heard the voice? Have you seen the video? Here’s my take: these small, but very speedy, boats are buzzing all around the place. Small fast boats make lots of noise, from engines and from wind. The voice? Very calm, very clear, no background noise.

What a bunch of kidders those Iranians are. I bet they really aren’t trying to make weapons of mass destruction, either.

Those jokesters.

The second is the “I have a device that will turn off your monitors/televisions” that shows up at the Consumer Electronic Show. (CES)

The editor of popular gadget website Gizmodo was banned from CES and Gawker Media, company behind that site, is most likely getting sued by CES organizers pretty soon. Reason? Gizmodo’s prank: shutting down tens and hundreds of TV, LCDs and plasma screens by a remote controller known as TV-B-Gone.

What makes this really a great practical joke is that Gizmodo is a joke too. CES and Gawker puts on this show and invites all the gadget makers to come show off pretend (concept) merchandise or one-off (prototype) merchandise that is priced in the ionosphere.

This generates lots of buzz.

Gizmodo repackages the buzz then they leak it one product at a time and put ads on their site. Other trendy gadget sides republish the Gizmodo posts and put ads on their site and around and around it goes.

The difference between the Iranians and the Gizmodo terrorists is that the U.S. Navy didn’t get the joke, so they got all huffy and in a tizzy. Gawker Media got the joke, and reacted accordingly by threatening to sue. More buzz.

The risk is about the same as the Iranians. Those propeller heads can go freaky bezerk because they only operate on Red Bull and donuts. Hopped up geeks can toss a 62 card reader hub like I would throw a AOL disc.

I wish I was a good practical joker.

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Gizmodo and the Iranian Boat Threat: A Common Thread — 2 Comments