The aim of this blog is to serve as a meeting point to those who study or have studied English philology and, more broadly, to all those who love literature and language.

1 Apr 2009


This morning I received an email from a workmate, which the antivirus tool in my computer immediately labelled as ‘hoax’. That was the first time I found this category in the mail classification provided by anti-spam filters and wondered what hint could the programme have read in order to consider it false information. Probably that came from the explicit request to spread the news and send the message back to as many people as possible.

These kinds of messages include different pieces of advice regarding computer security, health, solidarity and even luck. Although some of them sound really suspicious, many people decide to obey without thinking too much about their reliability or intention.

The medium for distributing hoaxes is not restricted to emailed texts. It also can be found in slide presentations, videos, websites, etc. A recursive topic for this sort of disinformation is the attribution of poems written by unknown writers to recognised poets, as it is explained in this article regarding some texts not precisely created by Pablo Neruda.

Snopes website collects a series of true and false statements, news, quotes… widely spread through different media. Among them, I read that the famous sentence “Elementary, my dear Watson” was never recorded in Conan Doyle’s novels and also find this collection of statements attributed to John Kerry and George Bush.

The British Library website also includes a section on disinformation and lies. The activities are aimed at students but some videos are really funny. A nice treat for this April Fool’s Day


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