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Jordanian Mayor Angry Over "Alien Invasion" Prank

samzenpus posted about 4 years ago | from the war-of-the-worlds dept.

Sci-Fi 217

krou writes "Jordanian mayor Mohammed Mleihan has taken a dim view of local newspaper Al-Ghad's April Fools prank, which saw a front page story claiming that 'flying saucers flown by 3m (10ft) creatures had landed in the desert town of Jafr.' The paper claimed that communication networks had gone down, and people were fleeing the area. The mayor called the local security authorities, who combed the area, but they were unable to find any evidence of the aliens. Mr Mleihan is now considering suing because of the distress it caused to residents: 'Students didn't go to school, their parents were frightened and I almost evacuated the town's 13,000 residents. People were scared that aliens would attack them.'" I guess they've never heard of Orson Welles in Jordan.

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217 comments

Let me be the first to say... (3, Funny)

Psychotic_Wrath (693928) | about 4 years ago | (#31748462)

The mayor is a retard!

Re:Let me be the first to say... (0, Redundant)

Pojut (1027544) | about 4 years ago | (#31748634)

lol, who the hell mods the very first post of a story as "redundant"?

Re:Let me be the first to say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31748686)

Sadly, it happens all the time.

Re:Let me be the first to say... (-1, Troll)

mea37 (1201159) | about 4 years ago | (#31748844)

Well, let's see... the very first definition of redundant is "exceeding what is necessary or normal". What makes you think the very first post of a story can't be redundant?

Re:Let me be the first to say... (5, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | about 4 years ago | (#31748796)

The mayor called the local security authorities, who combed the area

So... the mayor set aside common sense, skipped the whole "why don't we call the newspaper and see what their source for this story is?" and called in the marines? AND the local law enforcement ALSO failed their reality check, made no attempt to talk sense into the mayor, and headed out on their alien snipe hunt?

I say the whole group got what they deserved. The only reason the mayer is lawyering up is in retribution for a whole henhouse full of egg on his face.

Re:Let me be the first to say... (5, Funny)

cpghost (719344) | about 4 years ago | (#31749162)

The mayor called the local security authorities, who combed the area

Colonel Sandurz: Are we being too literal?
Dark Helmet: No you fool, we're following orders. We were told to comb the desert so we're combing it.

Re:Let me be the first to say... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31749328)

Cos Jordan has never been invaded by a high-tech neighbour before...

Re:Let me be the first to say... (-1, Flamebait)

billcopc (196330) | about 4 years ago | (#31749750)

In a civilized nation, your logic would hold water, but this is Jordan we're talking about. They gleefully murder people who are from the "wrong" side of their self-declared geopolitical boundaries and squabble over the validity of Israel as a nation. The few brains they had probably fleed the country long ago for greener pastures.

Two important revelations ... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31748474)

1. Jordanians (and possibly, by extension, all Arabs) have a hilarious sense of humor.

2. Politicians EVERYWHERE are absolute morons

Re:Two important revelations ... (1)

interval1066 (668936) | about 4 years ago | (#31749332)

Arabs do in fact have a marvelous sense of humor, see Anthony Bourdain's excellent No Reservations episode where he travels to Saudi on the invitation of a viewer, Danya Alhamrani, who sent in an idea for him to go there last year and accompanied him. I think the trip was as much a surprise to me as well as to him.

Re:Two important revelations ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31749494)

Arabs do in fact have a marvelous sense of humor, see Anthony Bourdain's excellent No Reservations episode where he travels to Saudi on the invitation of a viewer, Danya Alhamrani, who sent in an idea for him to go there last year and accompanied him. I think the trip was as much a surprise to me as well as to him.

Wait a minute. You can't have this both ways. If it's racist to say "BECAUSE THIS PERSON IS ARAB, he has [negative trait]" then it's also racist to say "BECAUSE THIS PERSON IS ARAB, he has [positive trait]". Both statements deny the individuality of the person in question and attribute their traits to their racial status.

From dictionary.reference.com:

racism
/reszm/ [[ask.com]] Show Spelled[rey-siz-uhm] [[ask.com]] Show IPA
–noun
1. a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement [such as good humor], usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others.

Re:Two important revelations ... (2, Interesting)

cromar (1103585) | about 4 years ago | (#31749572)

Except that no one is saying they are funny because they are genetically Saudis. (Would that even have any basis in reality? Are Saudis their own "race?") Cultures have many differences between each other, and that is a beautiful thing -- and that is what is being discussed.

On the other hand, I don't know why I take the time to reply to obvious, anonymous trolls :)

Re:Two important revelations ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31749994)

Except that no one is saying they are funny because they are genetically Saudis. (Would that even have any basis in reality? Are Saudis their own "race?") Cultures have many differences between each other, and that is a beautiful thing -- and that is what is being discussed. On the other hand, I don't know why I take the time to reply to obvious, anonymous trolls :)

If you're going to try and sound reasonable don't be a dolt about it. "Saudi" is a nationality. It refers to the nation of Saudi Arabia. A white person born in Saudi Arabia is also a "Saudi". The racist statement was not made about "Saudis". The statement was "Arabs do in fact have a marvelous sense of humor". He then mentions Saudis because most are Arabs, not Arabs because they are Saudis. I know, that whole reading comprehension thing is so tricky for you sometimes. Anyway, "Arab" is a racial/ethnic group primarily recognized by their brown to light-brown skin. To say that Arabs are a certain way is to make a racist statement. That statement isn't about culture because "Arabs" are a very large group that includes several different cultures.

So, you have failed to rationalize away this instance of racism. Care to try again?

Best prank ever (2, Interesting)

e2d2 (115622) | about 4 years ago | (#31748476)

This has to go down as one of the best ever. If they evacuated it would've been insane. This teaches you to be skeptical of "truths" handed to you on a platter by the media.

I tell you what though - they'd never try this in Saudi Arabia. They'd end up executed for sorcery.

Re:Best prank ever (5, Funny)

Scutter (18425) | about 4 years ago | (#31748536)

they'd never try this in Saudi Arabia. They'd end up executed for sorcery.

Since it was a UFO prank, wouldn't the charge be saucery?

Re:Best prank ever (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about 4 years ago | (#31748636)

They'd end up executed for sorcery.

Strange village guy: But she's a witch!
Mal: Yeah, but she's our witch.

Re:Best prank ever (1, Insightful)

Bakkster (1529253) | about 4 years ago | (#31748800)

This teaches you to be skeptical of "truths" handed to you on a platter by the media.

Though, we're not talking about reporting on "truths" that are partisan spin. We're talking about a front page report about a disaster/national security issue. You know, the kind of thing where taking the time to investigate it on your own could be costly, and that you expect has little room for intentionally misleading reporting.

In any case, it's poor form to publish a prank story implying people were in imminent danger, especially in a country like Jordan, which according to TFA is not known for pranks. I'd be angry too, since the prank had actual consequences (loss of productivity, etc).

Re:Best prank ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31749114)

"publish a prank story implying people were in imminent danger"

If I'm in imminent danger, I'd hate to have to wait until the morning printing to find out about it.

Re:Best prank ever (1)

Bakkster (1529253) | about 4 years ago | (#31749796)

If I'm in imminent danger, I'd hate to have to wait until the morning printing to find out about it.

I guess it's a good thing you don't live in Jordan, then.

Re:Best prank ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31749454)

Alternatively, it might make people use their brains and evaluate what they are being fed. Anyone dumb enough to believe 3m tall aliens have landed and then hides under their bed needs to get a dose of reality and fix their edumacation.

Re:Best prank ever (1)

billcopc (196330) | about 4 years ago | (#31749840)

I'll believe in 3m tall aliens long before I ever put any stock in any bible, Torah or Qur'an.

Believing in aliens isn't necessarily stupid. Believing in aliens because the morning paper mentioned it on April fools day and not realizing for one second that maybe, just maybe, aliens would pick a nicer place to land than war-torn fundie Jordan, now THAT'S stupid.

Re:Best prank ever (1)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | about 4 years ago | (#31750222)

Jordan isn't exactly war-torn Muslim-fundie land. It's like that moon with the whorehouse on it in "Firefly": it could have developed a fair while ago if the local ruler didn't like to play King in His Castle and Ethnic Cleansing so much.

Eheh, a national emergency in a NEWSPAPER (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 4 years ago | (#31749878)

because you know, when the aliens to invade, I am sure the first priority is to set a frontpage, insert some nice ads, print it, distribute it...

At least the Orson Welles scare was over the bloody radio.

Re:Eheh, a national emergency in a NEWSPAPER (1)

Bakkster (1529253) | about 4 years ago | (#31750048)

because you know, when the aliens to invade, I am sure the first priority is to set a frontpage, insert some nice ads, print it, distribute it...

At least the Orson Welles scare was over the bloody radio.

In both this instance and the War of the Worlds radio broadcast, neither was from the point of view that the aliens were in charge of the media. Both are the media 'reporting' on an ongoing alien invasion in a backwater hick town, so I'm not sure how this is relevent.

Re:Best prank ever (1)

dominious (1077089) | about 4 years ago | (#31749982)

Yes it was a front page report, but it was reported on 1st of April. And it was a report about aliens. I mean come on! 1st April and aliens report? Would you seriously believe it?

Re:Best prank ever (1)

Bakkster (1529253) | about 4 years ago | (#31750096)

It would be reasonable to assume that Jordan doesn't have the same cultural trappings that we do. Would you, without looking it up, know when you woke up that it was the first day of Ramadan? Is it that hard to expect that this non-Western nation without a tradition of practical jokes would have people who don't wake up on April 1st with a stronger sense of skepticism than usual?

Re:Best prank ever (4, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | about 4 years ago | (#31749158)

When you are in a region close to warring countries, how are you expected to react when an unidentified force lands and disembark ? The mayor reaction was quite sane : aerial unidentified vehicles, possibly military, were signaled to have landed by what was supposed to be a trusted channel. Doing this kind of prank in an unstable region is like shouting "fire !" with no specific reason in the middle of a crowd. It creates apparently stupid reactions but that are perfectly logical in the context of the decision maker.

Imagine a prank in the 1960 that would say that strange cigar shaped rockets were coming toward the USA. Would you blame all the sheeplish people who would rush for the shelters ?

Re:Best prank ever (2, Insightful)

nospam007 (722110) | about 4 years ago | (#31749370)

"Imagine a prank in the 1960 that would say that strange cigar shaped rockets were coming toward the USA. Would you blame all the sheeplish people who would rush for the shelters ?"

Yes, since they already were on the run 22 years earlier.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_War_of_the_Worlds_(radio) [wikipedia.org]

Re:Best prank ever (1)

Sloppy (14984) | about 4 years ago | (#31750278)

Yes, since they already were on the run 22 years earlier.

Wait, let me make sure I understand your logic: since hydrogen-bomb-packing ICBMs were not a credible threat in 1938, it follows that they weren't a credible threat in 1960. Right?

Re:Best prank ever (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | about 4 years ago | (#31749636)

aerial unidentified vehicles, possibly military, were signaled to have landed

If the summary is correct, the article also said that the vehicles were piloted by 3-meter-tall creatures. I know there's a lot of cultural hatred amongst various groups in that part of the world, but I don't think a report about a military invasion by a neighboring country would go quite that far.

Re:Best prank ever (1)

causality (777677) | about 4 years ago | (#31749838)

When you are in a region close to warring countries, how are you expected to react when an unidentified force lands and disembark ? The mayor reaction was quite sane : aerial unidentified vehicles, possibly military, were signaled to have landed by what was supposed to be a trusted channel. Doing this kind of prank in an unstable region is like shouting "fire !" with no specific reason in the middle of a crowd. It creates apparently stupid reactions but that are perfectly logical in the context of the decision maker.

That's the norm to which we've been conditioned, yes. It's one option of many. Personally, I prefer not to be a panicky herd animal. I could do that, I guess, but it's so much more satisfying to be a thinking self-determined human being.

If I am in a theater and the guy near me yells "FIRE!", I'm not going to fly into a panic. If the guy six feet from me smells smoke or sees flames, I too should smell smoke. I too can glance around and look for flames. As none of my physical senses are impaired in any way, I can use my own judgment. Even if there IS a fire, being seized by fear like some kind of animal is not going to help me deal with it. When people do that, they create the second danger of being trampled in addition to the first danger of the fire.

If you think that's too high of a standard for average people, I would say they are more than capable but too eager to sell themselves short. It's not like public education wants a tough-minded population that's skeptical and highly skilled at critical thinking. But let's say it really is an unreasonable standard to expect average people to use their minds to overcome animal impulses. The mayor, however, is in a position of leadership. He's not fit to lead anyone if he isn't an exception to the general herd-mentality. If he's not a member of the herd-mentality, his first step would have been to check with the newspaper. They were, after all, claiming contact with extraterrestrial beings and extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. Not to mention that if this really happened, he would hear about it from his police (or military) forces or maybe air-traffic control long before it would appear the next day in the paper.

Instead, the mayor panicked and now he rightfully feels stupid. Too bad he's dealing with that by trying to save face. He should be thanking the newspaper for helping him become a better leader by exposing a weakness of which he was unaware. But he won't, because that would mean swallowing his pride, and he's apparently not man enough to do that. So now the newspaper might end up in a courtroom. That is not justice.

Re:Best prank ever (1)

ultraexactzz (546422) | about 4 years ago | (#31749876)

Here's the problem, though. The News media may be a trusted channel - but the very fact that civil authorities (first responders, military, etc) were not notifying the mayor of the situation should have immediately raised red flags everywhere. No notice from the police, for example, indicates that either a) the police have been wiped out, or b) there is nothing to report.

Re:Best prank ever (1)

rainmouse (1784278) | about 4 years ago | (#31749978)

Very true, most of the reaction seems very justifiable in an unstable region coupled with typical media spin which is usually of dubious accuracy to begin with. Consider not your 1960's example but instead the mass panic and pandemonium in 1931 following the broadcast of War of the Worlds despite repeat statements throughout the show advising that it was a work of fiction.

They weren't aliens (0, Troll)

alex_l83 (1781636) | about 4 years ago | (#31748502)

They were mars-born nazis that got cover when security raided the area. Thanks to the mayor, the danger of nazi occupation is now gone!

Sue!!1 (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | about 4 years ago | (#31748512)

You’re an idiot and everyone knows it... but if you sue them, by golly, you’ll show them who’s boss and you won’t look like a buffoon any longer.

Except... you will.

Is common to have these kinds of reactions (3, Insightful)

greggman (102198) | about 4 years ago | (#31748540)

When some radio station you normally trust starts reporting a hoax it takes a while to figure out it's a hoax. It's happened several times.

http://www.wnyc.org/shows/radiolab/episodes/2005/06/29

Re:Is common to have these kinds of reactions (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | about 4 years ago | (#31748622)

How had he never heard of War of the Worlds?
I mean it's a cultural thing at this point.

At the very least you'd think someone around him would have laughed and let him in on the joke.

If they'd reported that terrorists had attacked, a foreign military or some other remotely plausible threat sure but aliens???

Re:Is common to have these kinds of reactions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31748722)

Here is what is considered a credible threat [farsnews.com] for that part of the world.

Re:Is common to have these kinds of reactions (1)

GuJiaXian (455569) | about 4 years ago | (#31748814)

Is that real? If so, that's sick (and yes, I'm sure much worse things have been done to hurt/kill kids and such, but it's still sick).

Re:Is common to have these kinds of reactions (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31749318)

What? You have to ask if that's real?

No! Of course it isn't real.

But there's no shortage of idiots who believe it to be true anyway.

Re:Is common to have these kinds of reactions (2, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | about 4 years ago | (#31748772)

I mean it's a cultural thing at this point.

In Jordan?

Re:Is common to have these kinds of reactions (0, Troll)

GNious (953874) | about 4 years ago | (#31748898)

Parent is likely American - locales outside the timezones covered by the US-of-A does not exist unless reported on by Fox, and then only for the duration of said reporting. Locales inside aforementioned timezones are part of the US-of-A, Canada or Mexico.

Re:Is common to have these kinds of reactions (1)

Bakkster (1529253) | about 4 years ago | (#31748914)

Obviously, Hungry Hobo would never be tricked by a story out of One Thousand and One Nights.

Re:Is common to have these kinds of reactions (1)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#31748986)

It's a cultural thing in your culture.

But, for example, what notable can you say, from the top of your head, about "Captain Abu Raed" film?

Re:Is common to have these kinds of reactions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31749680)

How had he never heard of War of the Worlds?
I mean it's a cultural thing at this point.

You'd think that they'd at least of heard of The Flintstones, when the Way Outs [deadsquid.com] (a British rock band) invaded Bedrock. The publicity behind the whole affair promoted them as being "out of this world", which caused the residents of Bedrock to believe that their town was being invaded by space aliens. In the cartoon, however, the guy on the radio promoting the band was eventually arrested by the police.

The problem is that, if there is ever a real space alien invasion, people won't take it seriously. Sort like people never take weathermen seriously until after Hurricane Katrina [wikipedia.org] comes around, and then they'll be waiting for years for the government to give them their promised trailer home. Trust me, if you think bad weather is dangerous, just think of the aliens!

Re:Is common to have these kinds of reactions (1)

westlake (615356) | about 4 years ago | (#31750166)

How had he never heard of War of the Worlds? I mean it's a cultural thing at this point

Your culture. Not his.

Re:Is common to have these kinds of reactions (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | about 4 years ago | (#31748850)

Nothing like that would ever happen. People are too smart to believe everything they hear or read. I read so on the Intertubenetweb.

    [/sarcasm]

Nuts : Warning. May contain nuts (1)

VShael (62735) | about 4 years ago | (#31748546)

Why do we have to change the rules just because some idiots are finding brand new unforeseen ways to be stupid?

Reply : Warning, may increase urge to reply! (1)

thijsh (910751) | about 4 years ago | (#31748848)

We have to create some rules for the real idiots... like how they can win a Darwin award.

A little like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31748566)

...screaming "fire" in a crowded theatre?

Re:A little like... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31748688)

More like screaming that you see Lincoln's Ghost in a crowded theater and causing a panic because of credulousness.

heh (1)

Pojut (1027544) | about 4 years ago | (#31748582)

Stop fueling my silent rage [wikipedia.org].

Oh, and apparently this [livingwithanerd.com] no longer applies exclusively to the USA...slightly modified, of course.

Re:heh (1)

Molochi (555357) | about 4 years ago | (#31749996)

Silent rage...

Hey, I did my part to meme-ify 131.

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=131 [urbandictionary.com]

But apparently, my sentiments were in the minority. Hell only 25 people have even voted on the entry so I guess it's not really a part of most people's concerns one way or the other.

Though it didn't catch on, I glad there's at least a wikipedia page about it.

Let's remember : The Orson Wells story is a hoax (4, Informative)

VShael (62735) | about 4 years ago | (#31748612)

The urban legend that sprang up, about ignorant people believing that the radio broadcast of War of the worlds was real, is one of the most pervasive and believed myths in modern times.

It was fuelled by the newspapers and magazines of the era, who didn't like radio much and were keen to portray it in a bad light.

As anyone who has heard the broadcast knows, the show was frequently interrupted by voice overs telling you that you were listening to a dramatisation.

No doubt though, there will be those on slashdot who will also continue to perpetuate this legend as historical fact.

Re:Let's remember : The Orson Wells story is a hoa (1)

gblackwo (1087063) | about 4 years ago | (#31748724)

citation please.

Re:Let's remember : The Orson Wells story is a hoa (4, Informative)

VShael (62735) | about 4 years ago | (#31748802)

Sure...

"Later studies suggested this panic was less widespread than newspapers suggested. During this period, many newspapers were concerned that radio, a new medium, would render the press obsolete. In addition, this was a time of yellow journalism, and as a result, journalists took this opportunity to demonstrate the dangers of broadcast by embellishing the story, and the panic that ensued, greatly." see Mass Communication Theory: Foundations, Ferment, and Future By Stanley J. Baran, Dennis K. Davis

Robert E. Bartholomew suggests that hundreds of thousands were frightened in some way, but notes that evidence of people taking action based on this fear is "scant" and "anecdotal".
See - Bartholomew, Robert E. (2001). Little Green Men, Meowing Nuns and Head-Hunting Panics: A Study of Mass Psychogenic Illness and Social Delusion. Jefferson, North Carolina: Macfarland & Company. pp. 217ff.. ISBN 0-7864-0997-5.

And for a slightly more amusing take on the myth :
http://www.cracked.com/article_18487_6-ridiculous-history-myths-you-probably-think-are-true_p2.html [cracked.com]

That enough citations for you?

Re:Let's remember : The Orson Wells story is a hoa (1)

Aladrin (926209) | about 4 years ago | (#31748878)

A later study, which had no actual evidence and just supposes a lot of things, is supposed to contradict writings from the same timeframe as the event?

No, you'll have to cite better than that.

Re:Let's remember : The Orson Wells story is a hoa (2, Insightful)

mea37 (1201159) | about 4 years ago | (#31748994)

Well, let's see...

You said that it was a "myth" that people believed the War of the Worlds broadcasts were real, and implied that nobody hearing them could possibly believe that.

Your citation only says that some reports of fear were overstated by newspapers with an agenda, and yet it acknowledges that "hundreds of thousands were frightened" (compared to a U.S. population of about 130M at the time).

Nope, not enough citation for your claim.

Re:Let's remember : The Orson Wells story is a hoa (1)

bugi (8479) | about 4 years ago | (#31750016)

Of course they were frightened. It was a horror story.

Their initial shock however wore off as soon as they heard one of those frequent interruptions stating it was a radio play.

Re:Let's remember : The Orson Wells story is a hoa (3, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 4 years ago | (#31749128)

See - Bartholomew, Robert E. (2001). Little Green Men, Meowing Nuns and Head-Hunting Panics: A Study of Mass Psychogenic Illness and Social Delusion. Jefferson, North Carolina: Macfarland & Company. pp. 217ff.. ISBN 0-7864-0997-5.

Please post more citations on Meowing Nuns. I, like, need them for a research project or something . . .

. . . or is this just Hentai stuff, and not real nuns?

Re:Let's remember : The Orson Wells story is a hoa (1)

Kidbro (80868) | about 4 years ago | (#31749902)

Big Media trying to badmouth a new information distribution medium because they can't control it and fear becoming obsolete?

Man, things were pretty bleak back then, good thing nothing like that happens these days....

"Citation please" Morons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31749606)

If I had a nickle for every moron who posts "Citation please" I'd be a fucking millionaire.

Unlike these jackasses, I don't think everyone on Slashdot is posting lies or misconceptions.

I suspect that these imbeciles often do and expect that everyone else does too.

Re:Let's remember : The Orson Wells story is a hoa (3, Interesting)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 4 years ago | (#31748828)

As anyone who has heard the broadcast knows, the show was frequently interrupted by voice overs telling you that you were listening to a dramatisation.

Not quite. Up until last year, my parents had a record (33) of the entire broadcast. There were only three times the announcement was made that this was a dramatisation(sic) and not real. Had someone come in at any other time, they would not have known it wasn't real.

I should have saved the record from the yard sale, but I debated what I would do with it in the ensuing decades other than holding on to it as a curious memento of the broadcast.

Re:Let's remember : The Orson Wells story is a hoa (3, Informative)

medv4380 (1604309) | about 4 years ago | (#31749006)

It also ran without any commercial breaks which also made it seem more genuine to the people who tuned in late. The exaggerated level of panic is the only thing that was an urban legend.

Re:Let's remember : The Orson Wells story is a hoa (1)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | about 4 years ago | (#31749652)

Yeah, I heard an original copy once as well, and while it was dated, it had all the hallmarks of journalism from its period. I can see easily how people tuning in at the wrong moment might have thought it was the real thing. -There were segments where the reporter was doing the whole, "I don't know if anybody is still receiving this, but. . ." thing with explosions and ray guns sounding off all around him. Keeping in mind also that the jury hadn't even been assembled, let alone come to any decisions regarding the whole UFO thing at that point in our history.

Further, I don't know what the state of radio drama was at that time, but Orson Wells was certainly an innovator and he might have been breaking entirely new ground with such a story-telling technique. Sort of "Blair Witch", except with audiences having no emotional/intellectual defenses built up through past exposure to similar stories.

Though, on the other side of the coin, I can also see how the story of people being frightened would be a very, very easy (and fun) thing to exaggerate in the telling. Just look at how headlines get pumped up around here. While the shape of media has changed dramatically over the years, it's still humans selling the 'scoop'.

-FL

Re:Let's remember : The Orson Wells story is a hoa (1)

HikingStick (878216) | about 4 years ago | (#31749836)

Knowing some from that generation, do remember that not everyone heard the opening disclaimer, and that some of them didn't stay glued to their radios to hear the latter ones.

Re:Let's remember : The Orson Wells story is a hoa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31750286)

Is it still an Urban legend if my mother, who was a child at the time, gave a first person account of a woman running into the family's hotel and screaming that the martians were coming?

Be careful before you indicate that someone was fibbing, this is my mother after all.

Typical (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31748852)

Typical backwards community stuck in the 19th century. Not unlike Mississippi.

I Guess They've Never Heard Of Reality Either (1)

SplicerNYC (1782242) | about 4 years ago | (#31749102)

No evidence. No proof. They don't exist and never did. That doesn't mean there isn't life on other planets, just that as far as we know about the laws of physics, it would take quite a long time and a real effort on the part of any society to want to do it. You'd think Jordanians would be a tad more modern.

Microsoft to Blame (-1, Troll)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about 4 years ago | (#31749108)

My understanding is that there would not have been such an uproar, if it weren't for some coincidental network outages in the Jordanian government offices. Apparently, intraoffice emails were not working during this time period. Government workers hear these news reports, put two and two together and come up with eleventy.

The email culprit? The spam filter could no longer resolve Active Directory requests. Apparently the AD structure became corruptedor was simply not responsponding to authentication requests.

So, as usual, Microsoft is to blame.

Orson wells, WTF? (2, Funny)

k8to (9046) | about 4 years ago | (#31749142)

What does Citizen Kane have to do with it? Perhaps you meant H.G. Wells?

Re:Orson wells, WTF? (2, Informative)

jabelli (1144769) | about 4 years ago | (#31749728)

H. G. Wells wrote War of the Worlds, set in England. Orson Wells directed an episode of Mercury Theatre on the Air that was an adaptation of the story, set in New Jersey. Nobody ever thought the novel was a factual account. There were some people who thought the radio episode was actual news reporting and panicked.

warning to the Mayor (4, Insightful)

corbettw (214229) | about 4 years ago | (#31749168)

You might want to stay off the Internet every April 1. It can be a little confusing (and annoying).

The horrors (1)

kenp2002 (545495) | about 4 years ago | (#31749258)

I remember studying the horrors of the Eugenics movement but I have to say... everyone of those people... might do us some good to keep dumb people from having too many kids who will also grow up to fear alien invasions from flying saucers...

Score +1 for the Idiocracy again... So far this week we are at a record of 33 points for the idiocracy and it's only Tuesday...

I mean even if there were aliens attacking, LOOK UP and if the skies are clear... no aliens in flying saucers. It's not like he reported INVISIBLE ALIEN SAUCERS... Right?

If common sense is common, then those that lack it lose their common link to the rest of us...

Re:The horrors (1)

billcopc (196330) | about 4 years ago | (#31750134)

I dunno man, I wouldn't mind watching "OW my balls!" once in a while, just to see idiots getting hurt, that is.

I guess they've never heard of Orson Welles... (1, Flamebait)

kaizendojo (956951) | about 4 years ago | (#31749294)

Wow, how culturally sensitive of you.

I guess you've never heard of Abdelsalam al-Majali. (Sure, I'll wait while you look it up...)

Re: I guess they've never heard of Orson Welles... (1)

ooooli (1496283) | about 4 years ago | (#31750260)

Wow, how culturally sensitive of you.

Ah, the cultural sensitivity police. Where would we be without you guys.

And you're right, referencing a highly similar and relevant story that happened in the US is just the same as arrogantly assuming that everyone everywhere needs to know obscure political figures with funny names that, frankly, I think you made up.

Legend (2, Funny)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | about 4 years ago | (#31749452)

Slashdot, let this be a lesson to you. If your April Fool's day jokes earn you an intervention by authorities, get children out of school for a day, and result in a possible lawsuit against your organization by an official political body, then you are doing it right.

Anything less just falls short.

But IF, it Were True... (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 4 years ago | (#31749558)

In the cold, jaundice glare of reality, the following scenario would most likely occur. The Aliens would go about their business doing what they came here to do. Mayor Mohammed, may, be contacted by the Aliens. But as sure as the sun comes up the morning, Government representatives from all over this planet would be approaching, very quickly, to the landing site. The optimal solution to consider is getting places for the diplomats to stay. Worst case scenario is that it won't matter. Best case scenario, investing in the local business; fast.

But the one question that all 7+ Billion of us should be asking is, "Why there?"

Don't be fooled (1)

Narishma (822073) | about 4 years ago | (#31749764)

They are just trying to cover up the fact that aliens really did land in that desert. You shouldn't trust everything the media says.

Jordan - The Truth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31749766)

http://socialprotest.com/jordan-the-truth

cuts both ways (1)

bugi (8479) | about 4 years ago | (#31750066)

And they say we're ignorant of their culture?

At least we have self-righteous idiot leaders in common.

Radio Lab (1)

Triv (181010) | about 4 years ago | (#31750204)

Radio Lab [radiolab.org] did a great radio story about 3 different iterations of the War of the Worlds broadcast - Welles' version, one in Central America and one in upstate New York in the 70's.

Check it out [wnyc.org].

This happens all the time. (2)

FiloEleven (602040) | about 4 years ago | (#31750206)

I heard a Radiolab episode [wnyc.org] all about War of the Worlds, the original broadcast and repeat performances all over the world. "From Santiago, Chile to Buffalo, New York to a particularly disastrous evening in Quito, Ecuador." This doesn't surprise me in the least, and it wouldn't be any more surprising if it happened in Kansas or California. The backlash has been worse than the threat of lawsuits--several employees of the news agency in Quito were killed when people realized they'd been tricked and stormed the news building, setting fire to it with them inside.

Welles' point, explained by him in an audio clip during the show, was to get people to realize that they can't automatically believe what they hear on the radio or any form of mass media. It's a lesson that never sank in, which is what makes it possible to continue pulling these stunts.

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