The thing took off even though it has no feathers. I made this as a teaching aid in part to prove how easy it is to make a hoax.

The most viewed post on my blog by far is a KFC hoax (which I clearly reveal is a hoax at the bottom of the post), with 1,413 views. It’s deceptive because every day I get a goodly amount of views on my blog (well, for me), but most are just for the KFC hoax. Nobody much looks at anything else. The most views any posts of my own art got  is 46. Hooray! That, by the way, indicates that only roughly 10% of my ostensible followers actually look at my posts. Sobering. I hope to improve on that in the future.

I wondered why my KFC hoax was getting so many views, and caught on that it must show up fairly high on the Google image search. It was on the first page, which surprised me. But today it is number 2. I almost worry that KFC is going to come after me for slander, except that I say that not only is my KFC story a hoax, but so is the popular one about how they had to change their name to KFC because the government wouldn’t let them use the word “chicken” in their name because they use featherless, beak-less, multi-legged and multi-winged, bio-engineered “organisms”.

The irony is that I created the image in order to prove to my English students in a small Chinese university how easy it is to make a hoax. I wanted them to be less gullible, and do a little research when they come across a controversial claim. I taught them to look for the source information and go to it. If there is no source, it’s most likely bogus. We debated whether the story about the mutant chicken was real or a hoax, and I finally clinched it by revealing that I myself had created the photographic evidence in Photoshop.

Of all my art, is the image that is going to most be seen something I threw together in an afternoon as a teaching aid, and is it going to have the exact opposite effect as what I intended? Are people going to see it, not do any research or even read what I wrote in the codicil at the end, and believe it is real?!

16 replies on “Is this mutant chicken my claim to fame?!

  1. Reminds me of the ‘Tourist Guy’ 9/11 joke photograph.

    His photo of himself standing on top of the World Trade Center on 9/11 with a passenger jet screaming in behind him was emailed to a couple of friends as a joke. One of them forwarded it and soon it was all over the internet with a story it had been recovered from a camera found in the wreckage.

    There was a similar photo of a skindiving couple looking into the camera with a giant, open mouthed, great white shark photoshopped in behind them that was turned from a joke into a hoax that supposedly explained the real disappearance of a US couple on the Great Barrier Reef.

    Then there was the ‘Evil Bert’ series of photos with the Sesame Street muppet shopped into famous shots such as the assassination of JFK and in the turret of a North Vietnamese tank smashing down the gates of the US embassy in Saigon.
    The photo of him with Osama bin Laden was lifted from the website and blown up to poster sized and used by anti-US demonstrators in Bangladesh and Yemen.
    The guy who photoshopped it was so upset by the public reaction he closed down his whole site.


      1. Mostly I was alluding to the likelihood that you’re gonna lose control of that pic due to it’s viral popularity.
        That your joke/anti-hoax lesson is pretty likely to turn into a hoax – if it hasn’t already.


      2. I don’t really mind. It’s getting my blog attention, though it doesn’t seem to be going much beyond people clicking into that one post and then clicking out immediately.


  2. You’re on the path towards being featured in Snopes! Worst case, you get regular feedback that someone, somewhere is noticing you (i.e. about the same as a ‘Like’ button). My equivalent (much smaller viewership) is a piece on aggressive female singers that gets a lot of attention from the Middle East … and nowhere else.

    You could get sneaky and alter the post to get people deeper into your material.


    1. I think people probably come to my site just long enough to find out it’s actually a hoax, and then they lose interest, which is whey the post has over 1,400 views, but just a few likes.


  3. Hey, you aroused my curiosity. Gimmie a link to your “aggressive female singers” post. Also, I tried to get the chicken audience to look at my mutant drawing, but to no avail.


      1. I’m trying to figure out how to milk the KFC attention, but, think it will just give me other more constructive ideas for, if I’m lucky, hitting a chord with the public in the future, for self-promotion purposes (I WILL need to drive a lot more traffic to my blog if I even want to sell enough art to pay for, uh, even a tube of toothpaste).


    1. Oh, BTW, my own blog hit counter has spiked over the past 24 hours.

      I blame you of course.

      Now if I can just work out a pitch to the chicken audience I might be able to hold some of the viewers.


      1. Yeah, as you’re blog is in my top three for reading pleasure, I think it deserves way more attention than it’s getting. Can I throw out a suggestion? I’m guessing that people might want to identify with a person who is making a blog. But in your case, there’s just some cryptic text, which is witty enough, but doesn’t let us know who you are. I assumed you were a white dude for a long time. So, I’m thinking a more personal about page, some sort of custom background, and using more pics (gotta’ have one for every post so it shows up in the reader and attracts the eye) will call more attention to your writing. Just some thoughts. Hope I wasn’t being presumptuous in sharing them.


      2. Hope I wasn’t being presumptuous in sharing them.

        Not at all.

        But I’m not particularly focused on pushing blog traffic at this stage. The blog really is primarily a brain dump as well as a workbench I’m using to try to sort out stuff in my head, whether it’s worth communicating and how best to communicate it. If it really turns out I have something to say I’d imagine interested people will eventually find it via word of mouth.

        I prefer commenting to posting anyway.

        I’m toying with an idea of very lightly monetising my blog via a pitch for ‘pay what you like’ e-books I’m considering publishing through Smashwords. Mostly a selection of what’s already on my blog with bridging material and some cover art from my mum but I’ve also got a few short stories that are too long for blog format. Really it will be e-busking with a present for donors rather than trying to flog my writing on it’s merits (there’s a lot of better writers than me out there who can’t make a penny from it).

        I don’t expect to make more than the price of a few toothpaste tubes per week max, but if I can draw at least a tiny regular income from it I’ll be able to put ‘writer’ instead of ‘disability pensioner’ on my rental lease applications and avoid some stigma that is probably stopping me getting my foot through the door (plus being able to declare an income that isn’t immediately recognisable as the DSP amount). It’s either that, get a real job or suck on a barely functioning internet connection for the foreseeable future. (The air pollution around here really is kinda uncomfortable to me as well, though if I move I’m sure gonna miss the bluetongues).

        If I do end up going down that path I’ll probably start making a serious effort to attract traffic.


      3. Wonder what would happen if you compiled your work, with commentary, into an e-book offered cheaply through your site.

        It might not only keep you in all the toothpaste you could eat, but act as another promotional outlet for your prints. If it’s nice enough people may even pirate it for their non-blog-reading friends.

        Who knows, if it sold well enough you could even convert it into one of those overproduced, overpriced, oversized art books that don’t fit in the bookshelf or anywhere else sensible and keep getting in the way for years and years until finally the dog pisses on it and you’ve got an excuse to toss it out.


      4. I gotta’ get a dog first. Never had a dog.

        Thanks for the suggestion of an E-book. Maybe I’ll give that a try down the road. Wouldn’t be too difficult to do, but would take a lot of time. First I gotta pound out some new pieces so I have something fresh and interesting to put in the e-book.


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