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Joey Skaggs is a media hoax specialist and culture jammer himself. With his pranks Skaggs holds a mirror up to society. He illustrates how hype, hypocrisy, propaganda and disinformation that is fed to the media is consequently fed by the media to the public. While he makes people laugh, he also hopes to make them think. At Shift he exclusively comments on the Ourfirsttime.com hoax.

Note: In the past Skaggs had once or twice sent stand-ins to tv-interviews. But we can ensure you, this Joey is the real thing.

  "I wrote a rant and sent it to the media on July 16, 1998. It was featured on Brock Meeks' CyberWire Dispatch the same day. The CWD piece was then mounted on Shift.

My comments were about a press release that was circulated to the media about two virgin teenagers who were going to consummate their relationship on the Internet on August 4. I was moved to write it because I'd received so many calls and e-mails asking if this was a hoax and if I was responsible.

This column is a footnote to my original piece. Ourfirsttime.com has been revealed as a scam. My stance that it was a con job for money was correct and it's time to move on.

I'm not particularly interested in the details of an independent filmmaker attempting to strike it rich by scamming the general public. The originator of ourfirsttime.com intended to start charging $5.00 US to visit the site after he had 'hooked' the public. The lovebirds planned to back out of the sex act at the last minute.

Nor am I fascinated to find that he had struck a deal with a glossy online porn wholesaler which had stepped up to the plate to sponsor this event saying they wanted to support the basic premises of education and personal freedom, when in actuality they were attaching themselves to a major media event which could bring millions of spectators and dollars to their site.

And I am not even amused to find that lawyers from both sides are ducking it out, which is exactly what one would expect to happen under the circumstances. What I am interested in is that this concept, had it not been done as a greedy-fuck-the-public-get-rich-quick-rip-off-scam, was, at the core, a grand media manipulation. It pushed all the right buttons for this particular moment in time.

The Internet is bursting at the seams as millions of people experience its enormous potential for free speech. This has heightened the threat of censorship and has publicly pitted personal values against government and/or religious values. Further, there is a massive and growing public appetite for voyeurism, especially for anything sexual. And the technology is available to deliver it.

This scam played right into the media's function as the morality police, a role they exploit in exchange for high ratings and revenues. The story grabbed the media by the balls, and the media went immediately into masturbation mode. They will probably be jerking off about this story for some time to come.

The media are clever about presenting stories that can't be corroborated by using language that hedges their bets. They can say "Is it a hoax or not?" Therefore they can report on the controversy and speculation as if it was news. I doubt if they really care if it was a hoax or not, because a story such as this is certain to generate huge interest no matter which way it goes. If it pans out, they can follow it and comment on it. If not, they can write editorials.

The bottom line is that this scam was perpetrated by a group of unethical, greedy people, and the news media, in their rush to get the story out, became a conduit to potentially make the perpetrators rich and famous. And what of the scammer who started the whole thing? He'll probably get rich anyway. Soon there will be a book and a movie deal. It's the American way."   einde

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