Hippo Eats Dwarf

( 4 )

Overview

Can you grow a bonsai kitten? Should you stock up on dehydrated water? Is it easy to order human-flavored tofu? Or is this all just B.S.?

In a world of lip synching, breast implants, payola punditry, and staged reality shows, it's hard to know the real from the fake. Hippo Eats Dwarf is the essential field guide to today's Misinformation Age. Whether you're deciphering political doublespeak or trying to decide whether to forward that virus warning, hoaxpert Alex Boese provides ...

See more details below
Paperback
$14.99
BN.com price
(Save 16%)$17.95 List Price
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (53) from $1.99   
  • New (8) from $3.79   
  • Used (45) from $1.99   
Sending request ...

Overview

Can you grow a bonsai kitten? Should you stock up on dehydrated water? Is it easy to order human-flavored tofu? Or is this all just B.S.?

In a world of lip synching, breast implants, payola punditry, and staged reality shows, it's hard to know the real from the fake. Hippo Eats Dwarf is the essential field guide to today's Misinformation Age. Whether you're deciphering political doublespeak or trying to decide whether to forward that virus warning, hoaxpert Alex Boese provides the guidelines you need. For instance, Reality Rule 6.1: Just because you read it on the Internet doesn't make it true.

With case files, reality checks, definitions, and plenty of doctored photos, Hippo Eats Dwarf is an entertaining guide to life, death, eBay, and everything in between.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Alex Boese, webmaster of the Museum of Hoaxes, has made a career of exposing outrageous deceptions and pranks. His Hippo Eats Dwarf initiates readers into the marvels of dehydrated water, human-flavored tofu, scripted reality shows, and fictitious clones.
From the Publisher
PRAISE FOR THE MUSEUM OF HOAXES
"As entertaining as it is well researched." -ENTERTAINMENT TODAY

"This book is smart, well-written, and a helluva lot of fun." -CULTUREDOSE.COM

Publishers Weekly
Hoaxes are but one tile in the vast mosaic of mis- and disinformation detailed in this delicious compendium of fakery. The ones that Boese offers are a far cry from the classic deceptions spotlighted in his previous The Museum of Hoaxes; they're mainly smirky Internet pranks, like a fake CNN.com news report that fellatio protects against breast cancer. But Boese finds inexhaustible fodder for his theme of the ubiquitous fakery of modern life, including Enron-style business scams, lip-synching scandals, artificial flavors, mislabeled meats, doctored photos, covert marketing campaigns, celebrity plastic surgery and denials of surgery, breast implants, and that oldest of ruses, the fake orgasm. He also covers a smattering of conspiracy theories-from perennials like subliminal advertising and the "Paul is dead" rumor, to a recent Sudanese panic he dubs the "penis-melting Zionist robot comb"-proving that we are at our most gullible when we are most suspicious. Boese wittily tracks down the leads to establish the truth or-usually-falsehood behind the facade, and sprinkles in handy "Reality Rules" to bolster readers' defenses against nonsense, the most pertinent of which is, "[j]ust because you read it on the Internet doesn't mean it's true." Photos. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780156030830
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 4/1/2006
  • Pages: 290
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

Recognized as a hoaxpert by CNN and the New York Times, among others, ALEX BOESE holds a master's degree in the history of science from the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of The Museum of Hoaxes and the creator and curator of www.museumofhoaxes.com. He lives in San Diego.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

BIRTH 1
 
Two thousand years ago, scholars recorded stories about women who had given birth to elephants and mothers who had borne over thirty children (none of whom were elephants, thankfully). We may think we’re too sophisticated to believe such tales today, but that’s not so. Instead of elephant-bearing women, modern legends have progressed to human clones, pregnant men, and online supermodel egg auctions.
 
Reality Rule 1.1
 
Just because a woman looks pregnant, it doesn’t mean she is.
 
Foam-Pad Pregnancy, n.: What you get when a woman stuffs some padding under her shirt and claims to be pregnant. More generically, any fake pregnancy.
 
The Fake Pregnancy Scam
 
           You meet a pregnant woman—one who not only looks pregnant, but also says she is. How do you know she really is pregnant? The odds that she’s faking it aren’t very high. Unlike fake tattoos, fake tans, and fake hair, the fake pregnant look is a fashion that’s never caught on. When fake pregnancies happen, the motivation is usually fraud, not fashion.
 
           The scam goes like this: a woman claims to be pregnant, then persuades an adopting couple to support her while they wait to become the proud parents of her nonexistent child. By the time the couple figures out what’s going on, the con artist is long gone, looking for the next pair of suckers.
 
           For instance, in early 2004, authorities charged Maya-Anne Mays with deceiving at least three couples who hoped to adopt her child. Maya-Anne wasn’t pregnant, but her heavyset build made her look like she was, and a recent miscarriage allowed her to test positive on a pregnancy exam. The couples who were paying her rent (and food, and travel money) only grew suspicious when, as the months rolled by, Maya-Anne stubbornly declined all medical care. In hindsight, her only mistake was sticking around for too long.
 
           If you think a woman’s growing belly owes more to foam padding than to a fetus, what can you do to verify your suspicions? Not much. That’s the beauty of the scam. Start poking her stomach, and you open yourself up to charges of assault and battery. Ask that she subject herself to a medical examination, and she’s well within her rights to refuse. The most reliable fake-pregnancy-debunking method is to wait nine months. If no baby appears, then you might consider your suspicions confirmed.
 
case file: Erin McGaw
 
           Although most fake pregnancies are pulled off by con artists, occasionally you come across a “fake pregnancy as fashion choice” or “fake pregnancy as research project.” Take the case of Erin McGaw.
 
           Erin’s classmates at Penn Manor High could scarcely believe this wholesome seventeen-year-old was pregnant. She was the kind of girl who hung out after school with her church group, not with boys. But the evidence of her growing belly was undeniable. And anyway, she said she was pregnant.
 
           But Erin wasn’t. Early in fall 2003 she had hatched a plan to fake a pregnancy as a way of completing a senior-year independent study project on child development. (Why didn’t I think of that? It would have beat my senior-year study of nineteenth-century Romantic poetry hands down.) She imagined experiencing how pregnant teenagers are treated in our society and then reported her findings at the school’s year-end Festival of Learning. Her teacher, Mindy Rottmund, approved the project and promised to keep it a secret.
 
           Each week Erin carefully stuffed a little more padding into the swimsuit she wore beneath her clothes. Pretty soon boys were commenting that she looked fat and girls were whispering behind her back that she must have had a one-night stand. Erin found herself shunned by her peers, but she soldiered on, determined to complete her project. Even when her priest voiced concerns to her family, she didn’t give up.
 
           Erin could probably have gone for nine months without anyone realizing what was up, but after three months Ms. Rottmund squealed to the headmaster, who immediately called a halt to the whole thing and forced Erin to confess to her classmates.
 
           That should have been the end of it, but one year later Erin’s fake pregnancy bore fruit of a different kind. A camera crew from MTV rolled into town and asked the entire high school to reenact what had happened so MTV could film it for High School Stories: Scandals, Pranks & Controversies. Erin didn’t reprise her role, though she did appear as an extra. Nevertheless, the school got to witness the surreal spectacle of a girl pretending to be pretending to be pregnant, while everyone around her pretended that they didn’t know she was pretending.
 
           Given all the pretending going on at Penn Manor High, it’s not surprising that a cynical and ugly rumor soon spread claiming it was all a hoax within a hoax—that Erin had actually been pregnant all along and had only pretended to be pretending as a way to explain away her condition and its sudden conclusion. There is absolutely no evidence to support this rumor.
 
Empathy Belly, n.: A strap-on belly manufactured by Birthways, Inc. The device simulates pregnancy so that anyone (but particularly fathers-to-be) can experience all the wonder and joy of the symptoms expectant mothers feel, including weight gain, shortness of breath, bladder pressure, backaches, fatigue, and, as the manufacturer promises, “much, much more!”
 
 
 
Reality Rule 1.2
 
Human women give birth to human babies.
 
Pull a Mary Toft, v.: To pretend to give birth to a nonhuman species. The phrase derives from the case of the eighteenth-century Englishwoman who claimed to have given birth to eighteen rabbits. It was only when a doctor announced his desire to operate on her to examine her astounding uterus that Mary Toft admitted she was lying.
 
case file: The Woman Who Gave Birth to a Frog
 
           Imagine you’re a news editor at the prestigious British Broadcasting Corporation and across your desk comes a story about a woman in Iran who has given birth to a frog. Details are sketchy, but an Iranian newspaper has theorized that the woman picked up a frog larva while swimming in a dirty pool, and that the larva then grew into an adult frog inside her body. What do you do with this story? Do you (a) leave it to the likes of Ananova or the Weekly World News, noting to yourself not only the possibility that the woman is “pulling a Mary Toft,” but also the story’s similarity to a well-documented urban legend, decades old, about a girl who gave birth to a live octopus after getting octopus eggs inside of her while swimming? Or do you (b) publish the story on the BBC website, accompanied by a picture of a surprised-looking frog? If this is real life, then the answer, of course, is (b). The BBC really did publish such a story on June 27, 2004. After becoming the butt of jokes on account of it, the BBC lapsed into a strange silence on the subject. No more details were forthcoming about the woman or the frog.
 
Reality Rule 1.3
 
People will make jokes about anything.
Even babies. Even dead babies.

 
Modest Proposal, n.: A satirical salvo that uses as its ammunition one of the few sacred cows in modern culture—babies. (In a pinch, kittens can serve as a substitute.) A few people always fail to get the joke, thereby making the modest proposal a guaranteed controversy generator. The term derives from Jonathan Swift’s 1729 satire, A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland From Being a Burden to their Parents or the Country, and For Making Them Beneficial to the Public, in which he made a case for the social and economic benefits to be gained by feeding the unwanted babies of the poor to the rich.
 
Modest Proposals on the Internet
 
           While publishers might hesitate before printing nausea-inducing jokes about dead babies, the Internet knows no restrictions. The most disgusting baby-related satire is always just a few mouse-clicks away. What follows is a sampling of the tamer stuff.
 
           EatBabies.com: an Internet-based guide for cooking with babies, because those who want to take Jonathan Swift up on his suggestion that the rich eat the children of the poor can’t be expected to consume the delicacy raw. Recipes at this site include Spicy Baby Tortillas, Baby Flambé, and, of course, the ever-popular Baby Baby Back Ribs.
 
           ChrissyCaviar.com: a site where performance artist Chrissy Conant offers “human caviar” for sale—eggs harvested from her own body. She’s just joking, right? Unfortunately, no. The human caviar is quite real. Each jar really does contain one of Chrissy’s eggs swimming in human tubal fluid. She claims this delightful delicacy is just for display. (The FDA might have a few things to say about it if she actually were to start selling this stuff as food—though as long as it’s art, it’s fine.) Chrissy also says she hopes Chrissy Caviar will one day “surpass Beluga caviar as the current ultimate in luxury, consumable items.” Here’s hoping that day never comes.
 
"FONT-SIZE: 9pt; FONT-FAMILY: Times; mso-bidi-font-size: 10.0pt"           BabySmashers.com: a practical exploration of how the baby-changing stations that fold down from many public restroom walls can serve double duty as a means of smashing the baby violently against the wall. As the site enthuses, “Baby Smashers are an efficient, convenient, and fun way to dispose of unwanted babies.” Visitors to the site can print out illustrations and decals that can then be pasted onto baby-changing stations to rebrand them as Baby Smashers. Thankfully the underlying purpose of the site is to expose, through satire, how unsafe the baby-changing stations can be.

Copyright © 2006 by Alex Boese
 
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical,
including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
 
Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Harcourt, Inc.,
6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction          1
Birth       5
Bodies    21
Romance                39
Food        63
Photography          84
The World Wide Web           96
E-mail    114
eBay       128
Technology            135
The News               147
Entertainment      166
Advertising            184
Business                207
Politics   228
War         250
Death     259
Acknowledgments                273
Index      274

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2013

    it cool to just know all this stuff in the book

    it cool to just know all this stuff in the book

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 1, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Taylor Rector for TeensReadToo.com

    HIPPO EATS DWARF: A FIELD GUIDE TO HOAXES AND OTHER B.S. is hilarious! If you want something light and fun to read, then this is the book for you! And how could you not want to read a book called HIPPO EATS DWARF? As <BR/>if that isn't the greatest title ever! <BR/><BR/>This book is all about hoaxes that people have created or have thought up! There are some great ones in this book. They are things as obvious as the "you must forward this e-mail or you are going to die" e-mails that everyone gets to the unreality of reality TV shows. <BR/><BR/>I really liked this book, and have a friend who really liked it, also. There are some really funny, useless facts in this book, too. I definitely will tell all of my friends to read this!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2007

    Courtesy of Teens Read Too

    HIPPO EATS DWARF: A FIELD GUIDE TO HOAXES AND OTHER B.S. is hilarious! If you want something light and fun to read, then this is the book for you! And how could you not want to read a book called HIPPO EATS DWARF? As if that isn¿t the greatest title ever! This book is all about hoaxes that people have created or have thought up! There are some great ones in this book. They are things as obvious as the ¿you must forward this e-mail or you are going to die¿ e-mails that everyone gets to the unreality of reality TV shows. I really liked this book, and have a friend who really liked it, also. There are some really funny, useless facts in this book, too. I definitely will tell all of my friends to read this! **Reviewed by: Taylor Rector

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2006

    Hippo Eats Dwarf, Reader Writes Review

    Alex Boese provides a guide to the modern world, covering everything from the Bonsai kitten to male pregnancy to animal cosmetic surgery. Laid out in chapters with basic rules to guide readers in daily life (like Reality Rule 5.2: Should a suitably dramatic picture of a major event not exist, one will be created), Hippo Eats Dwarf sorts fiction from nonfiction and truth from lies, but is never short on entertainment.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)