Hoaxes – Maya Bornstein

A hoax is a purposefully fabricated or made up story, presented as though it is factual and true. Hoaxes appear in stories, rumors, cautionary tales, and the media. The etymology of a hoax comes from the philologist Robert Nares, and the word literally means “to cheat”. Hoaxes date back to before the 18th century, though they have probably always been part of society; considering it is human nature to lie, and embellish the truth. Witchcraft and such stories are examples of hoaxes told hundreds of years ago. Today, hoaxes are still very present, and can often be found in the media. In Spokane, Washington, just a few months ago, a women who was caucasian, Rachel Dolezal, was masquerading as a African American women and had risen to the head of her┬álocal NAACP. Such a story, shows how prevalent hoaxes are┬ástill today, and the extent of peoples willingness to lie for personal gain. People uses hoaxes for entertainment, attention, power, as scare tactics, and more. The power of a hoax comes from the individuals the fabricator tricks into believing that said hoax is true. The story itself is worthless, until given any form of accreditation. Hoaxes range from an entertaining thriller to liars who just need attention. Hoaxes also highlight the importance of not believing everything one hears, and making sure to fact check, to find out the truth.


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