Aggies, Baptists and the worst ‘joke’ ever

Mike Brown

I just couldn’t believe it when I found out the institution holding up Texas A&M’s departing the Big 12 for the Southeast Conference was Baylor.

Come on. If there’s anyone who ought to understand splitting off, and going somewhere else, it’s Baptists!

(Okay, Baylor fans and Baptists, Brother Joe Weldon Bailey, up there in heaven, you know I’m kidding. Some of my best friends are....oh, you know.)


We just had the 10th observance of the anniversary of the 9-11 attacks.

It’s a sad, strange, uncomfortable sort of a date when it rolls around every year.

We’re caught in between the “never forget” and “don’t glorify” aspects of what happened Sept. 11, 2001.

There’s an obvious need to honor the victims of that day but it should never take on the air of a celebration.

Rockdale’s small tree-planting observance seemed about right. —mb— You’ve probably already seen some of the crazier conspiracy theories, the government blew up the buildings, all the Jews stayed home from work, etc.

One was e-mailed to me on Monday. Said there were no planes, the towers were hit by a “Star Wars type weapon.”

I’m serious. Unfortunately.

But the No. 1 Internet rumor about 9-11 was something quite different, according to the website

I’ve seen it and I’ll bet you’ve seen it too. It’s a photo of a man standing on an observation deck at the World Trade Center, the glorious New York City skyline in the background. It’s your basic “gee-whiz, I’m a tourist” pose. He’s blissf ully unaware of what’s just a few hundred feet behind him, one of the 9-11 passenger jets about to slam into the tower and kill him and almost 3,000 others.

The caption with the photo says the camera was “found in the rubble.”

It is, of course, a fake. Those familiar with the WTC, airplanes and the events of 9-11 point out the inconsistencies:

• The WTC only had observation decks on the south tower. The plane which hit the south tower was from United Airlines while the plane in the photo is an American Airlines jet.

• Observation decks on the WTC were to have opened at 9:30 a.m. that day and the first plane hit at 8:49.

• Sept. 11, 2001 was warm (high in the 80s) and the man in the photo is wearing a heavy coat and a pullover wool hat.

It gets worse. says many of the people who sent the photo asking if it was real, were skeptical but noted they passed it on to their friends and relatives anyway!

Wouldn’t that be on the morality level of me getting my usual daily “you’ve won a lottery you didn’t enter,” e-mail, knowing it’s really a guy in a Nigerian Internet cafe wanting to steal every last penny, and sending it on to my 92-year-old mother?

TruthOr Fiction noted that many people took the “victim” so much to heart that prayer vigils were organized for his family and many good-hearted people wanted to track down his “survivors” to send them money.

So, did some cruel fanatic distribute that photo, too, just hoping to stir up more misery?

Nope, turns out it was a young Hungarian tourist named Peter. He’s the man in the photo and he produced other photos from the same session, obviously, not on Sept. 11, 2001.

Peter said he photoshopped in the plane’s image as “a joke.”

Excuse me?

Aren’t jokes—even those labeled as the more edgy “practical jokes”—supposed to be funny? Have you ever seen anything less humorous than this photo?

Did Peter really think the reaction of people seeing the horrific image of a young man about to meet a grisly death would be laughter or “that’s cool!”

“Most of the time the readers of accept our findings but in this case we got a ton of complaints from people who had gotten emotionally involved with the picture and did not want to accept it was fiction,” Rich Buhler, creator of the website, said.

What’s the bottom line? Beats me, unless it’s this.

You’d think nothing could make 9-11 worse than it actually was. But the Internet can.

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