Bogus trend smorgasbord: sack-tapping, vodka eyeballing, and "little girl" parties.

Media criticism.
June 3 2010 5:41 PM

Bogus Trend Smorgasbord

Sack tapping, vodka eyeballing, and "little girl" parties.

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How many vodka eyeballers does the Daily Mail interview? One. How many people—other than the eyeballer interviewed—tell the Daily Mail they've witnessed vodka eyeballing? Again, one. The paper reports, "Another woman I spoke to this week recalled seeing her former boss … 'drinking' vodka through his eye at an advertising party."

Gawker took the vodka eyeballing trend down on May 16 with a brief swipe, noting that the primary evidence that eyeballing is trending is the depictions of it on YouTube. Yet news organizations continue to peddle the Daily Mail's nonsense—Washington Examiner, May 25; WCBS-TV, May 27; Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, May 30; Toronto Sunvia CHealth, May 31; and others.

As you can imagine, vodka eyeballing is hugely dangerous. Only a moron should consume his beverages in such a manner—or read articles about it.

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The final entry in our bogus trend smorgasbord is served by our friends in the Great White North. In late May, newspapers in Vancouver, Chilliwack, and Toronto warned readers to be on the lookout for "little girl" parties in which sexual predators invite middle-school girls to parties, get them drunk, and then deflower them.

Even though the Royal Canadian Mounted Police helped sound the original alarm, there appears to be no evidence that a little-girl party has ever taken place. The Saskatoon Star Phoenix put the record straight on May 29, reporting, "Chilliwack RCMP spokeswoman Const. Tracy Wolbeck said police do not know of any students who have participated in such parties or any occasions when these parties actually occurred."

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Jack Shafer was Slate's editor at large. You can follow him on Twitter or email him at Shafer.Reuters@gmail.com.