ChorizoGate: an Accidental Hoax

My Twitter account is usually a quiet backwater of social media, and that’s the way I like it, but there was an unexpected burst of activity and interest in it over the weekend. To amuse myself on Saturday morning I decided to post this on Twitter:

I thought a few people might find it funny, but it took off beyond my expectations. By my standards over 5000 likes counts as “going viral” (as you young people say). Most people saw the joke immediately – if you don’t get it, the image is of a slice of chorizo not an astronomical object – and some even joined in with puns and other jokes. Even funnier, some respondents earnestly shared their devastating insight that it was chorizo (or some variant thereof). I honestly didn’t think anyone would think that I was seriously trying to pass it off as a JWST picture; it was just meant to be silly. But there you go. That’s Twitter. I should also report that some people looked at the rainbow flags in my profile and proceeded to indulge in some casual homophobia. That’s Twitter too. Those people all got blocked.

Anyway, the day after I posted the image it seems a prominent French physicist called Etienne Klein who has many times more Twitter followers than I do, posted this embellished version. TRIGGER WARNING – it’s in FRENCH:

Notice the picture is exactly the same. What a coincidence! You might consider this plagiarism; I couldn’t possibly comment. I always regard anything I put on social media as being in the public domain so I’m not really bothered if other people “borrow” it. There’s quite a lot of plagiarism of stuff I’ve written on this blog out there, but life’s too short to get upset about it. Credit would be courteous, but one one learns that it isn’t generally to be expected.

As a matter of fact it’s not a new joke anyway. I didn’t make the picture and don’t remember where I got it from, though it was probably here.

Anyway, the funny thing is that this then got picked up by various other people:

and organisations:

There are others, e.g. here, here, here and here. Also here.

ChorizoGate all took off in a very surprising way. I’m not sure what the moral of this story is, other than if you make a joke no matter how obvious it is there will always be people who take it seriously…

29 Responses to “ChorizoGate: an Accidental Hoax”

  1. Anton Garrett Says:

    Chorizo is the Greek for ‘separate’. I got a shock when I was studying chapter 7 of St Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church and found that a Christian woman who is chorizo should remain single or be reconciled to her husband. I then wondered how the sausage got its name; it is because the fat and the meat separate out from each other during the curing process.

  2. I hope their are some suitably reddened faces in the twitterverse !

  3. […] A blog about the Universe, and all that surrounds it « ChorizoGate: an Accidental Hoax […]

  4. Anton Garrett Says:

    Congratulations Peter, this has reached the front page of the Daily Star!

    They’ve not tracked it to you yet; here’s the story:

  5. I assume the lack of correct citations in many of these repeat stories means they don’t meet the ethics criteria for publication in OJA?

  6. Anton Garrett Says:

    What’s the redshift?

  7. […] all the nonsense in the past few days about ChorizoGate I thought I’d pass on news of some really superb and superbly real astronomical images […]

  8. […] carvings found outside the tomb and their possible connection with astronomy. Following on from ChorizoGate I can finally reveal the solution to this ancient […]

  9. […] Witz von vor vier Jahren geklaut worden und wurde wiederum hier geklaut … worüber seither mehr oder weniger sinnvoll auf der ganzen Welt geschrieben wird. [22:15 […]

  10. […] that the social media fuss about ChorizoGate is dying down a bit I thought I’d change the subject and post some music. This tune is by Los […]

  11. […] Si estás interesado en leer más te recomiendo Peter Coles, «ChorizoGate: an Accidental Hoax,» In The Dark, 03 Aug 2022; Peter Coles, «The Dark Side of ChorizoGate,» In The Dark, 08 Aug […]

  12. […] sesgada de esta historia memética) te recomiendo Peter Coles, «ChorizoGate: an Accidental Hoax,» In The Dark, 03 Aug 2022; Peter Coles, «The Dark Side of ChorizoGate,» In The Dark, 08 Aug […]

  13. […] far as misinformation goes, Klein’s joke (which an astrophysicist, Peter Coles, made first) was innocuous enough. And it was a pretty good joke. But like much viral misinformation, the space […]

  14. […] far as misinformation goes, Klein’s joke (which an astrophysicist, Peter Coles, made first) was innocuous sufficient. And it was a reasonably good joke. However like a lot viral […]

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