The Not Fake News Update, 28 September 2022

GOOD MORNING, VIETNAM!!! And, for everyone in the continental United States, we’d like to wish you a very pleasant good evening. Unless you’re in Florida, that is, in which case we’d like to wish you something very well-anchored to hang onto until the storm passes.

That’s right, folks: Hurricane Ian has hit Florida with near-Category 5 winds. This is the 551st hurricane known to have impacted Florida, the most heavily hurricane-hit state in the United States, and is expected to do several billions of dollars worth of damage. Which, of course, nobody could possibly have predicted would ever happen; not in a million years. Thus, it has made the front page.

(Why people retire there, we’ll never know. Florida, not the front page, not that we have any insights as to why some people have apparently opted to retire to the front page either.)

While our hearts (and FEMA payments) go out to all you Florida residents who were so unexpectedly caught by surprise by this latest in the long series of hurricanes to hit Florida, it’s also true that other things have happened recently that even the most attentive of viewers might have missed amid the incessant disaster porn that passes for 24-hour news these days. So, on the off chance, here’s a list:

– Social media was flooded with fake news reports concerning a mass exodus of adult male Russians fleeing their country at various border crossings. These prompted government agencies from Georgia up to Finland to issue corrections; immediately thereafter, the fake news stories miraculously came true. One nation not inundated by would-be Russian draftees appears to be Ukraine; instead, Russian males of military age appear to be leaving that country in record numbers as well. We’ll be continuing coverage of this breaking news story so long as any black humor can possibly be squeezed out of it and perhaps even after. Who knows?

– Following a stretch of several weeks during which Iranian-made missiles have been fired into Israel, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, Iraq, and at ships belonging to thirty-seven different international carriers, Iran has now launched missiles at Iran. Several people were killed and at least two dozen injured in the recent attack, which targeted Kurdish separatists. To be precise, most of the missiles in the attack actually landed in Iraq, but “Iran launches missiles at Iraq” just isn’t newsworthy because it happens every couple of days. Iranian missiles landing in Iran, however, are unusual enough to mention.

– A second, much larger group of Iranian citizens are taking to the streets in protest following the unexpected death of a healthy young woman who had been detained by the local Morality Police for wearing an “improper” hijab. Since then, women across the country have been burning their hijabs in public, and protests have begun to escalate, adding “Death to the Dictator” as a counterpoint to the more usual mobs chanting “Death to Israel”, “Death to America”, and so on. The Morality Police, which employs 15% of all law enforcement personnel in Iran, have thus far been denied permission to launch missiles at all Iranian women on the grounds that there aren’t enough missiles available. More than a hundred Iranians have died in this round of protests and thousands have been detained; however, most Western news outlets are mysteriously failing to cover the events in any depth.

– Norway has raised its state of military alert following the sighting of “unidentified drones” near its oil and gas facilities in the North Sea. Meanwhile, explosions in the Russian Nord Stream and Nord Stream II natural gas pipelines have caused multiple leaks and large holes near Denmark in the already deactivated gas delivery systems. There is no confirmation of the causes, but that the destruction was intentional is considered apparent. In response, the U.S. Senate has removed a provision to fast-track a new export-only natural gas pipeline that would have run across the Appalachian Trail. And, in unrelated news, a brand-new gas pipeline running underwater to Poland from Norway has just been inaugurated.

– The army of Myanmar has attacked a local elementary school with a massive force supported by helicopter-launched rockets, killing six and injuring a further seventeen. The initial press release, reading simply “Oops”, has since been retracted; instead, the Ministry of Defense has stated that the school was being used as a base by anti-coup insurgents, or as they are more commonly known, “teachers”.

“The Phantom of the Opera”, Broadway’s longest-running show, has announced that they will halt production. Rather than the usual reason — “everyone’s seen it that wants to” — the producers are instead blaming COVID for the show’s inability to pay for continued performances. In response, President Joe Biden announced that “the COVID pandemic is over”; the White House almost immediately retracted the announcement with the statement, “That’s not what he meant.”

– Munich’s Oktoberfest has recommenced for the first time since its suspension during the 2020 pandemic crisis. Precautions such as social distancing and mask-wearing will not be practiced, largely because they are impracticable while drinking. One new innovation will be the intentional blasting of loud music into the urinals, which had until recently been the only quiet place in the entire fairgrounds; the resulting concentration of cell phone usage had caused horrifically long lines and occasional accidents. During previous years cell phone jammers were employed with indifferent success; the new innovation has the advantage of actually being successful. As one attendee put it when asked about the music, “Was sagst du? Ich kann dich wegen der Musik nicht hören!”

– NASA has successfully struck an asteroid with a rocket, which is the precise opposite of what usually happens when the two interact. The recent DART mission has been in the works for many years, and was specifically intended to deform a massive, fast-moving object in Earth’s orbital zone in order to change its position so scientists could measure exactly how much of a difference they could make, and if this strikes you as a bad idea, you’re not alone.

– We’ve recently been informed that The Not Fake News digests are becoming too dark, and contain far too many references to death, destruction, extinction, the end of the world, and so on. This next report is the first of a series celebrating positive news, in this case a species that has returned from apparent extinction: Uganda has reported an unexpected resurgence of the ultra-rare Sudan strain of the Ebola virus.

Dark humor: It’s like a draft notice in Putin’s Russia. Not everyone appreciates getting it.

– THIS JUST IN: Epstein is still dead, and now his former bosom companion, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, has been at least temporarily named Councillor of State to his brother, King Charles III of England. Why this is newsworthy is something that boggles the mind.

And that’s all the news that is news plus, as usual, quite a bit that isn’t, masquerading as dark humor. The part about Iran shooting missiles at Iran was, apparently, actually completely false rather than just slightly misleading, but we’re not at all sorry for the error and refuse to withdraw the story on the grounds that the government of Iran does not at present deserve that level of courtesy from any independent journalist.

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