A popular video that's making the rounds right now purports to be about a roll of film found in the snow in a park in Brooklyn. I have to admit that something about this story sets off my BS detectors—doesn't set them screaming, but does excite a low-level hum. (Editors, as I've said before, have to have an instinct for the truth. Maybe that just makes us suspicious.) The video and the narrative voice seems a bit too slick, the pictures too competent. One or the other I could believe, but both together seems just a touch too convenient. Midway through the "roll," the narrator breezily ascribes an esoteric interpretation to one of the photos—an interpretation that requires a knowledge of Russian. Could be real. But the humming went louder by a notch.
But never mind me. According to the story at the surface, a guy finds a roll of film in the snow. He develops the pictures, and, using a stray $26 given to him by a stranger, sets out to return the negatives to their owners—who, he thinks, are in several of the pictures. He imagines befriending them.
Looks like an exercise in "how to make a video go viral" to me. Film student? Existential comedy? Okay, shut up, Mr. Editor. Could all be perfectly true, after all.
And it makes a nice tale. Here's the video. See what you think.
UPDATE: Well, the story doesn't seem to have excited any skepticism at ABC News. (Thanks to toto for this.)
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Original contents copyright 2011 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Hugh Crawford: "Obviously the two photographers in the picture aren't the ones taking the pictures, so what cameras they have are irrelevant. I live three blocks from where the film is supposed to have been found and I can tell you that every time it snows, Coney Island and the park are crawling with photographers, many from Europe.
"Also my daughter informs me that digital is for old people, she seems to want either a SX-70 or an Argus C3.
"Also someone found a CF card I lost a couple weeks ago. Hell, it's Park Slope; once I lost a Volvo for a month and someone tracked me down.
"As for professional skills, well, one of my neighbors just won a golden globe.
"By the way if anybody found my gray Stetson hat in a French restaurant..."
Featured Comment by Joe: "I'm with you, Mike. It just doesn't feel right. Possibly it's because the whole thing was shot like one of those TV documentary shows where they recreate horrible crimes with handheld cameras.
"I'm willing to bet it's not all as it seems. But I don't know:
"There are details to suggest it's not fake. Like the question of the film and the digital cameras: I assumed from the start that there was a third person, the one taking the shots of the two guys with their digital cameras. I live in Park Slope, just a couple blocks from where that film was (supposedly) found, and believe me, no European tourists are going to head into Prospect Park, far from Manhattan hotels, the day after a blizzard unless they're staying with a Park Slope friend, who would lead the way."
Mike adds: The above two comments came in one right after the other. Hugh, meet your neighbor Joe. Joe, Hugh. Maybe you could meet for lunch and iron out the bit about the potential for Europeans in your park....