Rebirth of a legend IV - filmed in Sun-o-vision

I couldn't find the Sun's coverage of the new incarnation of the immigrants-eat-swans story yesterday, which I thought was very fishy. Thanks to Septicisle in the comments for finding the Sun's coverage of the story, which he looks at over at Obsolete. My mistake for not finding the Sun article, but I wish I had.

'Who ate all the swans' is the terrific coverage this time around, and it includes pictures. Pictures! The story must be true then.

Or not. More on the pictures later, but for now let's have a quick look at the story itself. The Sun has clearly learned from its last attempt at suggesting immigrants eat swans. This story makes even fewer explicit connections than the Mail's version, merely claiming that piles of swan carcasses had been found on a camp it's alleged is used by eastern Europeans. The only explicit connection is in the web page's title: 'Immigrants | Who ate all the swans? | Carcasses and cooking pots at migrant's camp':

Lucky the 'immigrants' comes before 'Who ate all the swans?' eh? Otherwise the paper might be accused of saying that immigrants ate all the swans. This way round looks less like that. Oh wait...that wasn't the point, was it?

On to the pictures of the piles of swan carcasses near cooking pots then! Except there aren't any. There are two pictures of one swan carcass, and the cooking pot isn't in shot, nor is the camp itself, so we have no idea of how far this carcass is away from the tents. Still, one picture of a swan where "You could see where they’d snapped off the wings and plucked them before cooking," would go some way toward suggesting that the people in the camp had eaten the swan.

Except there isn't one. Both pictures are of an almost intact skeleton, neck and spine attached and everything, with the wings off to one side. The 'cooking pot', which is unfortunately not pictured, must have been bloody massive to fit a whole swan in, and the dirty foreigners must have been very careful to be able to pick the whole carcass clean while leaving the neck and head intact. The wings have also quite clearly not been plucked, since dirty great flight feathers are still very obviously attached. There are still feathers all over the rest of the skeleton, especially around the abdomen. You can see these most clearly in the second picture, which shows feathers still attached to the stomach area. The visible evidence actually points toward the bird not being plucked at all. In fact, this one looks exactly how you'd expect a swan that has died and decomposed out in the open to look, aside from being arranged for the picture.

If anything, the pictures make me even more convinced that the thing hasn't been cooked. It clearly hasn't been plucked, since there are feathers still all over it, and the whole neck and head is still attached. Think of a chicken after you've cooked and eaten it. Does the carcass look anything like this?

Without an existing urban legend about eastern Europeans eating swans, do you think anyone would have seen this dead swan and thought it had been eaten at all, let alone by eastern Europeans? Except for Jack Black and his faithful dog, Silver. They don't count because they're not real and are actually parodies of a certain kind of person.


Richard T said...

Migrants aren't the only folk allegedly tempted by swans. The Master of the Queen's Music was caught a couple of years ago in Orkney having made a terrine from a dead swan he found. The RSPB kicke dup a bit of a fuss baut the case didn't proceed beyond the Fiscal.

UpThePunx said...

They're not only gorging themselves on the Queen's swans at the taxpayer's expense, but owls! OWLS! These magnificent mysterious nocturnal birds, Soaring Symbols Of Britain, are now fodder for foreign freeloaders!

Actually, I just put a picture of a dead owl next to the one of the guy in his tent. Dah-dah! Instant 'proof'.

I can't believe this stupid story is still doing the rounds. Even more worrying is the amount of people who suspend their critical faculties just because it suits the existing prejudices, even though the story is clearly utter, utter, utter bollocks.

I wish The Sun would just fuck off. I wish it would just fuck the fuck off.

Five Chinese Crackers said...

Upthepunx: Best. Comment. Ever.

Will said...

That "Immigrants | Who ate all the swans? | Carcasses..." title is a well cunning bit of search engine optimised metadata. Top of the list if you Google "immigrants ate all the swans". Or, even more simply, if you search for "immigrants swan" - just another way in which the article might make people think the two were actually linked.

mancunian said...

I remember the original story, I seem to recall the Independant did an investigation at the time and found that the Police have a recording of the journalist on tape admiting they made it up.

Maybe thats an urban legend as well, but check this link out

www.mediawise.org.uk/files/uploaded/Making%20a%20meal%20of%20a%20myth.doc -