At Least the Weather Was Nice

Giant Wave Striking Beach

THE IMAGE: Either an excellent example of patently obvious photo manipulation, or a large crowd of beachgoers enjoying a sunny day in the Gulf of Mexico 3.2 seconds after a massive, dinosaur-killing asteroid slammed into the ocean just off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, circa 66 million B.C. -- you decide.

THE BAIT: Horrific scenes of a deadly seaside disaster, and maybe some chicks in bikinis.

THE TARGET: People who have no sense of scale whatsoever, people who are entertained by the tragic misfortunes of others, people deeply concerned about rising sea levels, Molly-tripping surfers, excitable starfish.

THE STUPID: A wave this ridiculously high would kill everyone in the featured image, and plenty more besides -- perhaps thousands of people -- and cause epic physical destruction many miles inland. Don't you think you probably would've, you know, heard something about that before now? Regardless, this picture, which has been kicking around the Internet for years, is a well-known fake -- a fake of a fake, actually, utilizing an earlier photoshopped image of the same giant wave wiping out Honolulu (if you look very closely, you can see faint vestiges of city buildings at the base of the wave, on the right). But put that aside for a moment, and imagine that the image captures a real catastrophe. What's with the lighthearted headline? A horrifying, mass-casualty event is "a day at the beach gone wrong"? That's like showing a dramatic photo of the World Trade Center burning on 9/11 with the caption, "Worst Workday Ever." But I probably shouldn't give these guys any ideas.