Urban Legends Do Not A Trend Story Make

Tuesday, February 9, 2010
That most e-mailed Sinatra story listed in the post below was one of the strangest trend stories I have ever read, and had incredibly weak trend back up. Observe:

The authorities do not know exactly how many people have been killed warbling “My Way” in karaoke bars over the years in the Philippines, or how many fatal fights it has fueled. But the news media have recorded at least half a dozen victims in the past decade and includes them in a subcategory of crime dubbed the “My Way Killings.”

Six in 10 years? Really? I mean it seems like a lot seeing as it should be none, but it doesn't really seem trend-ish.

Whatever the reason, many karaoke bars have removed the song from their playbooks.

How many Karaoke bars removed the song? "Many."

Karaoke-related killings are not limited to the Philippines. In the past two years alone, a Malaysian man was fatally stabbed for hogging the microphone at a bar and a Thai man killed eight of his neighbors in a rage after they sang John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” Karaoke-related assaults have also occurred in the United States, including at a Seattle bar where a woman punched a man for singing Coldplay’s “Yellow” after criticizing his version.

Two more examples! Now we're talking. (Also, note to hyperlink editors. I would have preferred a link to the story about the killing instead of a YouTube video of the song). Oh, and we're going to broaden our subject matter to include assaults.

“The Philippines is a very violent society, so karaoke only triggers what already exists here when certain social rules are broken,” said Roland B. Tolentino, a pop culture expert at the University of the Philippines. But even he hedged, noting that the song’s “triumphalist” nature might contribute to the violence.

A ha! The all important expert, who "hedged." Sounds like someone was pushing for proof.

Some karaoke lovers are not taking chances, not even at family gatherings.

In Manila, Alisa Escanlar, 33, and her relatives invariably gather before a karaoke machine, but they banned “My Way” after an uncle, listening to a friend sing the song at a bar, became enraged at the laughter coming from the next table. The uncle, who was a police officer, pulled out his revolver, after which the customers at the next table quietly paid their bill and left.

Eh hem. ONE karaoke lover is not taking chances.

And then, the rest of the article is about how Karaoke bars in the Philippines are dangerous places regardless of what is being sung. Also, they never go back to the idea that Karaoke kills everywhere. It's that one graf and a transition back to the Philippines.

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