George Bush Sr joins the list of exaggerated deathsby Toby Manhire
The former US president is the latest of many to have received Twain-esque premature obituaries.
Those gasps – the result a “technical mistake”, naturally – were only amplified by the description of Bush the elder as “a colourless politician”.
But the German news mag has plenty of company in “the obituaries hall of shame”, notes Simon Usborne, in a survey of what might be called the Twain Exaggeration genre, for the Independent. (Though the Twain example itself has become routinely exaggerated.)
Bloomberg prematurely eulogised Steve Jobs in 2008. ABC News did the same for Sharon Osbourne in 2004. Folk musician Dave Swarbrick meanwhile “read about his demise in the [Daily Telegraph] while recuperating in a Midlands hospital in 1999”.
The same paper also got it wrong with aristocrat Cockie Hoogterp. She “survived her Telegraph obit by more than 50 years, during which time she returned her subscription bills marked ‘Deceased’.”
The lowest rung in the hall of shame belongs to CNN, which accidentally revealed a slew of pre-cooked obituaries on its site in 2003, complete with template errors that saw elements of the Queen Mother’s obituary attributed to others.
“Thus the site noted the Pope's ‘love of racing’ and described Dick Cheney as the ‘UK's favourite grandmother’.”
Meanwhile a search of Papers Past serves up this, from the Auckland Star in 1902:
I predicted Bill English would lose the election and the winner would be Winston Peters. But no forecaster, including the PM, predicted her pregnancy.Read more
New essays on New Zealand-born US artist Len Lye elevate him to the status of Australasia’s most notable 20th-century artist.Read more
For about a third of infertility cases in New Zealand, there is no obvious reason why seemingly fertile couples struggle to conceive.Read more
More than one million images from Rykenberg Photography, taken around Auckland, are now in the Auckland Libraries Collection. But who are the people?Read more
A Golden Bay man spending his first night in his new house says he woke to find his bed, walls and floor covered in hundreds of creepy crawlies.Read more
There's a growing movement to stop the amount of wasteful plastic that goes into our oceans, but what about the tiny bits we can hardly see?Read more
The inconvenience to chlorine refuseniks is tiny compared with the risk of more suffering and tragedy from another Havelock North-style contamination.Read more