Ah, The Onion. I haven’t used them in a while for my Friday Fun and it was feeling like it was way overdue.
As usual, classic stuff: Historians Admit To Inventing Ancient Greeks:
A group of leading historians held a press conference Monday at the National Geographic Society to announce they had “entirely fabricated” ancient Greece, a culture long thought to be the intellectual basis of Western civilization.
The group acknowledged that the idea of a sophisticated, flourishing society existing in Greece more than two millennia ago was a complete fiction created by a team of some two dozen historians, anthropologists, and classicists who worked nonstop between 1971 and 1974 to forge “Greek” documents and artifacts.”
And lest people think that this frivolous article has no bearing on the weighty issues of the day in terms of scholarly communications…
“Honestly, we never meant for things to go this far,” said Professor Gene Haddlebury, who has offered to resign his position as chair of Hellenic Studies at Georgetown University. “We were young and trying to advance our careers, so we just started making things up: Homer, Aristotle, Socrates, Hippocrates, the lever and fulcrum, rhetoric, ethics, all the different kinds of columns–everything.”
See! They were driven to perpetrate the greatest hoax of our times by research metrics!
And there’s even science-y content too:
“Geometry? That was all Kevin,” said Haddlebury, referring to former graduate student Kevin Davenport. “Man, that kid was on fire in those days. They teach Davenportian geometry in high schools now, though of course they call it Euclidean.”
(As a counterpoint to this article, check out this slightly older Onion piece: Archaeologists Unearth Lousiest Civilization Ever.)