Part 1: Jean Shepherd's "I Libertine" Literary Hoax
New York radio personality Jean Shepherd had a midnight to 5:30 AM show on station WOR in the early 1950s. He and his listeners created the "I Libertine" hoax. Unlike most hoaxes in which a few conspirators are involved, this one involved anyone who listened to Shepherd's late night show. It worked because those who listened to late night radio were separate from the mass of daytime people. Shepherd's purpose was to raise skepticism about fads and popularity and show these could be produced artificially. The demonstration remains relevant for a wide range of phenomena, even financial bubbles, which rely on imitative behavior, once an idea is planted. This is part 1; the story continues on part 2. Shepherd related this story in a radio interview in the mid-1960s.
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