Last week, I wrote a post about the sale of Kosher-for-Pesach gasoline in Teaneck. The article I cited was, of course, not factual, and was simply making the rounds for Purim. I confess that at the time I posted it I suspected, but was not certain, that this was the case. Besides, I figured it would make for good fun in either case. After all, on its face, the prohibition on gasoline seemed no more or less farcical than the prohibition on water from the Kinneret (because fisherman fish in it with bread or other chametz), or the prohibition on Brooklyn water because of non-kosher organisms that needed to be filtered out.
Since then, the article, ostensibly published in the non-existent Bergen County Jewish Times, has made its way out of the small Jewish pond. I encountered it today at one of the most popular economics blogs on the web, Marginal Revolution. It appears that they too, were taken in, as they quoted the fake article in their ‘Markets in Everything’ feature.
How did MR get wind of this? They credit Brendan Nyhan, who runs a fine political blog, but I could not find any mention of this article on his blog – Brendan, if you see this, do you mind posting in the comments about how you got the article, and what made you send it on to MR? In any case, Marginal Revolution was eventually clued in to the humorous nature of the article, and to their credit, they posted a link to Rabbi Mark Ankorn’s debunking of the story.
I don’t know if this story comes with a moral, but its worth noting how quickly our meshugas reaches outside of the walls of our parish and into the broader world.