Talk:Paul is dead

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Former featured article candidate Paul is dead is a former featured article candidate. Please view the links under Article milestones below to see why the nomination failed. For older candidates, please check the archive.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
April 7, 2006 Featured article candidate Not promoted
August 5, 2007 Articles for deletion Kept
Current status: Former featured article candidate
WikiProject The Beatles (Rated B-class, High-importance)
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WikiProject Death (Rated B-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Death, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Death on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.
 


I have to ask[edit]

This has been bothering me. Assume for a moment that the article is true: that Paul died and the Beatles decide to cover it up. Then why in God's name would they leave clues about it? What do the believers in this conspiracy theory claim in answer to that? Kimpire (talk) 10:04, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

Don't bring logic to this party, my friend - you will be very lonely. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 19:14, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
One explanation was that they were testing the fans' perceptiveness. Another was that they were breaking the news slowly to save fans from overwhelming grief. Look at what happened when they just blurted out that Zayn was leaving One Direction, you can't have that. Piriczki (talk) 22:03, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
If by "explanation" you mean "wild, groundless flights of fancy" then, yes, those are explanations. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 23:02, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
Do you have sources for those explanations? Because I think it's a large hole in the article (not to mention the theory ;) ) and would be valuable additions. Perhaps a "Why they left clues" sort of subsection. Kimpire (talk) 04:32, 4 June 2015 (UTC)
There is a hole in the article, perhaps, but not in the theory; in the context of such conspiracy theories concerning the alleged actions of the Illuminati, there is an element of Satanic philosophy termed "Satanic mockery", whereby the acting entity (in this case MI5, according to the Paul is dead theory) would have been deriving morbid satisfaction/amusement from blatantly, arrogantly hinting at what they had done. WikiEditorial101 (talk) 23:39, 28 May 2016 (UTC)
I've wondered about that for almost as long as I've been aware of the whole thing.... ;) PurpleChez (talk) 18:01, 1 April 2017 (UTC)

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Conspiracy theory vs. urban legend[edit]

A conspiracy theory, of course, is a hypothesis that offers a conspiracy as an explanation—an urban legend is a tale, and is not by definition conspiratorial in nature. Paul is dead is a conspiracy theory, as it rests soley on the alleged/proposed basis that some group conspired to replace Paul McCartney; urban legends are stories, and though urban legends share the characteristic of not being proven/known to be real, urban legends do not characteristically involve deception or conspiritorial acts, nor do they characteristically offer any form of evidence, circumstantial or otherwise, in an attempt to prove that said tales were factual accounts; hence the entire concept of an urban legend, which is a story some guy tells in a bar that he heard from some other guy somewhere; an urban legend is easily distinguishable from a conspiracy in that urban legends are not based on even disprovable reasoning or assertions, but on no attempts to provide evidence to support assertions of factuality at all. I have removed any mention of "urban legend" from the lead and have left "conspiracy theory" as it was. I encourage any discussion here. WikiEditorial101 (talk) 21:20, 31 May 2016 (UTC)

Good points all. An urban legend is, by nature, vague about its origins and parties involved. "Paul is dead" is very specific and an allegation of a conspiracy by very specific people. --Escape Orbit (Talk) 22:39, 31 May 2016 (UTC)
By the time the "Paul is dead" rumor gained widespread notoriety in 1969, it had been over two years since McCartney had supposedly died. This begged the obvious question—what about all the public appearances and music created by McCartney over the past two years? There were three primary explanations offered for this inconvenient truth. One was that Paul was dead and had been replaced by a look-alike. Another was that was Paul was not dead and the Beatles were perpetuating a hoax. The other, the one shared by most rational people, was that Paul was not dead and that the supposed clues were the product of some very vivid imaginations. And those rational people that do consider one of the former explanations mostly do so as a fanciful diversion or light entertainment without any serious belief they are true. The treatment of the rumor as form of mild amusement likens it more closely to an urban legend than a conspiracy theory which generally portends something far more sinister. From 2006 to 2014, the lead sentence read "'Paul is dead' is an urban legend..." That version was stable for 8 years and over 3,000 edits which can be assumed to be a form of consensus. The additional text "and a conspiracy theory" was added by an anonymous IP without explanation in 2014. Since the urban legend contains elements of a conspiracy theory, that addition was not unreasonable. However, to identify the rumor as a conspiracy theory rather than an urban legend is misleading.
Also, the first sentence of the section Paul is dead#Beginnings refers to an actual event that occurred on January 7, 1967, not the fictional backstory that developed later that concocted a November 1966 car crash. This edit, where "January 1967" was changed to "January 1966" demonstrates a lack of basic knowledge about the subject of this article and apparently reading the source did not result in any understanding. Piriczki (talk) 14:17, 5 June 2016 (UTC)
Agree with the above: It's definitely an urban legend. Whether it's also a conspiracy theory is debatable (in my opinion that's way too serious a term for this frivolity) but we absolutely must have "urban legend" in the introduction. The argument that "urban legend" remained through 3000 edits over many years is a compelling one, as well. I'm going to return it. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 15:25, 5 June 2016 (UTC)
Also good points. I'm still of the opinion that this is more conspiracy theory than urban legend, but don't have a big issue with it being described either way. --Escape Orbit (Talk) 19:51, 6 June 2016 (UTC)

Query about context[edit]

I've tried to provide a very small piece of context to this conspiracy theory - that it is common for rumors of unannounced deaths to attach themselves to celebrities. I'm not into edit-warring, but I would like to know why it should be excluded. There seems to be a suggestion that The Guardian is not a reliable source (if I read aright) - is this considered to be the case? The Guardian article offers a list of strange celeb rumors, moving straight onto McCartney after mentioning Lavigne: the reader is quite clearly intended to observe the similarity of the two cases and the similarity of the psychology and environment which produces these stories. Given that both stories are inventions, I am struggling to imagine exactly how a legitimate 'link' could be established between the two beyond observing their essential identity. Are we absolutely certain that neutrality is being observed here, given that it is very much to the advantage of conspiracy theorists to give the impression that their theory is special and unique, and not one of a million humdrum yarns which are spun every day? It seems misleading to have a long article on this subject with no contextual recognition that such stories are common across the board. Surely even a small amount of context should be considered enlightening. Cpaaoi (talk) 22:53, 16 May 2017 (UTC)

For the sake of clarity, here's some sources which mention the Paul McCartney story in tandem with the Avril Lavigne story, as well as others relating to people such as Eminem and Tupac:

CBC News, http://www.cbc.ca/news/entertainment/avril-lavigne-hoax-persists-1.4118140 The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/shortcuts/2017/may/15/avril-lavigne-melissa-cloning-conspiracy-theories The Mirror, http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/avril-lavigne-died-twelve-years-10425308 Esquire, http://www.esquire.co.uk/culture/news/a14920/internet-thinks-avril-lavigne-been-replaced-by-doppelganger/

Reading the article as it is, with no indication of the breadth of similar rumors, one could easily imagine that there might actually be something substantial to the 'Paul is Dead' myth, which seems pretty questionable.Cpaaoi (talk) 00:00, 17 May 2017 (UTC)

I agree that the mention is a legitimate addition to this article, with the sources that make the connection. I have returned it. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 01:00, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
There is only one source, The Guardian that makes the connection. But the edit summary did not make that clear, as I explain below. Dr. K. 12:09, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
@Cpaaoi: There would be no need to open this thread on the talkpage, had your edit summary mentioned that the second reference also included Paul's case. If you had mentioned that the second reference compares this to Paul's case I would not have reverted your addition. But your edit summary only mentioned that you added the second (previous) reference 'for the full name of Vandella", not because of the connection to this article. Complete and clear edit-summaries help. Dr. K. 12:09, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
Although I admit I've done it myself (life is short and wiki-editing time is limited) it's not a great idea to revert somebody's edit without reading it and checking that the source supported it. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 12:39, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
(edit conflict) It was not as simple as that. Of course I read it. How could I revert it without reading it? But there were a couple of edit-summary exchanges prior to my reversion that misled me. The OP of this thread was reverted first by another editor who specifically challenged the source provided: Sourrce does not mention any "link" to this phenomenon. In response, the OP re-adds the same edit and an additional reference without addressing the challenge by the previous reverting editor directly: Fair enough - but this one certainly does place the Lavigne theory in the same tradition as the McCartney story. Quite happy to take this to the talk page if you would like to discuss. Also including the previous ref, for the full name of Vandella That lack of direct response to the challenge, and the offer to discuss this on the talkpage, led me to believe that there was no direct mention of Paul's case in the second source either since I had already checked the first source and it did not include any mention of Paul. Normally, if a source satisfies a challenge, one mentions it in the edit summary. One doesn't offer to discuss on the talkpage if an RS already covers the fact added to the article. So we go back to the edit-summary. Dr. K. 13:11, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
The problem I have with this is its notability seems to be predicated on the notion of "similar rumors concerning other celebrities." If it's just Avril Lavigne then just say that. I don't object to this being in the article but don't overstate the facts. The sources mention Taylor Swift and Beyonce but that seems like a stretch, being about cloning and the illuminati. Piriczki (talk) 13:01, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
I agree. Any descriptive text added to introduce the Lavigne case may easily become OR if we are not careful to follow what the RS says. Another concern is that this article may slowly become a list of similar phenomena if we keep adding new rumours. Dr. K. 17:07, 17 May 2017 (UTC)

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