People fall for Internet hoaxes all the time. But it's usually for reasons like, "OMG Starbucks hates the troops?!!" or "Obama finally admitted he hates America!" — because someone wants to believe something.
But why so many people fell for this, I'll never understand.
To be fair, I realize that I've probably seen all three Back to the Future movies more than Robert Zemeckis has. I can recite every line and every sound effect. I totally geek out on this trilogy. I try to keep that in mind.
Even so, several things still puzzle me:
1) Back to the Future isn't exactly a cult phenomenon. My Facebook feed is often clogged with references to obscure sci-fi shows or other series with slavish fanbases that I've never seen. I miss those references, but I get that others appreciate them. But while I get that there are people who haven't seen the films (or at least not enough to absorb every detail), Back to the Future is ingrained in the American imagination for all time. The DeLorean will always be a time machine. "Hello, McFly" remains a catchphrase. Flux capacitor. 1.21 gigawatts. The fact that people pronounce it "jigowatts." Hoverboards. "The Power of Love." Making out with your mother. OK, maybe the last one didn't catch on. The point is, this is a major detail of a major film series that I wouldn't expect a casual observer to get wrong, let alone fans.
2) It's obviously photoshopped. Compare the numeral 2 from the 2012 date to the 2 on the time just to the right of it. Different. Case closed. The times shown on the display indicate that this screen shot is from the beginning of the first film, whereas they travel to the future — specifically, Oct. 21, 2015 — in the second film. That's obscure and I'm rolling my eyes at myself just typing it, but no sense in ignoring that discrepancy.
The irony (paradox?) of yesterday's date is that it's a photoshop fail because it looks better than the actual display did in either sequel. There are times in II and III where the month looks like it's printed on a piece of paper. They should have traveled to the future and brought back some CGI.
3) What was the original artist's point? Why would someone have perpetrated this hoax in purpose? To look like an idiot two seconds later when someone debunked it? Well, that didn't happen. I'm guessing the original artist made this for a different reason (such as a blog) and it just got picked up as real. I hope so. Because there are much more obscure movie memes to fake successfully.
4) I get it. I'm a BTTF nerd. Even so, I still feel like anyone with a passing familiarity with the films remembers that they went only to years that ended in 5 — 1985, 1955, 2015, 1885. Try not to read any of those years without either Michael J. Fox or Christopher Lloyd gloriously chewing them up.
The good news is, this error gives us a little over three years to rectify most people's genuine reaction to this hoax: "Look how wrong they got the future!"
There's still hope. Get on it, Mattel.