I don’t know when it happened, but I feel like MTV getting into the movie scoop business was a bad thing. It’s not that I don’t like these guys – I have enjoyed my time spent in the company of MTV’s journalists at different events – and it’s not like they don’t break legitimate stories all the time, but they have access dumb sites like CHUD don’t have, and they use that access to get totally bizarre quotes from celebrities who are just pulling things out of their asses.

Which leads me to their latest story, that Johhny Depp and Phillip Seymour Hoffman are ‘in’ as The Riddler and The Penguin in Batman 3. The source: Michael Caine, well known as being the creative powerhouse behind this franchise. His source? A newspaper. And a Warner Bros exec… who even in the quoted response is obviously speculating.

“I was with [a Warner Bros.] executive and I said, ‘Are we going to
make another one?’ They said yeah. I said, ‘How the hell are we going
to top Heath? And he says ‘I’ll tell you how you top Heath — Johnny
Depp as The Riddler and Philip Seymour Hoffman as The Penguin.’ I said,
‘S–t, they’ve done it again!’”

Caine even says in the interview that Nolan is ‘gone’ – on his long post-The Dark Knight vacation – so there isn’t even a villain decided upon, let alone casting done. I mean, Johnny Fucking Depp himself shot this nonsense down last week. At any rate, the mysterious exec talking to Caine is just spitballing ideas.

Maybe it’s me. Maybe it’s fun to get utterly bullshit stories like this and use them to drive bogus traffic to your site. Maybe for people trapped in offices this sort of nonsense is a nice diversion, but to me it’s endlessly irritating. I imagine for many of you it’s the same, like when you’re at the water cooler and that dumb new secretary tell you – somebody who knows a thing or two about movies – that the Riddler is in the next Batman because she saw it in the local Pennysaver and you patiently try to explain that no, Christopher Nolan hasn’t even worked on a script yet. It’s just bad, bogus info.

The only thing interesting is how much of an echo chamber there is here – Caine is reading shit in the papers that came from shit on the internet and now he’s stoking it back on the internet, like its confirmation. Sometimes these echo chambers get so loud that they come true – Hollywood doesn’t care where an idea came from, just that they can make a buck on it – but usually all they do is obscure reality.

With that in mind I’m stepping out of it. Until something more reliable than ‘Michael Caine read it in the paper’ comes up, I’m done linking to sheer bullshit stories about Batman 3. I’d rather give up the hits that these stories bring – and these fuckers are hit magnets – than continue to feed this endless loop of absolute bullshit. I call on other webmasters to prove that they care more about informing their readers than lining their pockets with ad impressions and do the same – lay off the nonsense stories, the stories without decent sourcing, the blatant bullshit Oh Don Piano riffs of actors who won’t know what’s happening in the next film until they see a script, the crass speculation and the blatant lies. Prove that you have some standards and create a scenario where your readers can turn to you for truth, not for unfounded rumor on the level of ‘Obama is a Muslim.’