Posted by: Kate | January 29, 2009

Every Time a Blogger Dies…

…a conspiracy threory gets its wings.

I’ve just lost two hours of a perfectly good, potentially productive sort of morning, following threads and message board posts and links about a Big Dramatic Thing in the Internet world.  Short version: a woman who, while if not yet popular than at least on her way to becoming so, was building a name for herself as a knitwear and handbags designer.  She had several projects going on, selling patterns and starting purchasing-club sorts of things, when suddenly she posted that she was having horrible lupus flare-ups, and a month later, the news broke that she had died.  There was the low-grade angst that you have, whenever someone familiar has died, even though it was all a distant, online, oh-that’s-too-bad sort of feeling.  And there were memorial funds, and purchasing of patterns for charity, and donations for her kids, and so on.

Lo, and a year later, it has been discovered that she didn’t actually die.  She faked it to get out of the complicated business situation she was in, but has now started reposting with the same original email address.  She went through the effort of changing names, but couldn’t be bothered to swing by Gmail before launching herself back upon the world.  Which, frankly, to me, that’s the worst part.  It’s one thing to be all slimy and underhanded and Munchausen-by-Internet, it’s another to be stupid about it.

And it reminds me of all of the other times – not like there’s a ton because we’re all actually immortal, right? – when a blogger has died.  Within moments, someone pipes up with, “Yeah, but what if he didn’t really die?”  And then there’s moral outrage, and posted copies of obituaries, and people feeling sad and sympathetic now also feeling either threatened (“You mean, my well-intentioned sympathy might have been elicited by underhanded means?”) or righteous (“How dare you even begin to question the veracity of such a tragedy?  I didn’t question it, so why should you?”).  Most of the time, it fades soon enough, because most people are basically honest and lack the central motivation and energy for something as complicated and complete as faking one’s death.  (Even Paul of York just simply stops posting, instead of pretending he has kicked the bucket!  And, hi, Paul!)

But there’s always that 1%, that fringe, to remind you that a little cynicism and fact-finding is not only healthy, but might just save out on a little indignation down the road.

So.  I’m going to go try and get something done, now, because I’ve carefully closed down the windows that contained the ever-expanding threads with all of the exclamation points and suspicion.  And if the unthinkable ever happens and I DO die, I’ll have you all know that my husband can and will post here to let you know, and he hereby has my permission to post the death certificate at the same time as advertising my yarn stash for sale.

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Responses

  1. God that’s awful. What a con! You’re right in a way, though we trust so implicitly on the blogs. I take people at face value and would be shattered to find they’re not who they say they are. Call me naive but that’s just the way I am. My kids have similar instructions should I kick the bucket.

  2. I wonder what your perspective is on what causes a person to do something like this, as in are they described in the DSM?

    This drama has been nothing but a time suck for me, I’ll be glad when I can tear myself away. I bet there’s an entry in the DSM over that too.

  3. It is sad how sick some people are. There was a recent kerflufle among Chinese adoption blogs because someone faked a blog claiming to be waiting. Every picture she posted claiming to be her home, family’s crafts, meals, etc… were sourced back to other sites on the web. Of course that meant someone took the time to find all the same photos to out her. She pretty much gave herself away by making some outrageous claims that didn’t fit the process of adopting from China.

  4. ugh. i lost about an hour and a half, myself. i’m still kinda stunned, although i didn’t get suckered into either the memorial fund or the knitalongs. how does one believe that this kind of behavior is acceptable?

    i didn’t read all of the lsg thread, just hopped back to the knittyboard and read all 20 pages of that thread.

    i feel bad for everyone whose feelings were hurt, and everyone who got scammed (paid $$, got nothing) by this person.

  5. I also got sidetracked by those threads. There is something about human beings that makes us enjoy drama and a bit of voyeurism… it’s not one of the better sides of my personality, but I know it’s there.

    When I read something like this, I wonder what the person who did the deed was thinking. Were they desperate? Did they feel compelled to do what they did, then needed a way out? Did they do it to hurt people and giggle at the stupid suckers who bought into the fiction? Were they having serious psychological problems? It’s impossible to tell.

  6. […] Filed under: randomness — cusegirlknits @ 8:09 pm Okay, head this (because Kate says it so much better than I could) and tell me your […]

  7. I came home from work today, logged into facebook, and stumbled upon the controversy. I spent the next 2 hours reading the drama. I finally had to just close the laptop and get on with my evening. It’s so easy to get swept up in all that crap.

  8. I saw you in one of the threads but I’ve always been more of a lurker than a poster, on the bright side I’ve discovered another knitting board..

  9. Oof, I lost several hours last night catching up. What craziness.

  10. Yours is the best synopsis of the saga that I’ve read. I did read most of the Knitty thread, and a bit of the LSG thread, but it’s not like I had a whole lot of time myself to immerse in this drama (although the “boobie” fun got personal there for a few minutes!).

    I had sent a front page of the local newspaper for her daughter’s first birthday (supposedly, but why else would you want something like that?) but other than that wasn’t involved. Sad part is, her talent as a designer seems to be considerable (although I’m not a sock knitter) so it’s even more of shame…she could have been “famous” rather than “infamous.”

  11. Karma will get her.


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