…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.