Tuesday, May 29, 2012
So, this happened. I feel bad for Metafilter, because although I've only made one comment on it, I've read threads seeking advice and they seem like really cool people, especially librarian extraordinaire Jessamyn West. I've never been part of an Internet community where we really discuss personal stuff, it's always been around an interest, so I don't know what it's like to be betrayed like that.
Hoaxers have always fascinated me, because I have barely the energy to live one life, let alone two. It's all I can do some days to say "fine" to "how are you", living a lie would just take so much energy.
Hoaxing on the Internet is easier, because people can't see your body language and you don't have to provide anything physical. On the other hand, there's rarely any money in it. Traditional hoaxers (and the recent group of alleged memoir hoaxers) usually are paid for their trouble, though fame is undoubtedly a consideration.
I figure there are two types of Internet hoaxers, the I-did-it-for-the-lulz-ers and the empathy junkies. The first messes with people to feel powerful. They want to be seen as a former Navy Seal who has sex with super-models on a pile of money made by day trading, but who somehow always has plenty of time to mess with people on the Internet. Like Anonymous, they want people to feel that they could shut off the whole Internet in 10 seconds if it took their fancy.
My guess is that holdkris99 is the latter type, based on his use of two different (and contradictory) stories of abuse, plus social anxiety, familial rejection and recovery from meth addiction. Abuse, having a disease, recovery from addiction, gang membership, being a Holocaust victim or being punished for being a member of an oppressed group all make us want to reach out to someone, it's human nature.
With all the work hoaxers do (holdkris99 was on Metafilter for six years!), do they ever end up doing anything good with their abilities? Not so far as I've ever heard, maybe they just give us what they want at the time, so it could never really stand the test of the ages (ye gods, those fake Vermeers are awful), Judging by what I've read, I don't think holdkris99 has a future in writing, at least the critically acclaimed variety. I mean, just add Jesus to the Green Bay Packers story and you've got some glurge fit for Chicken Soup for the Soul. The touch of having the evil abusive grandpa die falling down the stairs on the way out of his mistress' apartment is just a bridge too far.
On the one hand, I kind of feel sorry for holdkris99, because you feel bad about yourself and want sympathy, so you make something up, but then you feel worse because it's not really FOR YOU, so you need more sympathy. A vicious cycle, really. On the other hand, if he made up abuse, that's really cruel to family members. Does he really think none of his family or anyone they know could figure out the Internet? That stuff's forever, man.