Friday, September 7, 2012

Fake

The other day when I wrote the post about Les Miserables, I almost added something very bitchy at the end.  Maybe I even wrote it; then deleted it. I can't remember. 

I was about to say that I used to read this blog. I suspected it was fake.  One of the reasons is the blogger provided a recording of his daughter singing a Les Miserables song, and it sounded very much like a professional recording I heard before.

Or maybe, actually...I'm remembering wrong.  Maybe it was an Annie song?

No, I think it was Les Miserables.  I'm pretty sure it was "Castle on A Cloud".

I decided not to post that bit of my post. I wasn't 100% sure this guy was fake...not even 75%.

It would be horrible to accuse someone real of being fake.

Although truth be told, I was being a bit paranoid. I've had no indication that he's been reading my blog lately.    

Today I went to a blog I haven't visited in a long time.  Her posts are blocked now. I can see only the titles. The first post title referred to this blogger (Jeff D'Antonio) and outed him as fake.

Shit.

A part of me felt good...vindicated.  Aha!  I can spot the fakes! I can trust my intuition.

Plus, Jeff rubbed me the wrong way. I had stopped reading his blog a long time ago.  

He was so self-righteous and dramatic. If he was real, I'd feel bad feeling that way because he had such a hard life.  And he was heroic. His best friend died of cancer. He and his wife adopted the best friend's daughter.  They brought comfort to other people with cancer. 

What kind of bitch dislikes a man like that?

It wasn't the Les Miserables thing that first made me suspicious.

It was this story about finding a letter from the deceased friend. She had surprised them all with a trip to Disney World.  It was beautiful, but something about it seemed unreal.

Then there was the fact that the blog didn't have a lot of photos.

I find it's easier to trust bloggers who have photographs.

That's not to say I distrust all bloggers who don't provide photos of themselves.

I've never seen a photograph of Andrew.  Yet I trust him as much as I trust most people, which is never 100%, but can get up into the 90's at times.   

The thing is, Andrew has never said anything that's made my guard go up.   He's never said anything to me that's suspicious or overly fanciful.  He doesn't claim to be incredibly good-looking. He doesn't claim to be heroic.

He lives the life of an Aussie blogger; not the life of a soap opera character.

Some REAL people do live soap opera lives. And they blog about it. I have one in mind.   I'm not going to name names. But I have a lot of trust in her, because she has a lot of photos of her family.    Without the photos, I might have felt some bits of suspicion. The reason is her blog deals with illness. And I think this fake-blogger syndrome often includes chronic and/or fatal illness.

I'm sure there are thousands upon thousands of real people suffering with illness who are blogging.   Unfortunately, the fakes are going to continue to break down trust.  So they probably need to NOT hide their face like Andrew does.  

Anyway, back to the story of finding out the guy was fake.

As I said, I had mixed feelings. I wasn't simply proud of my intuition.

I felt guilty.

Should I have shared my suspicions with people, especially people that I knew had a lot of trust and emotional investment in this guy?   Should I have dug deeper?   Should I have investigated?

Should I have publicly accused him of being a fake?

I didn't do any of that.

I kept quiet.

Why?

I wasn't 100% sure of his fakeness, and I would hate to make accusations against someone who's real.

I went to one of my old posts that I remembered him commenting on. I remembered it because his comment had annoyed me.

I let him know he annoyed me, but didn't let him know I thought he was fake.  Did I not know at that point?

I don't know.

I'm pretty sure I already suspected...at least to some degree.

Yet I was all nice to him after he shared a link back to one of his blog posts. It contained some kind of inspirational spiritual story.    

I don't know if I was being fake at that point, or if his story had warmed my heart.   I can't remember what the story was about.  And his blog is now gone, so I can't click on the link.  

His comment to me was very dismissive....invalidating. I told the story of how I went a bit nuts in 2007 and 2008 and had convinced myself I was going to die.

Part of his comment said.

But I've seen up close what it looks like when that fear becomes a tragic reality for someone...

The irrational fear that we all have doesn't even begin to compare. Not by a long shot. 

Yeah. Weird American. Your silly fears are nothing compared to my beloved friend REALLY dying.   Let's not forget MY blog contains the real drama.

Of course not all problems are equal.  But if I post about a cut on my toe, I don't need people writing to remind me that their blog contains stories of cancer, earthquakes, drownings, demonic possession, etc.  

Here's part of my response to him.

Of course a fear of something doesn't compare to the actual thing happening.

Getting stung by a wasp is probably much worse than my FEAR of getting stung by a wasp.

My fear of having a miscarriage when I was pregnant with Jack is nothing compared to the pain of mothers who actually DO lose their babies.

This is all stating the obvious though, isn't it?

But our fear comes from knowing that these things actually DO happen.

He then apologized and linked to a story from his blog.

Part of my response to that:  Anyway, your spiritual experiences are beautiful. I've had things like that happen--probably not as profound as your experience. But I've had dreams and little coincidences that make me believe there's something out there.

If I was believing he was real when I wrote that, I bet I felt all inferior because my spiritual stories are usually quite silly. I have amazing coincidences in my life, but they make no sense.   There's no tear-jerker conclusions.  It's usually more like, WTF was that all about?  

Here's an example from this week.  We bought the game Apples to Apples.  One time Jack and I were playing around with the cards. We came across a card that said Crazy Horse. I really had no idea who that was. Yes.  I'm ignorant. Sorry. But anyway, it was something not familiar to me.   

That was all a day or two ago.

Then today I responded to an email. I reread it and it mentioned Crazy Horse.

See, though?  It's a coincidence, but not an amazing and emotional one.

Anyway....

I'm getting off track here.

I wanted to talk about the invalidation stuff.

I think our guard should go up if someone tries to upstage us with their tragedies.  First of all, at the very least, it's rude. 

Second, it's elitist.  That's weird to say.  I know.  But as some people feel superior because they're wealthy or talented or are best friends with celebrities,other people feel superior because they have an illness, injury, or disability. 

No, you shouldn't frequently complain to your friend with pancreatic cancer that you have heartburn and hate the taste of Tums.  But if every time you mention your problems, that friend reminds you that they have cancer?   Well, I think it's a matter of them not wanting you to stand in their limelight.

There's also this. When I first started blogging, there was another fake cancer girl. It was a big drama when she came out of the pretender-closet. One of the stories I remember reading is that she told another patient with cancer that she (the faker) had worse cancer.

What kind of person says that to another person?

Yes, some cancer IS worse than other cancers. But it doesn't need to be said.

Not that two examples equals a trend. But I'm wondering if those who fake illness have a tendency to be competitive about it.  

Why do people fake illnesses and create blogs?

Obviously they want attention.

I can't blame them for that.

But I will blame them for their extremely cruel and unethical actions.

It's definitely not a victimless crime.

No physical harm is involved, but there's a ton of emotional harm.

Fortunately, for unsure cowards like me don't need to rock the boat, I found a link to a site that does the dirty work for us.

They have the story of Jeff D'Antonio.  If anyone wants the guilty pleasure of learning more about the drama. 

I was just thinking about Tallygarunga.

There's a bunch of people on there pretending to be wizards. Like Jeff D'Antonio, they're all a bunch of fakers.

Ah...but there's a difference. They're honest about their dishonesty. It's called fiction.

There's nothing wrong with making up stories.  I love made-up stories. But it's important to be upfront about it.