December 11, 2017

"If you’re going to make up an entire false identity, why would you make yourself into a shitty person?"

Key question in the tl;dr Deadspin piece, "Teen Girl Posed For 8 Years As Married Man To Write About Baseball And Harass Women."

I got there from Metafilter, which sums it up like this:
A 13-year-old girl managed to become a writer for on-line sports publications. She pretended to be a man and kept up the masquerade for eight years. During this time she harassed and insulted women on line, even getting nude photos from a few before being exposed....  
As for that question I put in the title — "If you’re going to make up an entire false identity, why would you make yourself into a shitty person?" — I've got to say that every time I've contemplated writing through an alter ego — on another blog or as a sock puppet here — the attraction was being a shitty person.

To be clear, I never wanted to do this for the purpose of engaging in bad behavior or hurting anyone in any way, and in fact, I never have created an alter ego. But to the extent that I've been interested in adopting a fictional persona as a writing experiment, I wanted to be a "shitty person."

It would be like writing a novel and creating a great villain. Who writes a novel for the purpose of showing a wonderful, saintly person? I know there are such characters in fiction, but I think novelists create them for the purpose of torturing them, so the novelist, along with his readers, are getting off on the sadism.

I'm not saying that's good. As the grand mufti said in the context of film: fiction is a source of depravity.

79 comments:

traditionalguy said...

Ah, ha. We always suspected The Professor was Shouting Thomas.

rehajm said...

On the internet nobody knows you're not a dog.

Michael K said...

She was a 13 year old girl for 8 years? Pretty impressive,.

Nonapod said...

13 year old girl posing as a married man, huh? On the internet, it's usually the other way round.

Ken B said...

So you're saying TTR is *real*??

Gahrie said...

Well, now we know why she liked Crack Emcee so much.

rhhardin said...

The hero disposes off all the henchmen easily with various weapons but it's always a fist fight to get rid of the villain. Which fight the hero nearly loses but bounces back.

Or in the modern version his injured and up-till-now out-of-it girlfriend shoots the villain and saves the hero.

These are moral lessons.

The cool thing is red sprayed on whatever is behind the bad guys as they get shot.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Who writes a novel for the purpose of showing a wonderful, saintly person?

You haven't read a lot of what passes for literature these days.

FIDO said...

Villains get the best lines. Who remembers a damn word Kevin Costner said in 'Robin Hood'. Everyone remembers the Sheriff. 'I'll cut your heart out with a spoon!" "Make the stitches small". To two women 'You come to my chambers at 8, you come at nine...and bring a friend."

No, I didn't do a look up.

Bill Peschel said...

Frequently, I've heard actors talk about the fun of playing the villain instead of the hero. The villain breaks society's rules, sometimes for good reasons. For example, Michael Keaton in "Spider-Man: Homecoming", plays an ordinary blue-collar worker who gets shafted and nearly bankrupt by Stark Industries and the government taking his clean-up contract from him.

Even Shakespeare put in the mouth of one of his kings that he'd rather have his enemies close by, because he knows they'll tell more truthful things than his ass-kissing friends.

rhhardin said...

Old Westerns didn't do the red-spray thing when somebody got shot. You just plugged the guy and he fell down.

They lost their audience as a result.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Judging and labelling other humans to be Shitty People seems to be both a cottage industry and a popular hobby these days. The sanctimony and scolding is so crushingly boring.

I think the kid has a wonderful imagination. Good for her.

Mr Wibble said...

The Greater-Internet-F-wad-Theory.

Normal Person + Audience + Anonymity = Total F-wad.

https://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/19

Ray said...

Life is stranger than fiction!

She is now a sophomore at a college, I assume she is 21 years old.

Nonapod said...

@I Have Misplaced My Pants: To be fair, she catfished women into sending nude pictures by claiming he/she'd hurt him(her)self if they didn't.

Kevin said...

"If you’re going to make up an entire false identity, why would you make yourself into a shitty person?"

Anyone who reads just a few comment threads on the web knows this is the rule rather than the exception.

tim in vermont said...

I read about her a while ago. Forgive everything she did as a teenager, and give that girl a job. There are very few women sports commentators who seem to have the least clue. It took ten years for that lady who shared the Yankees radio broadcasts to sound like she knew anything about baseball, for example.

tim in vermont said...

Who writes a novel for the purpose of showing a wonderful, saintly person?

Obama's auto-hagiography comes to mind....

Yancey Ward said...

How do we know this person isn't just pretending to be a 13 year-old girl who pretended to be a married male sports fan?

Robert Cook said...

"Ah, ha. We always suspected The Professor was Shouting Thomas."

Hahahahaha!

Robert Cook said...

"Who writes a novel for the purpose of showing a wonderful, saintly person?"

Wasn't this Dosteyevsky's purpose in writing THE IDIOT?

exiledonmainstreet said...

Bill Peschel said...
Frequently, I've heard actors talk about the fun of playing the villain instead of the hero."

Who wouldn't rather play Iago rather than Othello?

tim in vermont said...

All the torturing of the hero is about proving his worth in the end. But you are right, there probably is a subliminal element of sadism in it, as they say at novelist school, you can never be too hard on the hero, short of killing him before he complete's his quest, and in "The Princess Bride," the guy even wrote himself out of that corner.

tim in vermont said...

In the movie "Die Hard" the villains were the only people with any brains. If you wanted to make a Pink Panther movie, you could have just substituted Peter Sellers for Bruce Willis, and hardly changed the script at all, certainly no changes to the plot would have been required.

Freeman Hunt said...

A teenager trolled people? No, it cannot be! I'm shocked, shocked!

How is this news?

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

@Nonapod-it's not exactly behavior that I would encourage or approve of in someone whose moral instruction I am responsible for, but I have little sympathy for any pinheaded women who chose to cooperate with being manipulated into sending nudes. They liked the attention and the drama or they would have shut off the computer and walked away.

tim in vermont said...

"Die Hard" would have made a good "Naked Gun" movie too. Maybe better than a Pink Panther movie, now that I think about it.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Mr Wibble said...

The Greater-Internet-F-wad-Theory.

Normal Person + Audience + Anonymity = Total F-wad.


So what happens if, instead of starting as a Normal Person, you start as a Total F-wad? ( asking for a friend... )

Freeman Hunt said...

Why would an adult send a nude pic to a stranger because they thought the stranger might hurt himself?

"If you don't send me a nude, I'll kill myself."
"That's weird. Hope you don't! Cheers!"

FIDO said...

Sheriff of Nottingham: Just a minute. Robin Hood steals money from my pocket, forcing me to hurt the public, and they love him for it?

[Scribe nods]

Sheriff of Nottingham: That's it then. Cancel the kitchen scraps for lepers and orphans, no more merciful beheadings, and call off Christmas.

traditionalguy said...

Actually John Steinbeck wrote several noble men into a great work of fiction next to evil personified in a woman. East of Eden takes on Cain and Able and plenty more.

tim in vermont said...

"If you don't send me a nude, I'll kill myself."
"That's weird. Hope you don't! Cheers!"


Reminds me of a George Carlin routine:

Phone rings, George answers "Hello, who is this?"

"Jane."

"Jane who?"

"Jane."

"I still don't remember you."

"Sure you do, remember, you said I was a good sport."

"Maybe..."

"Well, I'm pregnant, and if you don't marry me, I'm going to kill myself."

"Gee Jane, you are a good sport!"

Mr Wibble said...

So what happens if, instead of starting as a Normal Person, you start as a Total F-wad? ( asking for a friend... )

You get 4chan.

Rick said...

"That's weird. Hope you don't! Cheers!"

I've never understood why people give in. An ex girlfriend once banged her head on a dorm wall and told a mutual friend she wouldn't stop until I showed up. I told the friend I wasn't coming and she acted like this somehow made it my fault. I mean seriously, she'll stop when it starts to hurt right?

So when the friend asks what she's supposed to do I say call the police, what else? I felt bad for the friend but she wasn't helping the situation. When there is noting you can do it's counterproductive to pretend a satisfactory answer exists.

mockturtle said...

Being a shitty person works for Inga.

Inga said...

“Ah, ha. We always suspected The Professor was Shouting Thomas."

“Hahahahaha!”

I don’t think Althouse would ever yell “FAG HAG!” at herself, even as an shitty persona. LOL.

Inga said...

“Being a shitty person works for Inga.”

Being a boring person works for Mockturtle.

Rick said...

If you’re going to make up an entire false identity, why would you make yourself into a shitty person?

You're told by everyone around you that's how men are and you're trying to be authentic.

Ambrose said...

She was a teen for 8 years? - now that's newsworthy.

JMW Turner said...

Ah,the irascible genius of George Carlin...

FIDO said...

Honest and intellectually consistent is frequently mistaken for boring by the ADD set.

Unknown said...

Maybe she thought this was a plausible personality for a sportswriter.

FIDO said...


She was a teen for 8 years? - now that's newsworthy.

Not really. My sister was 29 for more than 11 years. She's been 35 for the last 6

Richard Dolan said...

13 is a bit young for finding pleasure in nostalgie de la boue. Easier to understand in AA's case, even if it was just a daydream of sorts.

Larry J said...

I've read of women complaining about being harassed by men on the Internet. I wonder how many of those harassers were actually other women? It'd be similar to the countless examples of racial incidents being done by a minority to "raise awareness" or some other such nonsense.

Ken B said...

One made up identity, who is a terrible person, is Rose McGowan, Victim.

CJinPA said...

...on Monday night, four writers began searching for the wife to whom he constantly referred to offer support to her and their two supposed children. They feared Ryan’s erratic and harmful behavior might be affecting his family most.

Women upset over crude jokes sought out 'his' wife, but only to "offer support"...?

They couldn’t, though, find any evidence that his wife, Blair, even existed. Then they realized that the university Ryan said he was attending while working on his pharmaceutical degree didn’t have a pharmacology school. Finally, after looking at the Facebook pages of Ryan’s family members, they realized that he was not mentioned by any of them and wasn’t in photos with the children he had presented as his...

Once again, this is a story in which everyone sounds like a creep.

Ann Althouse said...

“Wasn't this Dosteyevsky's purpose in writing THE IDIOT?”

Believe it or not, that was the one book I was thinking about when I wrote that sentence.

And I’ve read the book.

Can’t remember the details, but it must be that the story is in tormenting him with various things.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Confession: I was very tempted to make a sockpuppet/alternate id for this site--I was going to make an inverse of Crack Emcee and post his same "arguments" with races and/or genders reversed on in the same comment chains. I think it would have proven the point that his kind of rhetoric would not be accepted when the target was different...but in the end I thought it was too much of a risk that someone would unmask the identity and ascribe the comments to me/to my actual position (especially were I ever to get into any kind of legal trouble, god forbid!).

Hey, are we all glossing over the fact that some young teenage girl catfished (presumably) grown women into sending her nude pictures (presumably of themselves)?? That...seems like a big deal, kinda.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

tim in vermont said...In the movie "Die Hard" the villains were the only people with any brains.

Counterpoint: all the villains except the leader apparently agreed to do the job without knowing how they were going to defeat the last, "unbreakable," lock on the vault. When the FBI cuts the power the leader presents it as a big surprise and the other villains are impressed...but that means they didn't know how it was going to happen (in the middle of their otherwise-minutely organized/planned mission) and just went along anyway. Which, you know, isn't really evidence of good judgement/brains, to me.

n.n said...

Why liberation, of course. Principles are a hard pill to swallow in a Pro-Choice, Pro-Choice, Pro-Choice, Pro-Choice world.

tim in vermont said...

“Wasn't this Dosteyevsky's purpose in writing THE IDIOT?”

Don Quixote. A complete idiot.

Jose_K said...

Wasn't this Dosteyevsky's purpose in writing THE IDIOT?”.. Jesus. the Idiot was Jesus

Jose_K said...

Who writes a novel for the purpose of showing a wonderful, saintly person?"
.. any TV show or novel with female main character nowadays

tcrosse said...

Chicks dig Bad Boys. My youngest stepson is one, much to his Mom's distress. But he's a real pussy-magnet, much to his nice-guy brother's distress.

Jose_K said...

told me that last year Ryan coerced her into sending nude pictures.. coerced? twitter and phone. That is not coercion but a bad excuse

Robert Cook said...

"'Who writes a novel for the purpose of showing a wonderful, saintly person?'
".. any TV show or novel with female main character nowadays"


No, any television program depicting police officers. They're depicted as senstive, deep-feeling, selfless heroes willing to die for our safety.

You know...make believe.

tcrosse said...

Who writes a novel for the purpose of showing a wonderful, saintly person?

Hillary Clinton

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Hey, are we all glossing over the fact that some young teenage girl catfished (presumably) grown women into sending her nude pictures (presumably of themselves)?? That...seems like a big deal, kinda.

Had she catfished men into sending nudes, would they be looking at serious sex crimes charges? There have been cases where the recipient's lies about her age did not serve as a defense.

Gahrie said...

Had she catfished men into sending nudes, would they be looking at serious sex crimes charges?

The gender of the victim doesn't matter. The gender of the perpetrator shouldn't either, but it does.

stlcdr said...

You can be who you really are without the social mores that you have to go along with in real life.

Specifically, she is actually a really shitty person. There’s a lot of them in real life, too. All nicely nicely, until you push that right button, and their true nature shines (sic) through.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I've got to say that every time I've contemplated writing through an alter ego — on another blog or as a sock puppet here — the attraction was being a shitty person.

AHAAAA!!

Althouse IS..... Inga!!! /s

:-D

Static Ping said...

From what I read, she was trying to act like a man to protect her identity. My guess is either she has no idea what actual men are like and was basing it off stereotypes and/or her own projections, or the men in her world are dirt bags. Also, it is perfectly believable that a non-big-time sports writer could get away with this for some time. With the Internet, there is no need to meet all the writing talent in person, especially since they are not paid much. (Actually, in baseball if you are not a player, manager, owner, or executive, you are probably not getting paid all that much.)

This reminds me of Ender's Game in which Ender's siblings, who are both still children though extremely gifted children smarter than most adults, become political pundits on the universe's equivalent of the Internet using pseudonyms. As part of the trick, the borderline psychopath brother becomes the voice of reason and the too nice sister ends up being the firebrand that should not be allowed in polite company. They fool almost everyone, make a lot of money, and end becoming major influences in the political world.

Rusty said...

"Althouse IS..... Inga!!! /s

:-D"
Our hostess can't feign that level of, ah, unawareness. She is much too intelligent.
She'd get a headache.

gadfly said...

WE should ask Donnie Trump the question about acting shitty. He won't know the answer but perhaps his spew will be entertaining.

Michael K said...

gadfly gets his two second Trump hate in.

Nice work, creep.

Inga said...

In my own defense, I’ve learned alot over the years, about shittiness from the shit masters here. 💩

Michael K calls Gadfly a creep? LOL.

Fernandistein said...

I took a glance at the article - the kid made some posts to a blog? Anything else?

During this time she harassed and insulted women on line,

And that's important or interesting because...??

even getting nude photos from a few before being exposed.

"Getting" - and then what?

How did she "get" photos unless someone, you know, sent them?

So people sent her nude photos because she was such an awful person?

JML said...

Confession time: I was a member (well, still am, but with Facebook, it is largely inactive) of an email group and several years ago a couple of factions broke out and started to troll and beat on each other. I created a new yahoo account, created a profile of an old woman and called myself (Nameofthegroup'sfocus)Grandma. I then started to gently scold each side when they got really stupid, etc. The group settled down and everyone loved Grandma. People wanted to meet her and send her things and all kinds of nice nonsense. So about 8 months after I created this I stopped responding and then three weeks later I had her grandson get on and tell folks she quietly died in her sleep and she was so happy the last few months because she had these people who she never met talk to her and were her friends...it was the type of group that would just live for this sort thing and they swooned.

For the record: I am me and I don't plan on passing anytime soon, and if I do, I can assure you no one in my family will say a damn thing here about it. I also think it would have been easier to have been assholegrandma - being consistently nice is hard, but it is very easy to be an asshole 24/7.



Drago said...

gadfly: "WE should ask Donnie Trump the question about acting shitty."

Who is "WE" and what is stopping you?

You know, you are exactly NOT the kind of "Go-Getter" we want working on our EM-50 Project.

Too bad too. It would have been a nice Italy trip for you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnIBk-0KLi0

HoodlumDoodlum said...

RobertCook said...No, any television program depicting police officers. They're depicted as senstive, deep-feeling, selfless heroes willing to die for our safety.

...I'm gonna go out on a limb and say you haven't watched much TV for the last, oh, couple of decades or so.
Hell, NYPD Blue was back in the early 90's, man! The Shield has to be early 2000s, so we're talking quite a while here. Modern TV ain't Andy Griffith when it comes to portraying cops, Robert.

Fritz said...

"If you’re going to make up an entire false identity, why would you make yourself into a shitty person?"

I dunno. Let's ask Laslo.

Robert Cook said...

@Hoodlum Doodlum:

I don't know...I see all these commercials for shows I've never watched and whose names I can't remember, but they all show scenes of the cops brooding deep thoughts about the heavy responsibility they have to protect the public from bad guys...it's like they're emo cops or something.

I do like the J.Lo program Shades of Blue, it brazenly shows corrupt, brutal cops who steal and hurt people...even commit murder...and dares to humanize them and make us root for them! It's insidious, as these people really do terrible things...but it also is probably more true than much television...corrupt and even brutal people can also be sympathetic human beings with the same woes and worries that bedevil the rest of us.

My hope is that, in the end, the characters will end up paying for their crimes.

Steve said...

The police were portrayed as sensitive, deep-feeling heroes in The Pirates of Penzance, by Gilbert & Sullivan, first performed in 1880. The chorus of constables sang:
"It is most distressing to us to be the agents whereby our erring fellow-creatures are deprived of that liberty which is so dear all --- but we should have thought of that before we joined the Force....
When constabulary duty's to be done---
The policeman's lot is not a happy one..."

There's something in Gilbert & Sullivan for every occasion these days, because what they found ridiculous we now find praiseworthy. They even has a good laugh at a military leader who "led his regiment from behind", in The Gondoliers. I will try to educate the readers of this blog with quotes from those operettas, so all may appreciate how our ancestors would die of laughter, were they not already dead, to see the behaviors we honor and aspire to imitate.

mockturtle said...

Love G&S!

mockturtle said...

Robert Cook: I don't watch TV shows but I found the movie, Training Day compelling. What think you about Denzel Washington's bad cop? What little I know of the LAPD makes me think it's not fiction.

Darrell said...

So you're saying that a thirteen-year-old girl lied about everything--big and small. Repeatedly. Over many years. Huh. I thought that never happens.

dustbunny said...

I've occasionally wondered if either Althouse or Meade is Inga but the time and energy necessary to create such an unpleasant character seems inconsistent with people that lead interesting lives

Robert Cook said...

@mockturtle:

I haven't seen TRAINING DAY, but from what I know about it, I'd say it's probably not fiction for a lot of police in a lot of cities.

I don't suggest that all cops are thieves and killers, but I think many are not above low- to mid-level corruption and most are all too willing to use physical brutality.