Fake Girlfriend is now a meme
- Blog Post by: James Lileks
- January 17, 2013 - 12:40 PM
How long does it take for a sports scandal to result in an Internet meme? Less than a day. First, the background:
As Deadspin laid out in brutal detail on Wednesday, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o’s dead girlfriend is neither dead nor Manti Te’o’s girlfriend nor a corporeal being. Te’o and Lennay Kekua never met on the field at Stanford, never hung out together in Hawaii, and didn’t talk on the phone each night as she lay dying of leukemia. As we wait to learn more details of this amazing hoax, it’s worth examining the second-biggest mystery of the Manti Te’o fake girlfriend saga: How did the sports media come to spread this phony story?
Because it was too good to ruin with facts. Why sports journalists, who ought to be the most hard-bitten cynics in the industry, suddenly melt when presented with a tale out of Love Story, I can’t say. This is the internet. This is where people come to pretend they’re really, really ill (yet capable of typing 247) and / or invent imaginary BFs or GFs who are awesome.
The inevitable internet craze: Putting your arm around an imaginary girlfriend, having your picture taken, and posting it with the Impact font. It’s called Teo’ing.
Not as dumb as planking or owling, but close. Here’s a Gopher-themed addition.
Okay, this can be over now.
SCIENCE! There’s something about this that seems insufficiently sourced. The story:
A meteorite that recently landed close to a city in Sri Lanka may be "the most important scientific discovery in the last 500 years" since it brought "compelling evidence of life" from space.
On the Island website, Walter Jayawardhana quotes one of the scientists who discovered the contents of the meteorite as saying, "We report here the first compelling evidence for life existing outside the earth." This supports the theory that life came to Earth (and maybe other planets as well) by hitchhiking on asteroids from far corners of the universe.
I guess the science is settled, then. Here’s the original website. It says they found fossilized diatoms in a meteorite. Odd how a discovery so incredible should be confined to a small internet newspaper, eh? Somehow it came to the attention of Slate’s Bad Astronomy blogger, who wrote:
I read the actual paper, and guess what? Let me be delicate: It’s wrong. Really, really wrong. Way, way, way ridiculously oh-holy-wow-how-could-anyone-publish-this wrong.
He explains what set off the alarm bells:
The paper was published online on a site called The Journal of Cosmology. I’ll get back to that august publication in just a moment. The lead author is N. C. Wickramasinghe, and as soon as I saw his name alarm bells exploded in my head. Wickramasinghe is a proponent of the idea of panspermia: the notion that life originated in space and was brought to Earth via meteorites. It’s an interesting idea and not without some merits.
However, Wickramasinghe is fervent proponent of it. Like, really fervent. So much so that he attributes everything to life in space. He’s said that the flu comes from space.
Doesn’t mean the diatoms-in-the-rock finding is wrong, though. Someone who’s really looking hard for proof may actually find it. Read the entire article.
But let’s back up to the first story. The site is “unknowncountry.com,” and the masthead says “Editor-in-chief Anne Striebver.” I haven’t followed the ups and downs of the UFO world since Art Bell went off the air and took his comedy show with him, but the last name is the same as the fellow who wrote about his own alien abductions in the 90s. They started out to be quite terrifying, but I recall towards the end it was just standard apocalyptic stuff: the aliens were here to warn us that we were destroying our species through (fill in the Concern Du Jour here) and we’d better stop. They knew this because, well, aliens know these things. They are smart. So smart that they kidnap people in their sleep, send them back with unprovable stories and experiences, and expect everyone to listen to the abductees, most of whom have . . . issues about other things.
At one point in the series, I remember Strieber describing how an alien explained to him that white chocolate was really bad for him and he shouldn’t eat it. Now we know he was either making it up or had been kidnapped by Mike Bloomberg.
Anyway, yes, it’s Whitley Strieber’s wife, and he has “Whitley’s Space.” If you wondered what he’s up to: why, pointing out how NASA is manipulating Curiosity images. Remember all those people who thought there was a face on Mars, and evidence of past civilization?
It’s OBVIOUS, Sheeple. NASA is covering something up. That’s why they send robots to other planets and release gigabytes’ worth of images to the public. To keep you from knowing the truth.
WEB The Onion speaks for many of us: stop trying to get me to join and contribute.
Tired of being bombarded with constant requests to share content on social media, bestow ratings, leave comments, and generally “join in on the discussion,” the nation’s Internet users demanded substantially less interactivity this week.
Speaking with reporters, web users expressed a near unanimous desire to visit a website and simply look at it, for once, without having every aspect of the user interface tailored to a set of demographic information culled from their previous browsing history. In addition, citizens overwhelmingly voiced their wish for a straightforward one-way conduit of information, and specifically one that did not require any kind of participation on their part.
“Every time I type a web address into my browser, I don’t need to be taken to a fully immersive, cross-platform, interactive viewing experience,” said San Diego office manager Keith Boscone. “I don’t want to take a moment to provide my feedback, open a free account, become part of a growing online community, or see what related links are available at various content partners.”
“All I want is to go to a website, enjoy it for the time I’ve decided to spend there, and then move on with my life,” he continued. “Is that so much to ask?”
Couldn’t agree more. What do you think?
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