Catfishing is bigger than the Beatles…

January 17, 2013

Yesterday, I wrote about “Catfish”.

I had been holding off on writing about “Catfish” for a week or so until I caught up with all the episodes. So, that was rather harmless of me…

Meanwhile, ESPN sat on a story about Notre Dame’s leading linebacker/inspirational figure of the century Manti Te’o having an imaginary girlfriend who tragically died for 10 days because they couldn’t confirm it.

Thankfully, Deadspin has no worries about confirmation and instead just fucking whipped this imaginary girlfriend hoax of a dick onto the internet and, rightly, our collective forehead around 4pm yesterday.


Holy fuck that is a wild story and my gut reaction is that it is true as fucking ridiculous as that sounds.

Yesterday, I was going to write that I don’t think I’ve ever been “catfished”. There was a time in my life where I was meeting people in the real world from the internet. They appeared to be the real deal to me. They matched their photos. Their personalities were on point as well. They answered by the names given. They seemed like the same lovely individuals who seemed like the lovely individuals on the world wide webs. Of course, I have been approached by people, as I believe many of you have too, that I wouldn’t say were trying to “catfish” me as much as they were trying to “scam” me. But that’s about it. I don’t think I’ve been specifically catfished because I’ve never fallen in love with someone over the internet then went and saw them and they turned out to be someone truly different as far as I know. Unless the people that I did meet on the internet are really playing for the long long long catfishing and have some really weird plan that will one day present itself.

Like I never chatted with someone who I thought looked like Elisha Cuthbert and then tracked them down to only find out they looked like Elisha Manning… Eli Manning… 2x Super Bowl winning quarterback for the New York Giants… YOU GET WHAT I MEAN?!

So, I didn’t think I had been catfished… THAT WAS UNTIL MANTI TE’O CATFISHED US ALL!!!

I would highly suggest you read that Deadspin article as it is hilarious. I’m not going to recap the whole thing considering that would take forever, but, in essence, Deadspin shows evidence that Manti Te’o’s dead girlfriend was actually a figment of either his and other people’s imagination or other people’s imagination who then catfished Manti. My thoughts…

– I think Manti was in on it. I find it hard to believe that he wasn’t in on it. If he wasn’t in on it then he still lied about their relationship considering he would have never met her and he would have to be the most gullible and brainwashable human being to ever exist ever.

– How do I explain this? My gut instinct is to point at the church. Football fans remember former St. Louis Rams, New York Giants, and Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner. He won a Super Bowl, went to 3, appeared on “Dancing with the Stars”, and does analysis work nowadays. Mr. Warner is also a Christian. I was going to write “devout”, but I don’t consider these people “devout” as much as “involved”. Lying to people to push propaganda cannot be seen as following the “word” – I would imagine, but hey who knows. Anyway, if you take a quick look online, you will find some controversies that no one really cares about anymore involving Kurt Warner and his wife and how the two met. For awhile there, we were all under the assumption that Warner met his wife as he was a grocery store shelf stocker and she was a cashier because that was what they told us. The story gets more and more sanctimonious with him and her having this relationship that blossomed in a virginal way and so on and so on. The story is a fake. In reality, she met him when he was the local college QB at a bar. Is that evil or anything? No. Is the lying weird? Yes. They joined forces with a church that was going to use their story as part of getting people to join it. Is Warner a bad Christian because he met his wife in a bar and she already had 2 children? In my opinion, no. I think the lying is the wrong thing in this and who cares because in the end I didn’t get hurt nor did anyone I know, but maybe someone did – who knows. As far as this to Te’o, well, a lot of this story does revolve around his religious background and the people he met from different churches and all that. So, I do point to that first. They have an agenda to push to create interest in themselves and their people and they went to far.

Honestly, it’s how a lot of our public figures operate. I think people are shocked and should be, but Te’o is far from the only public figure out there who has done something like this – creating mythology about themselves.

– What does this do to Te’o’s draft pick? He probably plummets pretty far if the draft was today. We’ll see how long this is covered by the news. The draft isn’t for several months, but this will honestly be difficult to forget. I mean a guy selling a ring or smoking marijuana drops them usually several rounds in the draft, which is pretty wild. I would think that this drops him to the 3rd or 4th.

– A pro football linebacker who plays for the Cardinals is saying that he met the dead girlfriend and she’s real. I would say he’s lying. That’s my gut instinct. I bet he’s somehow involved in this group of people who created this girl’s backstory. I would also say if this guy is not connected to these people that “all Polynesian girls don’t look the same, bro”.

– Did the “media” fuck this story up? Should they have figured this out a long time ago? Possibly. I could hear arguments from either side on this, but, in general, I don’t think the media is to blame. There are definite points of this story that might have raised red flags the further it went on, but, by that point, people had already reported so much on it that they took what was past as fact. And, that is the status quo. First and foremost, I doubt media people are being paid enough money to because internet private detectives to chase down the details on every story to see if it all checks out in this way when 99% of the stories turn up true. I think a red flag would’ve been that we’ve never seen these two together in a picture, but honestly that isn’t even that big of a red flag because who is honestly out there investigating on a regular basis the girlfriend status of college football players? If Manti Te’o says he has a girlfriend, why would you think he was lying? If he said he had a girlfriend who was in a car crash, why would you think he was lying? If he showed you a picture of a hot brunette, would you think he was lying? If he told you all this stuff and then Notre Dame went out and threw a fucking memorial service for her, would you really question whether or not she was real? Why would you? Who would’ve guessed that it was a lie?

So, let’s say you’re the head coach of Notre Dame. Your star linebacker says he has a girlfriend. Red flag? No. She goes to a different school. Red flag? No. She’s got leukemia. Red flag? No. Then one day he comes in crying saying she died in car crash on the same day that his grandmother also died in a car crash. Red flag? No. You’d just hug the crying motherfucker and wonder if he’ll be ready to play Michigan and Michigan State. That’s it. The school catches wind of the tragedy and you decide to throw a memorial service for a dead girl who is the girlfriend of your team leader and Heisman trophy candidate. Red flag? No. Why wouldn’t you do that?

So on and so on. It’s too perverse and completely ineffective to sit around and question every story you hear. They’re not all going to turn up as absurd as this one. Guys do have girlfriends and they do go to different schools and sometimes they do die. That’s about it.

I think the media could have done some due diligence like find a death certificate or obituary. I think it is surprising if it’s true that Stanford never had a girl by that name and they never ran an obituary and no one noticed that. I’m a little surprised that Stanford never brought that up or that the media never tried to interview this chick face to face. For fuck’s sake, Katherine Webb was in the crowd for a hot minute (literally, am I right?!) and now she’s going to be working (am I right?!) the Super Bowl. So, I do find some of this surprising. Maybe they just took no for an answer and respected the wishes of Manti Te’o. And at the same time, she was really only famous famous once she died, so it’s not like they could’ve interviewed her then and it’s not like Sportscenter is in the business of running death certificates. But like I said, I do think it’s odd no one contacted Stanford or any of that.

I think in many regards, it is a WYSIWYG – what you see is what you get – empirical world and when you’re talking to Manti Te’o you take him at his word. You’re not talking to some guy who met Manti Te’o, you’re talking to him and you run what he says. I feel like the media also fell in love with Te’o and didn’t push him hard on times and so forth because they were reporting the emotional element and not the factual element. And the people behind this scam didn’t an ok enough job that if you searched for a photo of Lennay Kekua – you got one. Apparently, it wasn’t her, but you got a photo and it was in some way attached to either Te’o’s twitter or her twitter or something and they bought it. Why would they question it?

Could the media have done more? Yes. Should they have? Probably. But, they’re the victim in this case and not the problem. They took too much for granted. They were too trusting and they didn’t keep their guard up. But you should blame the rapist and not the raped and the media got raped on this one.

– Am I going to end this post with me casually throwing around the word “rape”? Ugh, I don’t want to.

What could make this better?






3 Responses to “Catfishing is bigger than the Beatles…”

  1. Kim said

    OMG — you are SO RIGHT!!
    Little Polar Bear makes everything better!!!
    this story is fascinating — if the X-Files has taught us anything, it’s

  2. PWG said

    I may have had a thought or opinion about the Te’o story but now I don’t know. Everything that was in my head fell out when I saw the polar bear. Now I’m awwwwwing and baby talking to my computer, and I lost 15 IQ points. Totally worth it.

  3. MyRobbie said

    Did you see Deadspin’s twitter response (don’t stop reading- this is good, I swear!) to Donald Trump’s congratulatory tweet? I’m assuming you have. Since I don’t follow sports or watch MTV, I had no idea any of this was going on.

    I too have met people from the internet. Well…two. And they turned out to be genuine and genuinely nice people. But it may have been the context in which we met online. You know, through a comedy blog and through a Twilight blog. No sex involved. Maybe it’s the sex being involved? Fucks people up? Makes their judgement extremely vulnerable?

    Anyway, one of the ladies I met online this way joked with me about the axe she was going to hide in her purse in case I was a serial killer. And her husband tried to dissuade her from meeting me. But we’re good friends now. An axe in the purse might be good protection, in any case. It is a crazy, fucked up modern world we live in.

    Thanks for the polar bear gif. I needed that.

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