« The return of random Friday links | Main | Interlude: Global Tax Credits »

October 16, 2007


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Doug M.

I wanted to hear more about the Mattavilasa.

Internet dating: Before meeting me, Claudia talked to two people who'd met me in person. Just sayin'.

Strangely, I see the appeal of this. It's like DMing a really good role-playing game, you know? Okay, maybe not. Say then that it combines several things... secrecy and power, the creative urge. You wouldn't be able to share your success with a lot of people, but for some that's not the point.

I am torn between sympathy for the victim and "okay, how stupid would you have to be?"

What did that somatotype-personality combination do a hundred years ago? Granted that it was less common then, but I have the feeling there were always some around... there are certain historical figures who just give off that Star Trek novel vibe.

Doug M.

Doug M.

Okay, I just spent some more time on that story than I really should have.

My initial reaction was, "this requires a certain amount of stupidity on the part of the victim".

But the victim has a blog, and makes a pretty good case for her own defense. She spoke on the phone with "Jesse", with "Jesse's sister", and of course with Janna. There were hundreds of e-mails. SMSes. Physical letters. Packages. Photographs. Blog posts by Jesse, friends of Jesse, Jesse's "son". E-mail exchanges with half a dozen different well-developed characters.

The sheer amount of time spent... boggling. And a fair amount of craft; the woman concocted (the victim's phrase, and it's a good one) a "slurry of fact and fiction", mixing in the names of real people and events... i.e., naming a real Denver doctor as "Jesse's" therapist. (The victim later contacted her. She had no idea what was going on.)

So, not stupid. At worst a bit too trusting. But this is the kind of crazy we don't ever expect to meet. We don't look at the victims of a slasher and say "should have studied martial arts".

Doug M.


If I had to guess, I'd say they became members of fringe religions, or fringe members of established religions. Spiritualism was made for the type. The same combination of fraud, fabulation, and comfort.

It brings into sharper focus one of my crazier net.stalkers -- the one who thought (or claimed to think) that me, you, Noel, et cetera were all products of a single person trying to mess with his head 24/7, and only he could see the truth. Setting aside that it would require some sort of intellectual Voltron three shifts a day to emulate all of us, I wonder if he was on the fringes of this subculture.

No comments on Strom? He was forty-six, Jean was twenty-two, Humphreys was eighteen. You wonder what _that_ personality type did a hundred years ago.

Doug M.

No I don't. Some things don't change nearly as much as people think.

On the fringes... do you think there's really a subculture? As opposed to a certain number of damaged minds reacting the same way, independently, to the wonderful opportunities the internet presents? We've both seen the latter.

(It's true that she had at least one accomplice. The victim said it was a man on the calls, although his voice was always hoarse and whispery -- because he was really shy, he said.)

No goddamn idea: I gave up after fifteen minutes. Squeaking! The phrase "on acid" has been badly overused, but "Mythbusters on acid" does seem about right.

Doug M.


Strom: I'm kinda thinking that the Boogie Nights personality type had a lot fewer options in the nineteenth century. (And yes, I know about Austin Dickinson and the Beecher-Tilton thing. This seems qualitatively different.) Also, my anecdotal impression is there's a locus in the South.

Subculture: I'd bet there's a loose affiliation among some of these people, yes. The strategies are a little like Crowleyan mindgame magic(k), and God knows those people have a subculture. With that in mind, it would probably be an esoteric subculture within an exoteric one.

Doug M.

Locus in the South: hell yes. Until quite recently, you always had a large pool of people close at hand who had a very limited ability to say "no" and make it stick.

Not entirely a racial thing, though that's of course at the root. I've been reading _Tobacco Road_ in installments -- it's one of those books you have to be in the mood for. What kind of mood that is, don't ask.

Subculture: I doubt it's more than a loose affiliation. That's plausible, though. There needs to be a name for the online phenomenon of trolls coming to each others defense, and the related one of trolls adopting each others language and tactics.

Doug M.

Doug M.

Oh look: the 'fanthropology' livejournal has a page full of people complaining about the article. Recurring theme: "He said she was /fat/!"

There also needs to be a 'that was predictable' glyph.

Doug M.


People who spend their lives in a passive fantasy world have weight issues? In other news, people who snort cocaine regularly have nosebleed issues. But I've never heard of cokeheads having nose entitlement.

Survival Research Laboratories has been hovering on the edge of my radar for, oh dear Lord, nearly twenty years. Never saw a production before though.

Strom: his long bachelorhood now looks to me less like the extended adolescence of a peripatetic ladies' man, and more like he was trying to find an appropriate Marilyn Chambers to suit both his lifestyle and his political career.

I'm assuming consensuality. Jack and Jeri Ryan would be the counterexample.

(Yeah, I just assume deve at this point.)

Minor tangent: I'm going to guess that sex roles -- not desires -- proliferated in pretty much the same Durkheim division-of-labor way as other social roles, with the advent of modernity (whatever that is). It's something that's nagged at me since reading Delany's Neveryon books.

Bernard Guerrero

You're scaring me, Carlos, my first thought was "B*Z"! Unless you mean Jabba the Ebayer, though that one didn't occur to me until the mention of her girth.

Ok, no, second thought. My first thought was "There is no Jesse." C'mon, the punchline was telegraphed from 300m out. The victim was dumb as a bag of rocks. Nigerian-Minister-of-Finance-asking-you-to-foward-half -of-his-$50,000-check-to-his-associates dumb.


Bernard, it's telegraphed because the writer of the article is trying to pull a Harlan Ellison, who has never been a very subtle writer.

In practice -- and I too have read the associated blogs -- it appears to have been an incremental thing. The long con, not the quick smash and grab, with someone who was a little too lonely and a little too trusting.

Bernard Guerrero

Whoops, just caught "the one who thought (or claimed to think) that me, you, Noel, et cetera were all products of a single person trying to mess with his head 24/7". You're talking about the Canuck, right? "I took acting classes in Choomboomtic, but I spent time in Mannifribble-frabble and you have no idea how rough the terrain is south of Nootookia Lake." Ad Infinitum, or at least it felt like it.

Forget the South, the Pacific North West has a nice-sized breeding colony. Highest per-capita usage of video games, all kinds of New Age-iness, etc.


It's a little scary when the qualifier "Canuck" does not narrow down my net.jackass count to below three. Even "Ontarian" doesn't do that.

Same page: Doug and I were discussing the probable Southern locus of creepy "do you want to party with us?" swingers like Jean and Strom. Not sure what Pacific Northwest videogames have to do with that. Are Seattle-ites all having Second Life affairs or something? Okay, they probably are.

Anyway. Now that I've attracted every freak in the world who can do a keyword search on Google with this discussion, I should probably start that "win a date with Carlos" contest.

James Bodi

As to Strom's type, well 100 years ago there were plenty of servants, apprentices, governesses and students, all with no protection from gropery. He'd have done fine. The more authoritarian the society, the better off he'd be - and the South has always seemed more authoritarian than the rest of the US to me.

How'd you enrage so many Ontarians? I lived there for 30 and more years and got only one stalker.

I feel sorry for the woman who got hosed, but she really should have cottoned on earlier. On the other hand, I've recently been told about someone whose internet love has backed away from meeting because of 'cancer of the knee', and he doesn't seem to get it either.


I just feel sorry for the lady. I don't at all think she's stupid, just ... isolated, I guess. I could see myself falling for a scam like that. Now, if Jesse had asked for money, my personal 419er alarms would have gone off. But something like this? Nah.

I was surprised at calling the weirdo "morbidly obese". But then I'm from Indiana, where that bar is set much, much higher...


what I don't get is that she is really young, yes? which explains some of the bag-oh-hammers dumbness, but then why?

I meet a lot of young women who only date on the internet and it makes me v confused. not to be too "back in my day" about it, but back in my day, we had to leave our apartments and make chatter and sometimes pretend to be drunker than we were, get caught in the middle of the night by a roommate while sneaking around the hall in our chonies, etc.

one of my girlfriends recently explained the ... uh ... how to say? the *triage* of internet courtship components, I guess ... it made me swoon, I swear to god. whatever. I guess when one gets to a certain age, sure, but these women are in their early 20s! cute! elastic! not amended by gravity or pregnancy! prime time for meeting real-life guys who are drunk, stupid and forgetful. I don't get it. not at all.

The comments to this entry are closed.