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The Lori Drew Blog Hoax Got Me

Posted on December 11, 2007 in Blogging Scoundrels Suicide The InterNet

square428A few days ago, I revised an entry about the Megan Meier controversy to indicate that some were indicating doubts as to the authenticity of the Megan Had It Coming blog. Burningbird was among the first to smell a rat and urged readers to examine all the details before tying the noose and flinging it over the branch of the nearest stout oak. I think a wait and see attitude is merited with regard to Lori Drew’s guilt or innocence, and now recognize that is precisely what should have been done in the first place by many of us, including myself. By following the journalists and net pundits on this, my integrity lapsed.

Who taunted Megan Meier? The courts are the best place to probe this.

One of the people who, like me, stuck out her neck is Karoli of Odd Time Signatures:

Discovering that I bared the truth of some of my most painful life experiences in response to a hoax feels a bit like being punched in my currently-unreliable gut. Impersonation is a big hole in Internet communities that tends to undermine their overall usefulness. I don’t have an answer for that problem. I never have, despite over 12 years of working in online communities. I want to believe that people are fundamentally good. It’s a character flaw of mine, I know.

I think Karoli is being hard on herself here. We are all born innocent. One of the problems I have with contemporary society is that we treat one another as fundamentally corrupt in personal relationships. “Mendacity is the system we live in….Liquor’s one way out and death’s another” said Tennessee Williams. Whoever cooked up the Lori Drew blog hoax likely operated on the principle that everyone out there is a liar, the post-Watergate conviction that “everyone does it”. And given Lori Drew’s stalking of Megan Meiers, whoever it was thought that using a false identity was fair given rules that no honorable person dares espouse using her or his real name. That whole issue and the relationship of parents to their offspring’s Internet lives remain worth exploring.

Let me state this for myself:

  • We need the full facts. A court is the institution in our country best equipped to investigate the affair.
  • Whoever drove Megan Meiers via impersonation should be singled out. Any extrajudicial action should, as I have stated before, take the form of shunning — simply refusing to deal with her or him. Making a sham persona to punish Lori Drew for taking a sham persona is bad and whoever did that also deserves to be shunned.

As for Karoli’s witch-victim article, I want to state here that it is a fine example of what blogging can be about — revelation of personal sentiment and history. It was a dangerous thing to do, but I think the appropriate response is to praise her for her courage — all around.

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