So, Gawker presents six theories on “How Manti Te’o Got Catfished by A Dead Girl“, and a commentor offers one more:
I HAVEN’T SEEN ONE PERSON STATE THE CLEAREST MOTIVATION BEHIND THE WHOLE THING. Ronaiah Tuiasasopo is a huge USC fan. His father (Titus) played at USC. Other relatives played at USC. There is no bigger traditional rival of USC football than Notre Dame. Period. (Not UCLA or anybody else). Manti Te’o was supposed to go to USC. When he went to Notre Dame it would have been a huge betrayal to the Southern Cal Samoan boosters. The hoax was a punishment for choosing Notre Dame over USC. Why haven’t I seen this mentioned? Not even Notre Dame boosters/students. USC punked Notre Dame’s star player.
Since I don’t know football, I can’t judge the plausibility, but there it is.
And I’m going to take the opportunity to recommend Cienna Madrid’s excellent, terrifying story about a cancer survivor and “The Lying Disease“. You should go read the whole thing, because it’s not a very “tease”-able whole, but here’s an impersonal chunk from the middle:
… Since Munchausen syndrome by internet isn’t in the DSM-IV, the best way to detect it is to know the signs, says Dr. Feldman.
Like other forms of the disorder, Feldman explains that Munchausen by internet usually manifests in the late teens or early 20s. It’s often preempted or accompanied by other psychological issues, most commonly personality disorders. And it predominantly affects women. “I’m not clear on all the reasons for that, but it’s a pretty consistent finding,” Feldman explains. “And many of them have medical or nursing training… Their fascination with medical issues is expressed in their career choices.”
The lies escalate slowly, which makes them harder to detect. Someone might sound like a walking textbook when talking about their symptoms, or they may be quick to duplicate the symptoms of other people around them. The lies are intricate, detailed, engrossing. Terrible setbacks are followed by miraculous recoveries. And if someone else becomes the center of attention, their condition will dramatically worsen or they will become the victim of a sudden tragic event…
The lies slowly escalate, pile up, and create an improbable whole. Then one day, you realize you’re friends with a 15-year-old chronic migraine sufferer online who also happens to be a fourth-year medical school student who plays drums in a band at night—despite those crippling migraines—to pay his med school tuition because his deaf mother and alcoholic stepfather have no interest in his baby-genius education. Oh, and since he’s not yet old enough to drive, he skateboards three miles a day to get to class.
And on that day, you feel like a total schmuck…
Don’t know who started the “Lennay Kekua” hoax, or why it spiraled as far out of their control as it did. But, all the jokes & guesses aside, the way well-meaning people get victimized by “catfishing” is far more mundane & pervasive than some would-be hipster documentarians manipulating “sad internet liars” on MTV. Welcome to the Pixelverse, suckers and wiseguys!