And The Beat Goes On ~ Early Afternoon Thoughts

Normally I use early afternoon thoughts for elegant time wasters, I found there actually were legitimate times wasters in the real world over the last several weeks. In the recent spate of headlines there were several news stories about a councilwoman who objected to another councilman saying that the “paperwork would disappear into a black hole. . . ” I always thought that astronomical term was perfectly respectable, and could be used to describe the mythological place where things (even the socks from the dryer) could be described as disappearing.

Evidently the PC Police feel otherwise. Now, had the man said “black Ho” I might have understood – but black hole? What is this woman going to demand – that Astronomy change its term? That the Black Hole of Calcutta of history be renamed? Hold up on the cards the letters, I DO know that the Calcutta story has been debunked . . .

By this point I was ready to get on a roll of time wasters, and was perusing the blogs I follow on a regular basis when I was literally knocked off my soap box (which was pretty large by-the-way) by the following from the blog Joe.My.God . . .

For some time I had followed a blog called Coopers Corrider where a gay man adopted two children and aside from being an incredible writer allowed us inside his life and feelings.

Joe titled his post:

Apology Revoked
(And Munchausen-By-Blog Syndrome)

And then the OMG portion of my day began –

“Oh, gentle readers, what a twisted, fascinating, maddening, saddening place is this thing called The Internets.

Remember Cooper? The firefighter gay dad of two adopted boys who pulled his widely-loved blog after an “attack” of malicious comments and emails from the readers of this blog? Causing me to get extremely bent of out shape and offer Cooper a heartfelt (really) public apology? Over the last few days our little blogosphere has retched forth some unpleasant, uncomfortable revelations about Cooper.

The short version:
He is not a firefighter.
He is not an adoptive father.
He is not gay.
He is not, in fact, a he. “

(OK ~ now I’m really intrigued.)

“Intrigued? The long version:

The story began to unfold at Sweet/Salty, the blog of a woman named Kate, a young mother dealing with the death of her infant son. On the day of the supposed attack on Cooper’s blog by JMG readers, Kate had emailed him, extremely distressed to have discovered that Cooper had lifted many of her gorgeously written posts verbatim, including photographs of her husband.

Upon receipt of Kate’s surprisingly kind request to remove her plagiarized material, Cooper deleted his blog and apparently then concocted the JMG attack story to placate his legion of starry-eyed readers, people who avidly followed Cooper’s Corridor as a place where they saw their most earnest ideals about gay parenting realized.

Shortly afterwards, Cooper’s Corridor resumed as Nico’s Niche, a private blog where Kate’s material continued to appear. Kate found my public apology to Cooper and emailed me about the situation. Knowing that Father Tony has had a longtime internet friendship with Cooper, I put him on the case. What he uncovered may blow your mind.

According to the bizarre confession wrangled by Father Tony, Cooper’s Corridor/Nico’s Niche was written by a woman, a 52-year-old British Columbia grandmother named Jo, who says that ever since she was a little girl she has felt that she is a gay man trapped in a woman’s body. Cooper/Nico (Jo claims) was a concoction created in order to deal with her lifelong gender identity disorder. She says she calls her inner gay man “Nicky”.

Oh, but hang on a minute, it gets curiouser still. Turns out that there are extremely similar aspects between the Cooper/Nico story and another infamous case of blog imposterism. Years ago there was the (now-infamous in the gay blogosphere) case of A Priori Ad Lib, a blog supposedly written by a gay Canadian grade school teacher slowly dying from leukemia. The dying gay teacher’s name? Nicky. Who lived in British Columbia. Who turned out to be a woman, exposed when a blog pal of mine attempted to actually visit “him” in the hospital only to find no such person existed.

As the initial outrage and sense of betrayal about Cooper died down a bit, there have been some rather generous expressions of pity towards Jo/Cooper/Nicky. Kate (the blogger whose occasionally tortured, but always lovely prose was stolen) has been by turns baffled, angry, stunned…but most of all, kind. (Her readers, understandably, not so much.) Even as evidence was put forward that Jo had plagiarized other blogs, the conversation turned to pleas for understanding for the mentally ill.

Go read Kate’s initial angry post, then you absolutely must delve into Father Tony’s post, where in addition to publishing Jo’s emailed “confession”, he muses in his typically artful way about the anonymous nature of the internet and how much we can ever really know about people, even when we think we have an insider’s view of their day-to-day lives.

To my readers who leapt to defend “Cooper”, I thank you for your kind words to him, however misguided we all were. I know some of you had even sent Christmas presents for “Cooper’s” nonexistent children, so I can only imagine how incredibly betrayed you feel. Jo has told Father Tony that she’s been suicidal over being exposed, but has found a mental health counselor and is considering gender reassignment surgery. Color me extremely skeptical on that, but at the end of day what we have here is a very troubled person who needs help of some kind.

Even this post may please the sort of person who engages in what I call “Munchausen-by-blog syndrome”, but consider this yet another unhappy lesson about trust, gullibility, and how we as gay people are sometimes overeager to find our heroes.”

Aside from leaving me speechless ~ A difficult feat in itself ~ I was struck by the last paragraph (as in the solar plexus). I have to take a little issue with Joe on the last line, I don’t think it’s only gays that are overeager to find heroes ~ I think many people have fallen into the “Hero de Jour” trap.

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