… I guess. When we were at Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, Maryland decades ago, UD‘s then-boyfriend, David Kosofsky (brother of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick), took it into his head that we should pretend to be Israelis. Little UD must have passively gone along, but the evil genius was David; and UD remembers how horrified and trapped she felt when she realized that the inane scheme was working all too well — that people at the school indeed assumed he wasn’t lying (what kind of a freak would lie about such a thing?) and in a kindly way inquired about their backgrounds, asked if there were special foods they should prepare for them at dinner, wondered if they’d been traumatized by that country’s difficult history, etc., etc.

UD felt shame. She insisted that David figure out a way to stop the game.

To this day, UD can’t enjoy the whole Sacha Baron Cohen thing, where you laugh at the efforts of well-meaning people to be polite and understanding toward some fake identity you’ve made them believe in. The word for this is cruel, and it’s not exactly news that everyone has the capacity to be cruel, and that some people have a large capacity.

As to the Manti Te’o hoax at Notre Dame, UD can only say what she’s said for so long in this blog category (hoaxes are so common, they’ve got their own category on University Diaries): The world is full of vaguely sociopathic game-players, and, you know, let the buyer beware. Walk down your street of dreams – don’t let me stop you – but do yourself a favor and wonder occasionally if the uncannily exact match between certain inspirational stories on offer (see also Lance Armstrong) and your desires in regard to inspiration is just too close for credibility.

I’m a sap too – I don’t mean to suggest otherwise. But as an inveterate hoax-watcher, I do begin to see patterns.

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2 Responses to “Everyone’s a little bit sociopathic…”

  1. janet gool Says:

    Once again, the poet says it best:
    ‘O what a tangled web we weave,
    When first we practice to deceive.’
    If the football player had read a little poetry, it could have saved him a whole lot of trouble.

  2. Sean O Says:

    Manti Teo’s situation is bizarre. It’s a shame. It seems like he made up this story or went along with it. The story then got way bigger than he/they thought it would and then they couldn’t reel it back in. It’s a shame because he does truly seem like a good & decent young man who made a stupid mistake that will overshadow the rest of his accomplishments.

    I’ve also heard it suggested that the story was perhaps concocted to provide cover for the fact he is in fact gay. No matter what the case prurient interest and the instinct to cut down those up high on the public radar will drive this wacky story for a while.

    No matter what the reasons behind the lie, it was essentially stupid & harmless. Too bad the aggressive instinct to know the truth and shame the liar isn’t on display for substantial issues like going to a war in Iraq on a web of lies that has destroyed lives and brought massive suffering to the people of Iraq and our own servicemen while the assholes who promoted the deadly fiasco like W. Bush, Cheney & all the blathering Neo-Cons sail on carefree & unpunished.

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