Friday, September 15, 2006

On lonely girls and murderers...

For much of the past few days I’ve been sucked in by the invented on-line personalities of two different people. Last week, I knew nothing about either of them, but this week it feels like I’ve spent hours clicking through the various details of their on-line lives. One has amused me, the other has horrified me.

One of them seemed real, but we found to be a fake. The other seemed fake, only to find he was so terrifyingly real.

The real/fake one was Lonelygirl15, the young YouTube diarist who was recently uncovered (by the son of Silicon Watcher Tom Foremski, incidentally) to be an actress playing out a well-rehearsed script. Upon reading all of the brouhaha about “LG15”, I checked her out on YouTube and I have to admit that I found myself drawn into her little misfit world. Her diary on Pluto’s demotion I thought was particularly funny and summed up the whole high-school misfit experience.

I find the whole “LG15” episode fascinating as it blurred the boundaries of on-line and real world existences. It is no wonder some fans were upset when they found her to be fake. But did that make her stories and insights any less relevant?

The fake/real person was Kimveer Gill, who created a sinister on-line persona of an “angle of death”, and then brought this persona to life in the most horrific way. He was a real person who created his character of “Trench” on-line, and then defined that character with photos, internal monologues and ruminations for all to witness. But the existence of "Trench" seemed so contrived, so cliched in its comic-book fantasy.

He stands in the photos stiffly, dressed in black, with a gun in what appears to be a very suburban basement. I mean, what suburban boy has not posed in front of a mirror in some get-up with some sort of weapon acting out some sort of adolescent hero (or anti-hero) fantasy? (Granted Gill was not an adolescent). The horror of course is that Gill did not put away his banal fantasy like 99.9999% of us do, but chose to act on it.

In his mind, the barrier between fantasy and reality broke down, as did the barrier separating on-line from real life.

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