MeFites were right - it was a hoax November 17, 2009 11:06 AM   Subscribe

Anyone remember this thread about Dan "Blitz" Krieg who suffered a freak accident and then perished from MRSA?

At the time several MeFites suspected a Kaycee-type hoax, but doubters were immediately trounced by those who knew and loved Dr. Syn and assured us that the story was true. Once again, though, MeFites were correct in their suspicions, as it seems that Daniel Krieg, ex-Navy man and northern Kentucky resident, is alive and well. Even some of his former supporters are peeved at his deception.
posted by Oriole Adams to MetaFilter-Related at 11:06 AM (144 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

Just like the Internet has made me start to suspect that every image is photoshopped and every video is secretly an advertisement, I now no longer believe it when people die. Thanks, Web.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:15 AM on November 17, 2009 [8 favorites]


Without the original blog, this whole thing just confuses the hell out me. Most useful comment from the original mefi thread, two words from Brandon Blatcher:
"What's MRSA?"
posted by Naberius at 11:17 AM on November 17, 2009


Who or what is an MRSA?
posted by DU at 11:18 AM on November 17, 2009


Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Antibiotic resistant bacteria.
posted by exogenous at 11:19 AM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


And tiff2004 reacts on her own blog (sorry, can't find a link to the specific post).
posted by lalex at 11:19 AM on November 17, 2009


Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:20 AM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Monkey-related stank ass.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:21 AM on November 17, 2009 [10 favorites]


Aha!!!

I knew it!
Thanks for this follow-up. I was just thinking about this last night.
posted by Floydd at 11:21 AM on November 17, 2009


Mononucleosis Subdural Rectal Aneurysm
posted by exogenous at 11:22 AM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow, I followed that pretty closely at the time. Thanks for the update.
posted by desjardins at 11:23 AM on November 17, 2009


Basically don't trust anything on the internet, especially if there's a new, interesting blog post at a blog that doesn't seem to have existed for very long.
posted by Damn That Television at 11:23 AM on November 17, 2009


Wow, people are weird. I can kind of see why someone would fake their real-life death, but why bother faking your internet death? Just walk away, man.
posted by echo target at 11:26 AM on November 17, 2009


I was one of the doubters in the original thread and also noticed Krieg's "Classmates" page a little while ago. A couple of thoughts:

1. On reflection, I feel pretty bad for the people who were duped. From their comments, it appears that they received private emails from the hoaxer supposedly authored by the "widow" of the "deceased." While many of us thought this was a hoax from the get-go, we were only reading the blog and it is understandable how people could get taken in by private emails and the like.

2. What kind of an idiot fakes his own internet death, and then, two years later, starts a "Classmates" page about himself that is easily located with google? Did he not care if he was discovered?
posted by Mid at 11:26 AM on November 17, 2009


If I was this guy, I'd be mad.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:27 AM on November 17, 2009


Right, she is mad.
posted by Mid at 11:29 AM on November 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


DISCLAIMER:

There is a possibility, which is waning with each e-mail and comment I receive, that this is all some sort of a concoction created by those who tried to prove us wrong to begin with, and that what we reported to have happened two years ago really did. The disgusting fact that that possibility exists at all is enough to make me physically ill. At any rate, we were duped, one way or the other, and I’m not sure which one is worse. What I am sure of is that my faith in humanity has died a bit as a result of this experience.

posted by shmegegge at 11:29 AM on November 17, 2009


I guess I can pull up that tree I planted for that asshole.
posted by peeedro at 11:30 AM on November 17, 2009 [12 favorites]


When I suspect a hoax, and can't prove it, I generally wait about two years before manufacturing evidence that it's a hoax. I'm canny like that.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:32 AM on November 17, 2009 [7 favorites]


Naberius: "What's MRSA"

exogenous: "Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Antibiotic resistant bacteria"

Also "Multi-drug Resistant.." Pronounced approximately /MUR-suh/. I get to hear a lot about it, as my wife's a doctor and it essentially runs rampant in hospitals. Last time we went to the vet, she and the vet nerded out about it for like five minutes.
posted by Plutor at 11:36 AM on November 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


I receive, that this is all some sort of a concoction created by those who tried to prove us wrong to begin with

By the same fuckers who, in the dark of night, drove all of those weapons of mass destruction out of Iraq and into Turkey or Iran, I'd gather. I heard about them from my abductee support group.
posted by eyeballkid at 11:36 AM on November 17, 2009


MRSA is what you SHOULD be afraid of instead of BS Swine Flu. More people die if it every day than you can imagine. Entire hospital floors are in quarantine from it.


Even worse, most people GET IT IN THE HOSPITAL.

Which is why you shouldn't go to the ER for a cold.
posted by TomMelee at 11:37 AM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Holy crap! I was just thinking about this yesterday and wondering if it was ever proven a hoax. Your timing is so awesome.
posted by stefanie at 11:37 AM on November 17, 2009


goddamn

you guys fall for this every time
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:38 AM on November 17, 2009


Metafilter Reaffirms Shenanigans Exist
posted by dirtdirt at 11:41 AM on November 17, 2009 [11 favorites]


For those who didn't catch the original thread before Krieg or his family pulled his blog, the story was that "Blitz" ran face-first into the edge of an open bathroom door during the night. He suffered an orbital fracture, which, while in the hospital, became infected and flourished into a full-fledged MRSA infection (which was the disease du jour in the news at the time). His eye was surgically removed, but the infection ran rampant and killed him a few days later. His wife, who had been keeping the Web community updated once Blitz was incapacitated, posted the sad news on his blog page. The blogosphere was taken aback by such a dramatic downturn and death in an otherwise healthy individual who'd suffered a freak accident. But once alert MeFites started questioning parts of the story, Krieg's blog was removed from the Web without explanation.

...and, to paraphrase Paul Harvey, that's the backstory.
posted by Oriole Adams at 11:43 AM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I like pronouncing it "Mrs. A".
posted by hermitosis at 11:47 AM on November 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


TomMelee: "MRSA is what you SHOULD be afraid of instead of BS Swine Flu. More people die if it every day than you can imagine. Entire hospital floors are in quarantine from it."

MRSA infections in the US, 2005: 278,000
MRSA deaths in the US, 2005: 17,000
Source: "Hospitalizations and Deaths Caused by Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus, United States, 1999–2005". Emerg Infect Dis 13 (12): 1840–6.

Average annual influenza deaths in the US, 1979-2001: 41,400
Source: "Mortality due to Influenza in the United States — An Annualized Regression Approach Using Multiple-Cause Mortality Data". American Journal of Epidemiology 163 (2): 181–7

I'm more worried about the flu, but not really that worried.
posted by Plutor at 11:48 AM on November 17, 2009 [10 favorites]


Holy crap! I was just thinking about this yesterday and wondering if it was ever proven a hoax.
stefanie, get out of my brain.
I really mean it this time....
posted by Floydd at 11:50 AM on November 17, 2009


Oriole's account is all correct, but it was even more brazen at the end -- after the "death," the hoaxer's "son" made a post to the blog that was supposedly a draft post "dad" had been working on before his death -- it was this sort of posthumous farewell speech to all of the hoaxer's followers about carrying on without him, etc.

Even after that, the hoaxer apparently kept emailing some of the "followers," continuing to pose as the "son."

The really demented part is that, if I am following correctly, the hoaxer was using the real names and identities of his actual RL son and wife in these communications.

The other interesting thing about all of this is how people remained interested and kept googling even two years later. I know from MeFi mail that more than one person independently noticed the "Classmates" page go up in the last couple of months or so. From what I can gather on the web, other people were also still independently searching. Part of it might be seasonal -- the original Dr. Syn drama played out between Halloween and Thanksgiving, maybe people unconsciously recalled the whole thing and did some random google searches. In any event, it's amazing how information is basically guaranteed to be discovered if it is posted to the internet, even if it is posted in some obscure corner like a class reunion page for a high school in Ohio.
posted by Mid at 12:02 PM on November 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


DISCLAIMER:

There is a possibility, which is waning with each e-mail and comment I receive, that this is all some sort of a concoction created by those who tried to prove us wrong to begin with, and that what we reported to have happened two years ago really did.


I'll chime in to say this is highly unlikely. I discovered the high school class page independently (i.e. by pure searching, just out of curiosity) quite a while before this story broke and elected not to do anything about it. The YouTube account is a couple years old. So unless someone was playing an exceedingly long con for, you know, zero reward I think the obvious conclusion is the correct one.

I honestly never had any doubt about this story. The narrative the original blog presented was: dude starts this blog where he takes on the name of a famous fictional pirate. Dude walks into a door at night, busts up his eye, goes to the hospital, gets MSRA. Dude loses his eye, and has to wear an eyepatch. The MSRA takes a turn for the worse and he dies on Halloween. Those are seriously the fundamental facts. I've hidden subtle clues in my relation of this narrative which the geniuses among you may be able to interpret as to where the seeds of my doubt were sewn.

I kind of feel bad about the whole thing now though. It's just ick all around.
posted by nanojath at 12:05 PM on November 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


Hah! In fairness, though, the dude apparently had other blogs and a longstanding internet persona that others followed from even before the Dr. Syn blog. I agree with the ick all around and feeling bad.

And now I will be quiet.
posted by Mid at 12:09 PM on November 17, 2009


The internet has only strengthened my already high level of skepticism. Sadly, I've always had a first instinct of distrust - when approached in a parking lot I first assume the person is about to deliver a scam/lie that ends with them asking for money; when a telesolicitor calls I assume it's a scam/rip-off and immediately end the call; when someone forwards me a "this happened to a friend of a friend/relative" email I assume it's a hoax, scam, or greatly mis-quoted and unreliable story. Occasionally I'm wrong, but my skeptical radar seems to be right far more than it's wrong.

And with the internet, where ever there's money to made, notoriety to be gained, or bullying to be done, that increases tenfold. At times I wish I could tone it down and see more things with an innocent wonder and enthusiasm, but it just keeps getting harder to do. Usually that wonder and excitement have to wait long enough for me to run it through an unspoken checks and balances system in my head. And even then, it's hard to give in 100%. I loved the story yesterday about the ten year and his protest involving the pledge, and even forwarded the story to a few friends, but part of me is still waiting for the reveal that it was his parents pulling the strings and pressuring him or that it's somehow a viral campaign for a gym shoe company.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 12:10 PM on November 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


And tiff2004 reacts on her own blog...
"Not long after, a MetaFilter board lit up somewhat with the story, and many people there had the ‘holy shit’ moment. Then, as the suspicious and cynical will, people started doing some digging, doubting the story, casting aspersion on the reality of it and the convenience with which the tale unfolded. Foreshadowing, rapid turn of events, high drama, and the lack of an obituary were all put on the table as proof that the events were faked. Some said that the blogger ‘killed his persona’ in a way that took all his friends and most interested parties for fools.

Some of us joined MetaFilter to protest after their snark started leaking onto our comments, took the hit of outing ourselves as one of the possibly duped, tried to rebut their doubts, and accepted the occasional condolence on behalf of this person and their family, who we assumed were in too much shock to repsond appropriately to the smearing of the blogger’s name. All in the name of friendship and a sense of chivalry that we thought was the right thing to do.

(It was perhaps the only time in this blog’s history that hit counter approached 500 a day. Such is the power of Metafilter...)
Behold the Power of MetaFilter!
posted by ericb at 12:11 PM on November 17, 2009


I had an Everything-But-Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection in my upper arm late 2001. Source never found but I didn't hit the hospital until it swelled to impressive proportions. A totally unpleasant experience that I was too sick to blog about at the time and not recommended for even my worst enemies. But after getting out of hospital, I was prescribed Cipro, the antibiotic of choice for people scared shitless of Terrorist Anthrax at the time... the pharmacist smiled and winked at me and I changed pharmacies. Mischief like this bogus MRSA death is almost as harmful to public health efforts as Jennie McCarthy.
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:13 PM on November 17, 2009


But after getting out of hospital, I was prescribed Cipro

I have a bottle of that stuff in my travel pack for use if I'm ever struck with crippling diarrhea in a third world country. I've never had the pleasure of taking it, but apparently it can have unpleasant side effects. Here's to never having to take the stuff.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:18 PM on November 17, 2009


Hey way to quote stats from 2005. Sure, the flu kills people but it kills the weak and the sick and the old and the immunocompromised. MRSA doesn't give a shit and will kill 20 year old the same as a 90 year old. Besides, there's a vaccine for the flu and medicine to treat it.

MRSA is in a huge epidemic state right now. Note that mortality rates are as high as 10-30%. Certainly not one in ten people who gets the flu dies from it.
posted by TomMelee at 12:25 PM on November 17, 2009


stefanie, get out of my brain.
I really mean it this time....


OK, what the hell were we both reading that made us think of the eyeball MRSA guy? I seriously haven't thought of him since the original thread.
posted by stefanie at 12:26 PM on November 17, 2009


I don't even think he was a real doctor.
posted by malocchio at 12:35 PM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've lived with my brain for so long that it hardly ever shocks me anymore with the crap it comes up with, but out of curiosity, are there any other people out there that in a sort of dark, fucked-up way kind of hope he actually gets MRSA in his eye socket now?

Just so he can have that "cried wolf" moment?

No? Just me? Ok then.

*lurks back into bog*
posted by quin at 12:37 PM on November 17, 2009


lmao guys remember this
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:39 PM on November 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


"What's MRSA?"

It's what I spend my days reading.
posted by JanetLand at 12:40 PM on November 17, 2009


Where is Miss Brenda Love now?

After all, her friend died and we're all jerks.
posted by 26.2 at 12:41 PM on November 17, 2009


Floydd: "stefanie, get out of my brain.
I really mean it this time...
"

I was thinking about this just last week. What's wrong with us? Isn't there something better we could be using our memories for?

Eh, probably not.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:44 PM on November 17, 2009


TomMelee: "Hey way to quote stats from 2005"

I quoted those stats since those are the stats the CDC quotes on their page about MRSA. MRSA rates in the UK peaked in 2006 and have been falling since then, but I have no way of knowing whether the same is true in the US. If you've got some newer statistics, let me know. As far as I know, longitudinal studies take time.

TomMelee: "Note that mortality rates are as high as 10-30%. Certainly not one in ten people who gets the flu dies from it."

True, but millions of people get the flu every year, and 200,000 of them are hospitalized (that's not much different than the number of people who get MRSA, but 4x more people die of the flu). And 85% of the people who get MRSA get it from a healthcare setting. As long as you're not in the hospital, influenza is statistically a more real concern.
posted by Plutor at 12:49 PM on November 17, 2009


Where is Miss Brenda Love now?

I don't know but her new blog design rules.
posted by nanojath at 12:56 PM on November 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


Folks, you're missing the real scandal here, which is that someone, somewhere is still using Classmates.com.
posted by mkultra at 12:58 PM on November 17, 2009 [23 favorites]


Thanks y'all for not posting 'neener neener' comments on my stupid wee website. I'd deserve it for being so dang gullible!
posted by tiff2004 at 1:12 PM on November 17, 2009


Nah, you're being totally cool about it. Besides, I'm not sure it's good for our psyches to be as utterly cynical as we are here at MeFi.
posted by languagehat at 1:20 PM on November 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


As much fun as it is, we try not to play "Blame the Victim" here.
posted by Floydd at 1:20 PM on November 17, 2009


I am sort of wondering if the West Virginia Surf Report will get into this - it seems like a lot of the Metafilter Hate originated in the comments on its original reporting on this.
posted by nanojath at 1:22 PM on November 17, 2009


Wow. Thanks for the update. I think about that thread whenever I hear anything about MRSA.
posted by fiercecupcake at 1:28 PM on November 17, 2009


Dr. Syn?? Ack!
posted by potch at 1:36 PM on November 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


lmao guys remember this

I gave u.n. owen $20. I'd rather be out the $20 and have someone call me gullible than go through life assuming everyone who asks for a favor is trying to con me.

MRSA in the eye though, dang.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:45 PM on November 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


My father-in-law died of MRSA. He was in hospital for other reasons, got infected and died.

This other guy? He can die in a fire.
posted by deborah at 1:47 PM on November 17, 2009 [7 favorites]


Besides, I'm not sure it's good for our psyches to be as utterly cynical as we are here at MeFi.

Cynicism is just the inverse of credulity. What's important is skepticism, and one can never have too much of that. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

You know who should feel bad? Not the people who were duped in more detail, and who shared what they thought was the truth with us, but the people who were knee-jerk posting "Oh you guys are all such Internet Detectives that shit is old" on the thread without anything to back that up.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:49 PM on November 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


The internet basically does two things to people: You either become a hypervigilant skeptic who understands that personal anecdotes from even the most trusted sources are just that: anecdotes, that photographs and videos are easily faked, manipulated or easily arranged, Darren-Brown-like, to show what the photographer/videographer wants to be shown, and that there is no substitute for repeatable scientific evidence and that even this is sometimes wrong --

-- or you become the Aunt Marys or Uncle Bobs of the world: supremely gullible and constantly being taken in by the next Nigerian Prince Ombutu Osfasando Who Has Inherited A Sum of 336 Trillion US Dollars, or by the next email which purports to show the REAL Obama birth certificate which is being suppressed by ACORN and the Church of Satan, or by this awesome inspirational prayer against teaching homosexuality in schools which was written by Jenny Smith, age 6, of Paducah, KY as she lay dying from a rare disease whilst spreading the Gospel in Cambodia.

The prevalence of internet scams, urban legends and general chicanery would seem to suggest that the second type of people are much more common and breed much more quickly than those people who are prepared to doubt the things they see until somewhat definitive evidence can be offered.

Now, if you're as concerned about this as I am, however, you can help the cause by sending a tax-deductible love-gift of $500 USD to Avenger Ministries, c/o this website! Why, here's a letter of support from little Jenny Smith, age 6...
posted by Avenger at 1:49 PM on November 17, 2009 [9 favorites]


I spoke to little Jenny Smith on the phone once and can vouch for her.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:51 PM on November 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


tiff2004: You handled yourself very gracefully in the original thread. Sorry you got duped by this shithead, you opened your heart and got burned, it happens to everybody.
posted by futureisunwritten at 1:53 PM on November 17, 2009


Hey way to quote stats from 2005. Sure, the flu kills people but it kills the weak and the sick and the old and the immunocompromised. MRSA doesn't give a shit and will kill 20 year old the same as a 90 year old.

from the link: Researchers say the strain USA600 contains unique characteristics that may be linked to the high mortality rate. But they say it is unclear whether other factors like the patients' older age, diseases or the spread of infection contributed to the poor outcomes collectively or with other factors. The average age of patients with the USA600 strain was 64; the average age of patients with other MRSA strains was 52.

And H1N1 is sickening and killing proportionately more people who are younger than the usual seasonal flu does: Total influenza hospitalization rates for laboratory-confirmed flu continue to climb and remain higher than expected for this time of year. Hospitalization rates continue to be highest in younger populations with the highest hospitalization rate reported in children 0-4 years old.

Wash your hands, sneeze or cough into your elbow or shoulder, and keep any cuts or abrasions clean. And try to stay out of the hospital, where you're most likely to pick up a MRSA infection.
posted by rtha at 1:55 PM on November 17, 2009


I don't even think he was a real doctor.

No, but he is a real worm, apparently.
posted by dead cousin ted at 1:58 PM on November 17, 2009 [20 favorites]


The world needs both the skeptical, cynical types and the credulous, empathetic types. I tend towards the skeptical, but in both this and the Kaycee Nicole case, I have no problems with those who said "I believe this." I do have a problem with those who said, "I believe this, and those of you who don't are terrible people."
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:00 PM on November 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


Is this the place to admit that I've read the u.n. owen thread like, a zillion times, and I still don't quite know what was going on? I don't like internet donations to random people "in trouble" except in very specific cases, but I can't quite figure out if it's 100% scam or like, part drama-queen part con or what.

Maybe that's the sign of a semi-successful con?
posted by muddgirl at 2:02 PM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I gave u.n. owen $20. I'd rather be out the $20 and have someone call me gullible than go through life assuming everyone who asks for a favor is trying to con me.
posted by jessamyn at 1:45 PM on November 17


I don't like to see kindhearted people taken advantage of and I'm glad to know that the sort of solicitation threads u.n. owen had had posted on her behalf would be instantly deleted now.

Incidentally, reading through the archives this afternoon made me realize that MeFi is just getting (way) better and better, contrary to the claims of old-schoolers who think otherwise.

(Also, to u.n. owen: I missed that thread the first time around, but yes: I did write that email. Meant it, too.)
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:02 PM on November 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


You know what? There's still nobody named Daniel Krieg dead in the US per Legacy.com (anytime since 2000). Although they missed a guy in Indiana in 2003 who's on the Social Security Death Index.

MetaFilter: every image is photoshopped and every video is secretly an advertisement
posted by dhartung at 2:03 PM on November 17, 2009


Please don't read this! I am a teenager who died from MRSA. My parents told me to buckle up but instead I went to a Beer party and danced all night. Well guess what? Now I'm dead and a ghost with MRSA. By reading this comment I have infected your keyboard and if you don't donate 50 dollars to my son (who is typing this because ghost hands go through keyboards) in 666 minutes I will hack your facebook profile and change around your favorite books to make it look like you really like Orson Scott Card. Forward this email to 69 of your friends and Microsoft will send you a pig in the mail. Nice nice work need any more? My ghost friend Prince Zdongas Turkca is looking to deposit 50,00,00 dollar American in your account, but you need to guess what Famous Rapper this is. In conclusion, help President Obama find a tooth whitening secret to send Moms back to College.
posted by Damn That Television at 2:04 PM on November 17, 2009 [40 favorites]


Btw, while were discussing it, can anybody point me to the definitive .u.n. owen thread? I've heard about this person but I'm not exactly clear on what happened except that there was money and Alex Trebek involved somehow.
posted by Avenger at 2:05 PM on November 17, 2009


I just remember something about her eating sticks of butter then a while later she was using someone elses account here. Can someone fill me in with that last part? I remember it being pretty juicy.
posted by dead cousin ted at 2:19 PM on November 17, 2009


For those of you who have not had nor had a loved one who has had MRSA, it is a scary, fucked-up motherfucker.
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:19 PM on November 17, 2009


Oh, MRSA MRSA me,
Things ain't what they used to be...

posted by not_on_display at 2:19 PM on November 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


MRSA is in a huge epidemic state right now. Note that mortality rates are as high as 10-30%

Ahhhh....

MRSA is nasty shit. No doubt about it. But quoting 10-30% mortality rates is terribly misleading. Those are the mortality rates for bacteremia caused by MRSA. Bacteremia is when an infection spreads through your bloodstream and is extremely serious no matter what bacteria causes it.

Most MRSA infections are skin infections and not bacteremia. Not to say that they are not serious, but 30% of people who get MRSA infections do not die. And there are a lot of people carrying around MRSA without getting infections.

In fact, it is statistically almost a certainty that a bunch of people reading this right now have some strain of MRSA in their noses, which is where you carry around staph. The incidence of carriers of regular staph in the general population is up to something like 25-30% per year, with MRSA being maybe 10% of that or 2-3% per year.

2million+ people are not dying from MRSA per year.
posted by Justinian at 2:21 PM on November 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


Oh, and get used to it people. I would guess that inside 20 years MRSA will be as ubiquitous as regular staph in the general population, not just at-risk groups.
posted by Justinian at 2:23 PM on November 17, 2009


Is this the place to post that the recent Chuck Biscuits death hoax might have been perpetrated by none other than... Chuck Biscuits?
posted by scody at 2:28 PM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Justinian: "almost a certainty that a bunch of people reading this right now have some strain of MRSA in their noses"

So, should I be picking my nose and eating it to build up immunity, or not picking my nose in order to reduce my exposure?
posted by subbes at 2:28 PM on November 17, 2009


In fact, it is statistically almost a certainty that a bunch of people reading this right now have some strain of MRSA in their noses, which is where you carry around staph.

AHHHHHH. OK, I'm really truly going to stop picking my nose and start washing my hands.
posted by muddgirl at 2:30 PM on November 17, 2009


(It was perhaps the only time in this blog’s history that hit counter approached 500 a day. Such is the power of Metafilter...)

Well, you know, she'd probably get more traffic if she didn't have such a ridiculous blue background.

Seriously, how time flies. I didn't remember this as being two years ago. Wow.

What pisses me off about this story is that it managed to freak me out. The night I read it I had the exact same accident happen. Dark, door, *twack!* right in the eye socket. Total cartoon stars. I made it to the bathroom, saw my eye was super red and the skin above and below the eye was scratched.

Now normally I would has just crawled back into bed and been pissed at myself for having walked into a door, but this time I went to bed stressing about MRSA convinced they'd need to take out my eye and that I'd die! (Yeah, I blame my upbringing.)

I've stopped being surprised by stuff like this. I also hate to say it's crap like this that caused me to put my medical scans online when I decided to tell people I was sick. Even with scans and video I figured someone would accuse me of faking it.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:31 PM on November 17, 2009


Jessamyn: I agree that being uncharitable and mean-spirited about people in trouble is worse than getting scammed every now and then (which is why I always give homeless people change if I've got it), but isn't it also detrimental to donate to Internet beggars because it encourages fakery? A gentle skepticism towards anyone who wants money doesn't actually hurt anyone--if anything it can only help the honestly needy folks to get more substantial help than just some money (like advice or help finding a job for instance.)

I've been scammed before, and I regret it, not out of embarassment for giving money to a cheesy gambling addict posing as his pretend cancer-ridden wife and encouraging lots of others to do the same, but because their lies demean real folks with real problems.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:35 PM on November 17, 2009


AHHHHHH. OK, I'm really truly going to stop picking my nose and start washing my hands.

You joke, but general hygiene is about all you can do.

Well, except for not going to hospitals unless you have to. And not using IV drugs. Don't go to prison. Don't hang out in locker rooms. (I'm not sure whether this applies to the locker rooms at gyms and "fitness centers" or not).

Other than that, worrying about it will drive you crazy.
posted by Justinian at 2:35 PM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Only half a joke, really. I tend to be really half-assed about the hand washing, stemming from this period of depression when I was really anti-hygiene. Not a good thing, recently.

(Also, the part about picking my nose was also only half-a-joke - doesn't everyone pick their nose? What do non-gross people do about annoying boogers?)
posted by muddgirl at 2:39 PM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I hire out-of-work bloggers to clean my nose for me.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:40 PM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Metafilter Reaffirms Shenanigans Exist

Mefite Ruins Silly Acronym
posted by Sys Rq at 2:59 PM on November 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


Man, Really Screwed Up.
posted by dirtdirt at 3:02 PM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


And the man with the filter said
Something seems off-kilter
And it turned into an internet hoax

posted by Inspector.Gadget at 3:14 PM on November 17, 2009


booger bloggers.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 3:21 PM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


this period of depression when I was really anti-hygiene

That's because your brain was trying to kill you. Not joking here, either--there's a lot of people who think that anti-hygiene impulses come from the same source as more actively suicidal impulses.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:27 PM on November 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


By "people" here I mean "neurologists I have interviewed about depression," not "random people on the street." It's still speculative, and it's hard to imagine how one would test it, but it is a speculation I've heard from several neurologists.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:28 PM on November 17, 2009


HURF DURF BUTTER EATER!
posted by fixedgear at 3:35 PM on November 17, 2009


(It was perhaps the only time in this blog’s history that hit counter approached 500 a day. Such is the power of Metafilter. Shame that none of those folks stuck around and became a follower…..but I digress.)

I know it was a time of high emotion & let's all let bygones be bygones, but you can't really expect site loyalty from a group of people you & your friends called trolls, stinkers & many other endearing names. Digression over.
posted by scalefree at 3:53 PM on November 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


there's a lot of people who think that anti-hygiene impulses come from the same source as more actively suicidal impulses.

OK, so I only want to shake hands with people that come out of the bathroom smiling...

On second thought, I don't want to shake hands, period.
posted by qvantamon at 3:59 PM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Joke's on you Oriole! Thank god the cat's out of the bag, the actors bills for the meetups were starting to stack up.

posted by Mathowie's 23303'd sock puppet at 7:20 PM on November 17 [+] [!]
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:23 PM on November 17, 2009


I guess I can pull up that tree I planted for that asshole.

My Dad really did just die. Leave it in the ground for him, instead.
posted by flabdablet at 4:56 PM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


DISCLAIMER:

There is a possibility, which is waning with each e-mail and comment I receive, that this is all some sort of a concoction created by those who tried to prove us wrong to begin with, and that what we reported to have happened two years ago really did. The disgusting fact that that possibility exists at all is enough to make me physically ill. At any rate, we were duped, one way or the other, and I’m not sure which one is worse. What I am sure of is that my faith in humanity has died a bit as a result of this experience.


Amazing to watch the human mind. It wants to believe so badly. It will entertain impossibilities rather than give up a cherished belief with emotional meaning.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:32 PM on November 17, 2009


Avenger: Btw, while were discussing it, can anybody point me to the definitive .u.n. owen thread? I've heard about this person but I'm not exactly clear on what happened except that there was money and Alex Trebek involved somehow

It's a two-parter: (a) the one OC referred to above, and (b) this one, started later the same day.
posted by hangashore at 6:38 PM on November 17, 2009


Anecdotal information - a several years ago I had an infection with MRSA's little brother MRSE (Staph Epidermidis) and I went through a bunch of different antibiotics that it was apparently feeding on, including one that the insurance company had to approve over the phone that cost $50 a pill - which didn't work. I ended up needing vancomycin to kill it off. On the bright side, the hospital's infectious diseases specialist was a pleasure to talk to, one of the smartest people I've met and refreshingly enough, didn't treat me like an idiot - including making it perfectly clear to the attending physician that I was more than capable of learning how to string an IV and could just as easily treat myself in the comfort of my home instead of the hospital.

I would wish the overall experience on very few.
posted by plinth at 7:16 PM on November 17, 2009


Hey, at least he didn't tell his boss he had cancer.

Sorry to hear about your Dad, flabdablet. I hope you're doing OK.
posted by double block and bleed at 7:23 PM on November 17, 2009


after reading those old trainwrecks i feel strongly that quonsor is my biological father
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:33 PM on November 17, 2009


The internet basically does two things to people:

I see a lot of commenting here and in the old thread and on the various blogs about how "the internet" or "MetaFilter" has made us cynical; heavens to Betsy, it ain't the internet. The internet's power lies in dissemination, and its scope is impressive; but it doesn't create any new kinds of thinking.

Having grown up among journalists, I feel right at home among the cynical. Before there was an internet, I was fascinated with Xeroxlore, urban legends, and crap like people collecting soda can tabs to cure cancer. So were the people around me, who dug past the top story and into the meaty details. Countless scams and scandals, forgeries and confidence games, whitewashing operations and manipulative schemes were uncovered by people who had the sense to doubt something that was too pat - and some were never discovered at all until some long-after revelations. Mark Twain didn't need the internet to raise a commonsense eyebrow when a story went a step too far.

And debunking/researching/clarifying that stuff long predates the internet, as well (all Jan Harold Brunvand's books do) - as does approaching pleas for help, sob stories, and too-good-to-be-true anecdotes with a bit of a jaundiced eye. Cons and games are nothing new under the sun, and it's perfectly smart and healthy to do a smell test on anything that's out to win your sympathy or incite your hysteria. It doesn't mean the good stuff can't get through, or that you become too tough to respond to real need. But a culture of reasoned cynicism does help you get better at discerning real gold from goldplate.

I don't cotton to making anyone feel bad about being cynical. I reckon more harm is done by indulging in scams that waste money and divert resources and goodwill than by believing in giving a good solid vetting to anything that requests action or support.
posted by Miko at 8:16 PM on November 17, 2009 [7 favorites]


Jessamyn, indeed: I had MRSA in my left eye in spring 2007 and it was excruciatingly painful. I was terrified.

Plinth, amen to Vancomycin. I don't ever want to bathe, swab, ingest and then IRRIGATE anything on my body with massive doses of drugs all at once ever again. Seriously, taking care of MRSA at home is disturbing.

To Justinian: I had 5 MRSA infections in 4 years... I gave up my gym membership two years ago when the one by my house closed and haven't had another occurrence of MRSA since then. COINCIDENCE? Hmmm... really glad I have an elliptical and a treadmill at home now, actually.

The one upside is that now if anybody at work has a family member diagnosed with MRSA, I get an email. I guess I'm the go-to gross infection person now.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:57 PM on November 17, 2009


Oh and even though MRSA sucks and so does Fake Dead Guy Who Shall Not Be Named, the thread itself seems to have raised awareness about the infection... so, I'll take that as a positive thing.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:02 PM on November 17, 2009


To Justinian: I had 5 MRSA infections in 4 years... I gave up my gym membership two years ago when the one by my house closed and haven't had another occurrence of MRSA since then. COINCIDENCE? Hmmm... really glad I have an elliptical and a treadmill at home now, actually.

Tough to say. It's very difficult to trace community acquired MRSA infections. It's certainly suggestive, though.
posted by Justinian at 9:02 PM on November 17, 2009


The one upside is that now if anybody at work has a family member diagnosed with MRSA, I get an email.

I thought this meant you got to leave work to avoid infection. :(
posted by desjardins at 9:27 PM on November 17, 2009


> By "people" here I mean "neurologists I have interviewed about depression," not "random people on the street." It's still speculative, and it's hard to imagine how one would test it, but it is a speculation I've heard from several neurologists.

This is the most fascinating thing I've read all week. You don't happen to have a link to a paper on this, do you?
posted by tarheelcoxn at 9:33 PM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Metafilter Reaffirms Shenanigans Exist

Mefite Ruins Silly Acronym


Nah, you're good, there's methicillin resistant Staph epi, too. It's not trying as hard to kill you though.

I work in hospitals. We cultured our desks once for fun. The results were frightening. I am certain my flora is plotting against me.
posted by little e at 10:17 PM on November 17, 2009


This is the most fascinating thing I've read all week. You don't happen to have a link to a paper on this, do you?

I completely agree. Sidhedevil, if there are links available to your writings on this topic, I would love to read more!
posted by lalex at 10:19 PM on November 17, 2009


Wow, mathowie sure had us fooled last week, huh?
posted by lukemeister at 10:28 PM on November 17, 2009


[musical interlude]
posted by Sys Rq at 10:31 PM on November 17, 2009


Play him back on, keyboard cat!
posted by Pinback at 12:16 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Metafilter-Reading Stupid Assholes.

Kidding.</small?
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:08 AM on November 18, 2009


Who or what is an MRSA?

Tune in next time for "Seven Years Ago On Mefi!"
posted by WolfDaddy at 6:02 AM on November 18, 2009


Ooooh, I so want to zing BrendaLove with The Truth of this disgusting, petty deception but her site has been down for over 90 days. Drat.

A couple of MeFites, independent of each other, wrote me about their sleuthing results months ago. Quite awesome, one in particular who prefers to stay out of the fray.

Curious what would motivate this "Dr. Syn",/Dan Krieg guy, ex-navy submarine operator, to create such a lousy deception? He faked his death on the web but then did not actually disappear and made publicly searchable information on the web -like his YouTube account- fairly easy to access, so his deception could be easily outed. What was the point?
posted by nickyskye at 6:25 AM on November 18, 2009


HEY EVERYBODY DID YOU SEE THERES A BOY TRAPPED IN A BALLOON FLYING OVER CALIRADO?!?!?!!!!11!!!
posted by slogger at 7:10 AM on November 18, 2009


Ugh, MRSA. I was on a design team this summer working to find solutions for slowing or stopping MRSA and C-Diff related infections in hospitals and other health care environments. It was during that project that I learned about the recent rise in Community-Acquired MRSA (CA-MRSA) and now I ALWAYS wash my hands and use anti-bacterial gel.

After having my students shadow health care providers for weeks, I will always ALWAYS ask that my or a loved one's health care providers, especially doctors, wash or sanitize their hands in front of me. Before they touch me or my loved one. After they touch any wound on me or a loved one, and especially before they touch any other part of my or my loved one's body after touching a wound or adjusting personal medical equipment (because you can get C-Diff from yourself). Because, DANG. I know doctors, nurses, PCTs and such are busy and driven? BUT WASH YOUR DAMN HANDS. Especially you, doctors. You may not catch anything yourself because you are gods, but you hands/ties/stethoscopes are wickedly efficient vectors for disease.

Anyone who jokes about MRSA or dying when they aren't dead? Is a complete *ss.
posted by jeanmari at 7:50 AM on November 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


Desjardins, I wish! I found a doctor in town who's an MRSA specialist that really is great to work with; he does all the resistance tests so you have a list of antibiotics that will work on you, so in the future you can make sure to get prescribed only the drugs that will work in your system. He's also a bit enthusiastic about draining wounds, education, and scar minimization, plus he works in a hospital here with a full bloodwork lab and a plastic surgeon available if necessary for the bigger, nastier infections. So yeah... I don't get to leave work but that would be cool indeed.

So, y'know, if you get MRSA in Dallas and you need a dr, MeMail me y'all.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:15 AM on November 18, 2009


Curious what would motivate this "Dr. Syn",/Dan Krieg guy, ex-navy submarine operator, to create such a lousy deception?

So am I. I know there have been lots of articles -- academic and otherwise -- about this sort of phenomenon, but it really fascinates me, so if anybody on here could point me in the right direction on some reading on the topic they would recommend to a lay person, I would really appreciate it.

Also, because of my fascination and the name coming up, I went back to the Kaycee Nicole threads last night, and for some reason, read them all from start to finish. I read MetaFilter back then, but not as regularly, and I've known what the whole situation was if someone was to reference it, but never at that level of detail. I know it's been seven years and all, but seriously, if anybody who was involved by that and fooled by that happens to be reading this, I'm so sorry that happened to you. I realize it's not the biggest tragedy in the world, but there's something about the whole messed up situation that just makes me re-regret every lie I've ever told.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:36 AM on November 18, 2009


...so if anybody on here could point me in the right direction on some reading on the topic they would recommend to a lay person, I would really appreciate it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Münchausen_by_Internet

Actually, just google "Münchausen" and "internet"
posted by cjorgensen at 8:47 AM on November 18, 2009


I'd be interested in reading on the topic too. But my general thinking on it is: it wasn't really a lousy deception, because the intent wasn't to disappear. It garnered him--via made-up internet identity--a lot of attention and people expending fraught verbiage and emotional energy for a short while--which was the intent.

After a year or two, all that isn't happening anymore, so why would he care that the deception falls apart? Plus, that gives a second wave of attention from a percentage of the first-wave dupes getting a faceful of cognitive dissonance. Many times, trolls "enjoy" the troll falling apart just as much as the initial trolling itself, is what I'm positing here and supporting via complicated statisticogluteal analysis. Also from having seen a couple smaller-scale faked-net-deaths back in the usenet newsgroup days, which all tended to follow a shorter-duration pattern of an attention-seeky waste of skin suddenly shockingly dying, outcries of shock and dismay and sympathy, skepticism met with outrage by successfully-trolled offenderati, more and more story holes appearing, and the final scenes involving said troll bursting back into scene with a "ha ha, fooled you all! Lighten up, it's funny!"

Fake-death trolling is sort of the MRSA infection of the internet's eye.
posted by Drastic at 8:53 AM on November 18, 2009


via made-up internet identity

Where he sort of jumped the rails of ordinary trollery, though, was putting his real name into the mix. That's a special kind of crazy.
posted by Mid at 9:05 AM on November 18, 2009


Reading the original thread, it looks like people were detecting something funny with his blog within the first handful of comments - right on, Encyclopedia Blue
posted by jtron at 9:14 AM on November 18, 2009


Man, I missed this whole thing the first time.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:23 AM on November 18, 2009


I've been jumping around the comments to posts by his blog-friends back when it happened & it sounds like some enterprising MeFite contacted his family who apparently joined in his lie. It's one thing to fake your own death on the Internet, but it's a whole 'nother level of weird to get your wife (& maybe other family members, it's unclear) to play along. Disturbing.

Has anybody saved or recovered anything from the original blog? I haven't found any actual text or quotes from it yet.
posted by scalefree at 10:04 AM on November 18, 2009


You know the really scary thing? There are people on the internet right now constructing detailed and elaborate online personas in a bid to pull off The Greatest Hoax Of All Time.

They've been pseudonymously blogging for years about inane things just so people don't discredit them for a half-assed setup just before the punchline. They've fabricated entire families of characters and introduced them to readers, simply so it'll seem more convincing when those characters are called in for their roles in the con. They're creating and using accounts with their fake identities all over the web, maybe even on MetaFilter, just to establish time-tested credibility with even the most cynical skeptics.

The internet's still relatively new. The older it gets, the more elaborate the webs spun by these dedicated tricksters will become. Eventually, someone will do it right and fool all of us. Of course, "doing it right" invariably means relieving us of ridiculous amounts of our wealth, anonymously, and retiring someplace warm and beautiful at our expense. And ten years later, after we've had plenty of time to bask in our own undeceivable compassion, suddenly revealing him- or herself as the brilliant supervillain mastermind that defeated the whole internet.

And we will all cry tears of shame and agony and commit ritual seppuku (or at least we'll tell each other that we're committing ritual seppuku, but actually just log off the internet FOREVAR with heavy hearts and bright red faces). And the tubes will fall silent with the kind of silence that makes even Nigerian princes seek honest employment, and one day we'll reflect and be grateful for the enormous slice of humble pie we all collectively ate, the scam that made the world a better place.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 10:49 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


boo. i want to read the account! just like i want to read the whole kaycee thing because i missed it the first time around. where are the archives of these hoaxes so i can read them?!
posted by misanthropicsarah at 11:09 AM on November 18, 2009


For those new to the u.n. owen saga, she reappeared under a different name for a bit, but someone else will have to reveal the link to that longboated thread.
posted by drezdn at 11:20 AM on November 18, 2009


Here is my best guess, during the thread where u.n. owen's sockpuppeted return was revealed, at what exactly had happened there. Scroll up if from there if you want to see the whole revelation itself play out; the thread was initially about someone else entirely and that was the surprise twist after the initial (and weird-in-its-own-right thing; attention, people of the internet, please do not email me your account passwords) had played out.

Note that that thread is a huge monster and will crush your sad little computer. Click at your own risk.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:37 AM on November 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


I have this weird love/hate relationship with people like u.n. owen/sansgras and various hoaxers who come here. On the one hand, they fuck up MetaFilter; on the other, their lives are uniformly pathetic and hilarious (dhoyt's outing thread was probably the funniest fucking thing I ever read here and I can't find it right now).
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:14 PM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Man, I totally fucked up the structure of that parenthetical.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:15 PM on November 18, 2009


Jesus, this is pretty crazy stuff. Even just skimming through the thread you linked, Cortex.
posted by Damn That Television at 12:32 PM on November 18, 2009


> By "people" here I mean "neurologists I have interviewed about depression," not "random people on the street." It's still speculative, and it's hard to imagine how one would test it, but it is a speculation I've heard from several neurologists.

This is the most fascinating thing I've read all week. You don't happen to have a link to a paper on this, do you?


Sadly, no--it was real off-the-cuff stuff at the time, it just stuck in my head because several people mentioned it. I'll check the people I remember speculating about this and see if any of them have followed up in the ensuing years with any research.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:50 PM on November 18, 2009


-->MetaFilter: Such is the power of-->
|_______________________________|
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:12 PM on November 18, 2009


I suggest we all mail Cortex our KeepassX or other encrypted password storage database files.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 2:16 PM on November 18, 2009


On the "depression and bad hygiene" thing, I haven't seen anything substantive following up on that idea, but I did discover that V.A. Curtis has written a bunch of really interesting articles about the evolutionary psychology of handwashing.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:07 PM on November 18, 2009


Sidhedevil, my research (on hoarding) intersected yours at OCD. I've been working my way through this very interesting editorial/lit review. (tl;dr—as part of our normal development, we all go through stages of ritualized behavior [roughly, ages 2-6]; depending on what we roll in life's environmental & genetic crapshoot, some of us get stuck there.)

Now off to read V.A. Curtis.
posted by dogrose at 4:36 PM on November 18, 2009


Sidhedevil: "By "people" here I mean "neurologists I have interviewed about depression""

It's been my experience that a percentage probably approaching 100% of single-boarded neurologists run away as fast as they can from anything even vaguely smelling of "depression" and other "psychogenic" illnesses. That's a lot of the reason why they're not psychiatrists.
posted by meehawl at 8:27 PM on November 18, 2009


Has anybody saved or recovered anything from the original blog? I haven't found any actual text or quotes from it yet.

As far as I can tell he did a pretty thorough job of eradicating his prior online presence (aside from his and others' comments on other blogs). He blocked access to the Internet Archive on the Dr. Syn blog and deleted it. He had a prior blog on Blogger called the Snob Log (you can find a link in the original Metafilter thread) which he'd announced he was wrapping up several months before the Dr. Syn thing started. If you dig up the link you can plug it into the Wayback Machine and find a fragmentary bit of archive from the Snob Log. It hints at some issues with coworkers finding his weblog, and the final entry suggest some general conflict with being online. It all got wiped out shortly after the "death" announcement. I actually found the thoroughness with which the online record was expunged to be part of what didn't feel right about the whole incident. I just didn't see the "bereaved family" so quickly getting on top of this sort of "cleaning up the internet presence" project.

The blog itself was really not much to speak of as I recall. It started with a basic kind of well I'm starting this here to explore some thoughts intro and then pretty much went straight into the MRSA incident. The run of that was basically 1. I ran into a door going to the bathroom at night and really busted up my eye; 2. Uh oh, I've got MRSA from the injury; 3. Things took a turn for the worse, I lost the eye; 4. We regret to tell everyone that Dr. Syn took a turn for the worse and died.

I feel sort of bad about this thing. It reads to me like an individual who perhaps was finding the maintenance of an online persona incompatible with real life and while this is obviously the wrong way to deal with that there's no evidence he was seeking any personal gain out of it, my theory is that he just wanted to disappear, maybe in a way that made it impossible to come back at least in that persona. I guess you get what you get when you make up a lie, but nothing much was gained in this: his erstwhile friends still think we're pricks, now they just think he's a prick too. No one is enlightened. My personal reaction is mostly "wow, you spent way too much time researching this guy." I didn't even care about it particularly. I just have a research problem. I mean, like the kind of problem you have to get special help for. But there's no Researcher's Anonymous.

It's a good reminder that, having tied this strange avatar to my real identity, I am stuck with the evidence of my blabbermouth oddity forever.
posted by nanojath at 9:08 PM on November 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


When I fake my own death, you guys will never, ever be able to tell. I don't know how yet, but I'll be the one to fool you. You'll see! Not one inconsistency! You'll mourn and I'll laugh safely within my new sock puppet (which will sound muffled).

Well, except for this comment that might cast a little doubt over any news of my untimely demise. Other than that though, NOTHING!
posted by Bageena at 9:10 PM on November 18, 2009 [18 favorites]


A last bit of follow-up - a month or so ago his high school class page was open, now it is locked except to signed-in classmates, so it would appear he is probably aware that he's been made. I expect he'll just ignore it until it dies down. It looks like he hasn't logged into his YouTube channel for a few weeks. A last thing is that between the fragmentary archives of the Snob Log, the personal info on that classmates page and his YouTube stream there is pretty much no doubt whatsoever that this is the same person and that he is alive.
posted by nanojath at 9:15 PM on November 18, 2009


It's going to be a bit of a fuck around if you actually die, Bageena. So, uh, don't.
posted by nanojath at 9:17 PM on November 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


Nanojath's recollection of Dr. Syn's blog is similar to mine. There weren't many entries prior to the door-smacking incident. As I recall, he reported hitting his head, then being rushed to the ER. Returned home for day or two, then his condition worsened and he was admitted to the hospital. That's when his wife took over blogging duties. MRSA infection set it, eye was removed, then he passed away. What first set off my own Spidey sense was the photo his wife posted on the blog - "Here's Dr. Syn with his eye patch." It was such a ridiculously cropped picture - less than one quarter of some person's upper face with a large bandage over the eye. It could have been (and probably was) a photo lifted off the Internet cropped so that it couldn't be recognized one way or the other. (You really wouldn't have even known that it was a picture of a bandaged eye without the text description.)
posted by Oriole Adams at 9:29 PM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


dhoyt's outing thread was probably the funniest fucking thing I ever read here and I can't find it right now

Wasn't this it?

dhoyt's unmasking was one of the few drama-threads that I followed in real time. It was worth every minute.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:32 AM on November 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


It reads to me like an individual who perhaps was finding the maintenance of an online persona incompatible with real life and while this is obviously the wrong way to deal with that there's no evidence he was seeking any personal gain out of it, my theory is that he just wanted to disappear, maybe in a way that made it impossible to come back at least in that persona.

I think nanojath has it almost exactly right, except that he's maybe too charitable in that he omits the (apparent) private emails sent to some of the mourners from the deceased's "family" even months after the "death." That reads more like stirring-the-pot than trying to disappear. But it's ambiguous and hard to follow the motivations in the end based on the limited facts we have, so I agree the whole thing is just kind of sad, including my own fascination with it.

On the last point, and nanojath's "research problem," is it correct that at least three of us (Oriole, nanojath, and me) were independently googling on this more than two years after the fact? Now that's scary and sad, though I suppose we've found a support group.
posted by Mid at 7:18 AM on November 19, 2009


nanojath: "The run of that was basically 1. I ran into a door going to the bathroom at night and really busted up my eye; 2. Uh oh, I've got MRSA from the injury; 3. Things took a turn for the worse, I lost the eye; 4. We regret to tell everyone that Dr. Syn took a turn for the worse and died."

As I recall, it was All His Wife's Fault. He'd been reminding her not to leave that door open but she kept doing it anyway.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:46 AM on November 19, 2009


On the last point, and nanojath's "research problem," is it correct that at least three of us (Oriole, nanojath, and me) were independently googling on this more than two years after the fact? Now that's scary and sad, though I suppose we've found a support group.

Heh, yeah, as far as I can tell Mid, yes we all arrived at the same evidence independently.

As I recall, it was All His Wife's Fault.

Oh yeah, I forgot about that aspect of it, which was kind of ick in context, he did indeed in the relating of the initial "accident" talk about how he'd had this ongoing problem with his wife leaving the bathroom door open.
posted by nanojath at 9:28 AM on November 19, 2009


Some "coverage" at WVSR.
posted by Mid at 10:04 AM on November 23, 2009


The number of narrative sequences in the story is quite striking to me:

He has an ongoing feud with his wife about the bathroom door, which is left open by her leading to his injury.
He chooses the name of a pirate for his online identity, then gets an eye patch.
He reads a fortune cookie that predicts his death, then dies.

Did he ever mention anything about a parrot or treasure map?
posted by scalefree at 10:21 AM on November 23, 2009


How did I miss this? Need to check my RSS reader more often.

The original post was what prompted me to send Matt $5.00 :)
posted by vertigo25 at 10:15 PM on November 23, 2009


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