why they get upset about fictions

[Update: You might also be interested in my posts on lonelygirl15 (Sept 5) and lonelygirl15 – commodification of a social space? (Sept 13)]

So I’m right into this Lonelygirl15 stuff now. As with Online Caroline, people are really upset and angry once they realise that the character they’ve imagined real is in fact, fiction. I’ve come across two main reasons so far:

  1. They were tricked into participating themselves, not simply by watching and following the story, but by giving something of themselves in what they thought was a genuine interaction between equals – for instance, they offered honest video responses to the videos Lonelygirl posted. This is what Kaycee Nicole’s victims were upset about too (my PhD dissertation has a section on her – no, really, you can search the PDF and it’s brief and accessibly written, heh), and it’s also one of the things people who believed Online Caroline was real were upset about too – they had told Caroline about themselves and enacted a relationship and that was taken from them. Of course they’re pissed.
  2. The other objection is different. It’s perhaps best expressed in Renetto’s video response to finding out Lonelygirl15 was fake. Here’s a transcript of some of what he says:

    Look, Youtube is only for people like me, that film in good lighting and in bad lighting, and in my house but in my yard, and you know, I say uh all the time. Uh, and uh. And I don’t edit my videos and I don’t put really cool music to my videos, like Lonelygirl did. No wonder, cos she had a whole freaking production team! No wonder she’s like the second most subscribed! And no wonder she gets millions and millions of video views, it’s cos she’s cheating! And it makes me sick! (..) YouTube’s not for fake stuff! It’s for real stuff! (..) Kick her off of YouTube, she doesn’t belong here.

    LonelyGirl15 is cheating, and that’s not fair. The point isn’t that she’s fake, it’s that she’s gaming the system – “no wonder she’s like the second most subscribed!” (Of course, I might be over-interpreting – this video might be satirical… particularly in the light of his later video where “lonelygirl15” calls him and says she’s real…)

Actually I suppose both these objections are similar. They thought they were dealing with an equal, and then it turns out she wasn’t at all – she was fictional, so on a completely different ontological level than them, and she was using a production crew and pretending to be doing it all herself (or with Daniel’s help). Not equal footing at all.

11. September 2006 by Jill

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