Being lied to by the Internet is nothing new, but this year it got super-annoying. In the past, you'd see a video that looked fake, you'd enjoy it with a grain of salt, 5,000 imbeciles would write "Fake!" in the comments, then we'd all move on with our lives.
This year, though, the fakes seemed to be coming every week (at least in the last few months). The fakers went out of their way to announce that we'd been had, but it wasn't clear what they hoped to get out of it. It felt much like this old bit from Norm MacDonald.
Lying for no discernable reason, with seemingly nothing to gain; that characterized many of the lies we were fed this year. Maybe the speed of sharing on Facebook and Twitter has made "going viral" and end in and of itself. Maybe the liars just wanted attention. Or maybe this is just the latest instance of the Internet making people worse.
Using the Norm MacDonald template, let's give out some awards in recognition of all the lies and fakes that were foisted on us this year and try to figure out what the liar was hoping to gain. We'll announce the biggest lie of the year, but first, let's start with the most irritating liar of them all...
Liar With Worst Hair
Elan Gale for "Diane In 7A'
Who's The Filthy Liar: The Bachelor producer Elan Gale.
What'd he lie about: He said a woman on his plane had been rude to customer service personnel and was breathing loudly, so he started giving her alcohol and passing her notes telling her to eat his dick.
What'd he stand to gain from lying: Twitter followers, Internet "fame," and a chance to be sanctimonious and paint himself as a hero for the working stiff.
Though he played it off like he always intended the whole thing to be a fun little fiction, it's pretty clear Gale didn't plan to admit the whole thing was a fake. He wanted the fame. That's clear from this blogpost, where he takes a victory lap in his triumph over rudeness and waves the flag for the proletariat. He probably hoped to stretch that Tumblr post into a book proposal.
Sadly for Gale, the Internet turned on him, calling him out for being unnecessarily hostile to the fictional Diane ("Eat my dick"?), and then his hoax got double-hoaxed with the rumor that the fictional Diane was dying of cancer. So he came clean and kinda sorta pretended it was all meant to be a little playlet for our entertainment, and not a desperate grab for hollow fame by a guy who seems just as ruined by being a reality show producer as the reality show stars he produces.
Liar Who Made People Start Filling In Their Customer Copies Again
Dayna Morales for “Gay Marine Waitress Didn't Get A Tip”
Who's The Filthy Liar: Dayna Morales, a (former) waitress at an Asian bistro in New Jersey.
What'd she lie about: She posted the above receipt image claiming that a family refused to tip her, writing that they couldn't because they didn't approve of her lifestyle (no word on how she did at remembering their drink order). Unfortunately for Morales, the family did tip, and Morales made the fatal error of processing their tip, so they were able to come forward with their copy of the receipt and their credit card statement proving they'd left more than 19% in gratuity.
What'd she stand to gain from lying: Money? When an African-American Red Lobster waitress posted an image of a customer receipt with a racial slur written on the tip line, people on the Internet did the feel-good thing and rallied to raise thousands of dollars for her. Maybe Morales was hoping for that kind of cash to come her way. It did, but she reportedly returned it all (or at least promised to) once she got caught.
Ultimately, the only ones who gained anything were homophobes or intolerant people in general who have a new way to cast doubt on claims of discrimination. In light of the the fact that Morales reportedly had a history of lying about most everything, this one seemed like less of a scam for the sake of conning progressives out of some money, and more like the mistake of someone in need of some treatment.
Most Enjoyable Long-Game Lie
Jacob Bakkila and Thomas Bender for “Horse_ebooks Is People!”
Who's The Filthy Liar: Jacob Bakkila and Thomas Bender.
What'd they lie about: They created the twitter feed @Horse_ebooks, a purported spam account that randomly tweeted out weirdly eloquent dialogue snippets from ebooks supposedly about horses, and Pronunciation Book, a YouTube channel supposedly created to teach viewers how to pronounce a different word each day. Both the Twitter feed and the YouTube channel were embraced as mysterious digital fountains of non sequitur. When Pronunciation Book launched a 77-day countdown with no explanation, the Internet was sent into a tizzy of speculation about who or what was programming it, and to what end. No one realized the two accounts were connected until September 24th when Bakkila and Bender revealed their collaboration in a New York gallery, announcing that Horse_ebooks and Pronunciation Book were both preludes to a new game release called Bear Stearns Bravo.
What'd they stand to gain from lying: Art! This is the one fake from this year that was actually enjoyable. A direct opposite of the "Diane in 7A" fake, where the reveal instantly cancelled out any enjoyment that was had.
Learning that the strangely zen-like tweets from @Horse_ebooks wasn't the work of a spambot at all, but a human pretending to be a spambot, seemed only to add another layer to the interaction with the feed. Was it better to think it was a bit of code lifting words from obscure books? Do we put more value into nonsensical phrases when we assume they've been formed by accident? And most importantly, why would someone spend two years pretending to be a spambot? See? Art!
Lie That Was More Boring Than A Corporate Social Media Account
Chipotle for “OMG Our Twitter Feed Was Hacked! How scandalous!"
Who's The Filthy Liar: Chipotle.
What'd they stand to gain from lying: God knows. It was mid-summer and a marketing associate had an idea to draw some attention to the restaurant's Twitter feed. It felt like being pranked by your mom.
Lie That Made You Feel Okay About Fibbing On Your Dating Profile
Ronaiah Tuiasosopo for “We've Never Met But I'm Your Dead Girlfriend."
(Image via Shotgun Spratling/Neon Tommy, Wiki Commons)
Who's The Filthy Liar: Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the guy who was pretending to be Lennay Kekua, Manti Te'o's girlfriend, whom he had never met in person, apparently. It was all just such a sad, weird mess that gave me another reason to be glad I'm not into sports.
What'd he lie about: He catfished Te'o into thinking he had a long-distance girlfriend, and that she had died just before Te'o played a really good game of football. It became the big, heartbreaking story that made the superstar athlete's success all the more uplifting.
What'd he stand to gain from lying: Tuiasosopo wanted to make some kind of weird connection with Te'o (I think?). Mainly, the guy sounded kind of unstable. This lie wasn't really intended to get one over on us so much, and it's really only embarrassing to everyone involved. Still, we all learned that even if you're a super-tough football hero, you can still be lonely enough to get into creepy shit on the Internet.
Liar We're Afraid To Mess With
Thamsanqa Jantjie for “I'll Just Wave My Hands Around Like An Italian."
Who's The Filthy Liar: Thamsanqa Jantjie, the fake sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela's memorial.
What'd he lie about: He pretended to know sign language, waving his hands in gibberish to fake-interpret the speakers during a globally broadcast memorial service.
What'd he stand to gain from lying: Not sure, though it's probably nice to be employed in a position that prevents him from having to brutally murder people. Seriously, the guy's killed before, so let's just back away and let bygones be bygones.
Lie That Made Us Hungry For Nachos
Randy Liedtke and Kyle Kinane for “Pace Salsa Stinks At Twitter"
Who's The Filthy Liar: Comedian Randy Liedtke.
What'd he lie about: We all got super-excited when comedian Kyle Kinane started tweeting at a Twitter account for Pace Salsa, after he saw that Pace Salsa seemed to favorite any tweet that mentioned their brand. Then it seemed like people at Pace Salsa were getting fired and they were bribing Kinane and a whole bunch of fun stuff was going on. But it turned out Pace Salsa never even had an account and the whole thing was a prank on Kinane by Liedtke.
What'd he stand to gain from lying: Nothing. Just a joke being played on a friend. A pretty enjoyable one. If it comes out that Kinane was in on it the whole time and the whole thing was a "stunt," that'll make it suck a little and we will express the requisite amount of outrage. As of now, if it really did play out as it seems, it was pretty fun.
Lie That Will Probably Blow 2014 Elections For A Lot Of Dems
Barack Obama for “If You Like Your Health Plan, You Can Keep It"
Who's The Filthy Liar: Barack Obama.
What'd he lie about: He said Obamacare would let everyone keep the plan they have if they liked it. He was wrong, and a lot of people found out they had to buy new insurance when their plans didn't meet the requirements the ACA put in place.
What'd he stand to gain from lying: The passage of Obamacare. So that worked out!
Most every other list is calling this the "Lie Of The Year," but nope. As the above video shows, this lie was mostly told back when he was selling Obamacare in 2009 and 2010. But just like Horse_ebooks, Obama kept the ruse going for several years before finally coming clean with the big show-stopping reveal this year. Calling this a lie is also kind of a stretch since it's more of a failure to deliver on a promise made while selling Obamacare (commenters, I await your teachings like a wayward schoolgirl who needs to be told she's naughty), but this thing made headlines dammit! Leaving it off would have been as egregious as resting the fate of healthcare reform on a website that makes Yahoo! Mail look elegant by comparison.
Liar Of The Year
Jimmy Kimmel for “A Girl Fell Down"
Who's The Filthy Liar: Jimmy Kimmel.
What'd he lie about: He posted a staged video where a girl in yoga pants tried to twerk upside down, but she fell over onto some candles and set her ass on fire. There was screaming. Then he revealed that the whole thing was fake without really explaining what the point of it was.
What'd he stand to gain from lying: Nothing. He basically said, "This girl fell down." We all laughed. Then he said, "No she didn't. It was a prank! On you, the viewer, for not knowing this video was fake when you had no reason to suspect it was fake!" We stopped laughing. The end.
Lie of the year. Not only was it hugely popular, it was the ultimate example of lying for no reason whatsover. The lie itself was the point. He didn't do it for money like Dayna, or fame like Elan, or to attempt to reform an impossibly broken system of healthcare like Barack. At best, it could be said the only thing Kimmel got was a lot of press for wasting people's time and getting the definition of "prank" wrong.
Congrats, Jimmy. Yours was the purest lie of 2013, and we still don't get why you told it.
(by Bob Powers)