This entry was posted on October 20, 2008 at 5:08 pm and is filed under regrets.
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Yeah, I’m pissed off. I think you’re a complete assohole. This is not “performance art.” This a sick hoax.
There were a few things that seemed off, but I gave you the benefit of the doubt. I thought it was strange that you didn’t want anyone to know what hospital you were in, but I decided it was probably just a privacy issue. Also, there were a few times during my e-mail conversations with Sabrina that I felt something wasn’t right. She used really poetic, flowery, overly dramatic language that no one uses in real life except for maybe goth/emo kids. In spite of that, I tried to connect with her and let her know that I cared. Knowing what I know now, I’m wondering if it was you posing as Sabrina. Her e-mails to me and posts on this blog almost read like they’re from a guy trying to think and write like a girl. So, I’d like to know:
1. Does Sabrina exist?
2. If she does, was she in on it?
3. What was the point of this?
I tried to convince myself not to post a comment here, but just re-watching this video and thinking about the crap you pulled just makes my blood boil. Jeni Gray has stated the questions I (and probably everyone else you tried to pull this sick hoax on) would like answers to, and that yes, you are a complete asshole.
Yeah, I’m with Jeni on the Sabrina thing. “She” was not very believable, but if she actually WAS a grieving girlfriend and just not the most natural-sounding writer, I didn’t want to end up making her feel like crap. That was set up very nicely — anybody who doubted Sabrina was being mean to a grieving woman, so of course we wouldn’t say anything.
Which really doesn’t do much for your project, does it? It really skews the results if the people responding to you and to her were kept from expressing their concerns by our society’s expectation that you do not mock the dying and the grieving. Or maybe that was your point, that you don’t like the societal norms? See, myself, I think there’s some real value to not mocking the dying and the grieving, having watched (real) friends (really) die and having grieved deeply for them.
Do you have numbers, statistics? A bunch of us are here from SkepChick, and I for one would like to see information on your hypothesis, your control group (the ones who you told in advance you were faking it), your methods, and at least a summary of the data, preferably including some charts or tables indicating the demographics of your unwitting guinea pigs.
Oh, wait, I forgot, this isn’t science, it’s ART. So I guess that makes it all OK.
Well, yawn. I considered not giving you the benefit of my attention with this comment, but I am interested to know why you’d bother flying all the way to New York to meet your ‘friends’ if you were planning to fake your own death. I appreciate you are attempting to pass this off as performance art, which is very funny to me because I’m guessing you have a handful of spectators, no exhibition space, and no agent, so really you’re just an amateur with a webcam. Under those circumstances there is no difference between ‘performance art’ and ‘acting like a dick, but with pretentious motives’.
My guess is you were hoping to go down as some sort of internet legend, perhaps gathering a little viral momentum or such. Epic fail.
What you do need to consider, however, is why the experiment failed. Why was there not more public wailing and gnashing of teeth? Is it because your hoax wasn’t very well executed (there was a lot to be suspicious of), or was it because you’re not a particularly likeable person? Or a combination of both? You should have a little think about that.
Oh, and I didn’t bother watching the video. That’s the trouble with these sort of ‘performance art’ pieces. People rarely give a crap, and certainly not enough of a crap to sit through yet another emo youtube rambling.
I’ve spent some time since yesterday trying to figure out why I’m so offended by this. I’ve never met rystefn, and barely interacted with him much on Skepchick. Why should I give a shit if he fakes his own death?
Maybe it’s because I saw this confessional video literally an hour after I finished listening to SGU’s Perry Deangelis Memorial Podcast, and was already thinking about what a shame it is to lose such bright, talented people wheen we need them so badly.
Similarly, maybe it’s because I had, over the previous few months, caught up on the story of the Blue Collar Scientist. I had read through his posts leading up to his death, and was moved by his courage and attitude in the face of it.
Maybe it’s because online communities like Skepchick and physical gatherings like TAM are so important to me. Not just because I’ve cultivated a lot of friends there, although that’s part of it — but because they’re oases where I can let the guard down. I trust that no one there is going to lie to me to sway me to their cause or their religion. I can, for a change, generally accept that while we might be wrong or might be mistaken, we’re probably not deliberately trying to mindfuck each other.
Or maybe it’s because so many of us are fighting the perception of non-theists as amoral hedonists who are incapable of truly being moral or having a strong ethic. Anything goes, right? This stunt is just one more thing the True Believers can point to as examples of shitty behavior. “Look at these arrogant, superior atheists turning on themselves and lying to each other. Where do they get off thinking they’re better than us? If they had Jesus in their lives, they wouldn’t do this.”
Or maybe it’s a combination. And maybe it’s just my own set of pet peeves.
I’ve also spent time wondering if I should bother posting. It’s probably not worth it, and it looks like comments are getting deleted anyway. But I feel somehow cleaner having written this, so what the hell.
Like Jeni and Improbable Bee, I felt there was something that didn’t seem quite right. But I know that grief can make people a little unbalanced, and I couldn’t think of a motive, so I too was giving the benefit of the doubt. (That this was some lame performance art piece never occurred to me — I don’t know if I should be embarrassed or proud for not thinking that cynically.) I don’t want to be the kind of person who says “I am sorry for your loss” while thinking “I need to see the death certificate before I swallow this completely.”
rystefn, I am glad you’re not dead. It’s odd, now that I know you’re not, I’m pleased to be done with you. Before, I was sorry you weren’t around anymore.
And I’m truly sorry about your father, if that really happened.
I am with Anthroslug on this… I am not upset as much as curious…
Also… despite how much of it was fake, the general ideas were worthy (the idea that you can care about someone you don’t know, that life is fleeting, that life is precious, etc) In fact, I think the reason I am not upset is because I stumbled upon “something” on the net that made me think, that made me feel, that made me take a look at my own life and ask myself some questions. Despite thee fact that the catalyst for my actions was a hoax (art, whatever) my actions and the results of my actions are still valid. (Hmmm so did the ends justify the means?)
Also, I have no shame is saying that I bought it hook line and sinker. I a still wide eyed and innocent sometimes… and I wouldn’t trade that in for anything. Occasionally I get duped, but I am okay with that.
So thank you Ry… because all in all, this was indeed very interesting.
(And I would be interested in knowing the full plan and how much of it was fake… a bit of “morbid” curiosity there.)
Not so upset, should have trusted my first instinct which was that this was totally fake. This thought occurred to me about the point when he made it significantly past the point of where he said was to be the end.
Also I agree with Kay’s position here, as to the general ideas thing. In a weird way this reminds me of that segment in V for Vendetta (the film, I haven’t finished reading the graphic novel yet so I don’t know if it is in there or not) where V lies to Evey through the extreme form of performance art that led to her having an understanding of what he was trying to achieve (anarchy, of a kind, as I understood it).
I’m not really too upset either. Honestly my first thought was “hey I’m glad he isn’t really dead”.
I stumbled onto this a couple of months ago and went back through the posts. I have to admit that I fell for it as well, and had some very real emotions as a result. I didn’t however get too emotionally invested, and I feel bad for those who did. Personally I would never even consider something like this. Call it art if you like, but in the end it’s just plain mean.
I guess I now wonder who the real Rystefn is?
And out of morbid curiosity what were you fake dying from?
I had my doubts, but like some others here I’m basically a trusting soul. Sorry you had to sacrifice your honor this way.
Glad your not dead. Perhaps you can use this experience to learn something about the concept of “personal integrity.”
You’re not an artist, you’re just a world-class narcissist. I wonder how you could have possibly thought that your concept of “art” was more valuable than the mental well-being of those you tricked.
I’m with bug-girl on the idea that you could really benefit from some intense psychological counseling. You have some truly valuable qualities as a human being, but they are meaningless unless you learn that you’re not the center of the universe.
I knew it! I felt guilty for thinking it, but I thought “he is totally the guy that would fake this” then I dismissed it and set it aside. I know that sounds asinine to say after the fact, and I did quickly convince myself that “no, no one would go that far” because I’m inclined to give people the benefit of the doubt. So in the end I duped myself, because like people have mentioned, you just don’t call people out for that shit in case it’s true. When people are dying you say nice things about them (not lies, but maybe things you wouldn’t take the time to say otherwise). And when people as part of a community die, the community feels a sense of loss (i.e., Big P).
Like others though, I would also like to know what the point was that you were making. I can’t even make a guess.
Anyway, I’m not mad. I’m rather ambivalent, because I don’t know you. I mean it’s sad when someone dies and made good food for thought for me regarding internet associations versus real life ones. I’m more glad you’re not dead because people dying sucks, no matter how much of a dick they were to their friends.