On the Internet Nobody Knows You’re a Dog (or David Archuleta)
Nah, I’m not really David Archuleta (or his mama Lupe or papi Jeff or anybody from his “team” or an ex-Jive label executive). But, hypothetically speaking, how would you know what I claim is true?
All I’ve ever claimed to be is a fan, an admirer, a lover of The Voice. And I blog about that love from my perspective as a black woman and under my Nom de Plume Hello Gorgeous (aka HG).
I feel the need to reiterate this and to confirm with you, dear readers of Soul David, this basic tenet that binds us together: that we are all Archies on this David-loving blog.
Today, I got caught up reading a fascinating story about some white American dude, Tom MacMaster, who had been blogging as a “Gay Girl in Damascus” by the name of Amina Abdullah Arraf (heck, he even put up a photo of the woman, which turned out to be a stolen image from the Facebook of Croatian Jelena Lecic, who resides in London. Seriously!). Of course, he’s now taking some heat for pretending that his blog Avatar had been kidnapped by Syrian state police who have been cracking down on dissenters, especially those who are marginalized (like sexual minorities that he supposedly represented). Folks were so caught up in the “danger” of Amina – what with the existence of an Amina Arraf Facebook page and everything – that there was even an online human rights campaign mounted to “Free Amina.”
There is so much outrage, that another blogger wrote A Note to Fellow White Males about the unethical behavior of pretending to be someone you’re not (especially someone supposedly living under a repressive state regime who had gotten kidnapped). That so many fell for the story has a lot of folks with omelettes on their faces. Still, because of the widespread attention this blogger received, real “gay girls” in Syria could well come under government scrutiny, or who could “disappear” because the state will simply say they don’t really exist and point to this blogger as a case in point.
Of course, this is not the first time a blog hoax had been perpetrated. Back in 2009, an anti-abortion “mom” pretended to give birth to a terminally ill baby, then later fabricated its death. So many people were taken in by the story, only to be outraged to find that the “Mom” blogger had made the whole thing up.
The moral of these stories?
“On the Internet Nobody Knows You’re a Dog.”
And sometimes our virtual communities feel real and our communications create an impression of friendships and subcultural groups. I remember the first time I went to a David concert, I had planned to meet up with fellow Archies, whom I met on Noting David, at a hotel. One of my offline friends thought I had gone way off the deep end.
“What?! Who are these people? Have you ever met them? What do you know about them? How do you know they’re safe?”
Can you imagine? It hadn’t even dawned on me that the people I’d been interacting with over a David fan blog could be potentially “dangerous.” After all our gushing over Archuthighs and sharing my David Dreams, it didn’t dawn on me that anyone who wanted to meet up at a David Archuleta concert would mean me any harm. We were just materializing in the flesh for the first time and putting actual faces on Screen Names! I certainly wasn’t expecting to meet a serial killer from the Archuniverse.
And as it turned out, I didn’t! And most of the fan community’s concert experiences, in which they have interacted with fellow Archies, have all been fairly positive. Still, we really don’t know who we’re talking to and who’s hiding behind their computer.
(Which is why, Dear Readers, when I smell “trolls” in the comments section, I put them on full blast! I’m not trying to nurture some viper in our online bosom!)
Still, as these recent stories indicate, it’s always wise to be discerning. I of course accept that anyone who bothers to visit my site and post comments about our mutual David love are who they say they are (under a guise or avatar or screen name but still the “essence” of their Archie fandom is taken for granted).
Debates about “real fans” aside, I’d like to think we’re all here innocuously to celebrate in that David love.
Then again, maybe I’m just a bright-eyed, tail-wagging cocker spaniel! 🙂