Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


Web Hoax Gone Too Far

When my sister-in-law first blogged abou 90-Day Jane, a woman with a blog about the 90 days before she committed suicide, I was never tempted to write about it and share that site. I didn't visit it myself. However, the site has since been shut down and the woman behind it revealed to have created the blog as a kind of experiment. She says,
90DayJane[The blog] was meant to pay tribute to Christine Chubbuck, a newscaster who shot herself in the head live on-air in 1974. She was very vocal about her depression to those around her and gave every indication of her exact intentions leading up to the event. Her story both inspired and terrified me because I can truly empathize with her rage and even her isolation. I wondered how Christine's life and subsequent suicide would play out in our time. Would the internet be yet another place of isolation to her or an escape?
So how did people on the Internet react? Well "Jane" says,
People have been more real and heartfelt than I thought was possible. I owe them a debt of gratitude for showing me the difference between people's reactions and their true feelings. I understand. I do want everyone to know that I accepted no money for 90DayJane despite multiple offers from television, film, books, etc... I will not release my identity and I ask not to be contacted for any type of promotion. I want only for the people who wrote to me to know that I hear them and feel the same way. Your emails touched me so much.
So in the experiment, the blog creator who called herself 90-Day Jane was looking for a reaction and she got a positive one, in addition to the people who were less than supportive. I wish she hadn't tried the stunt and yet I feel oddly relieved that she found people to be supportive. I also know that the stunt created an unfortunate false moral dilemna and made real cries for help on the Internet harder to hear with such a public known hoax.

But the reaction, both positive and negative is not really surprising. She created a hoax that placed every reader in the anxious place of deciding what to do, how to react. And yet through that she found positive people trying to offer her real comfort. The Internet is a tool and so is as value neutral as other tools. Like a hammer which can be used to create or to kill, the Internet can be used for good or evil. The challenge is create something good out of this powerful tool, rather than using it to toy unfairly with people's emotions.

The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor



  • At 2/21/2008 8:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I agree. This "experiment" was simply not a nice thing to do. I also find it pointless as the outcome was rather predictable. What did she expect from tugging at people's heartstrings anyway?

    I think the person behind 90-Day Jane was using this "experiment" as a form of self entertainment. If she's that bored and needs to see how much people really care then she needs to go to church and do some work for the Lord.


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