Web Hoax Gone Too Far
[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