I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but I am up at 3:00 am, and there’s really not much else to do, so….
My husband and I were talking about the altered receipt above and it reminded me of the Jewish student who sent herself anti-semitic death threats via e-mail (I tried to find a link, but there were too many college-students-and-racial-threats hoaxes to pinpoint the one I was thinking about) and then the young woman from several years ago who actually smeared herself with excrement and carved a racial slur into her own body with a box cutter (again – I thought this was a singular incident – an internet search turned up multiple hits with variations and different datelines.) What thought process leads someone to do something like this?
My husband pointed out that one can’t make sense out of senselessness. But people don’t do things that don’t reward them in some way, even if it doesn’t serve them in the long run. I wonder what kind of pain these people must be experiencing that makes these behaviors rewarding. I guess before the internet, something like the altered receipt above would have just been something to try to use to get sympathy from a few people – the few that still bought every bizarre story you made up. But when this went viral, it brought way more attention than she had anticipated.
Which also reminds of the guy (the most recent one, anyway) who was charged with making a false police report when his girlfriend insisted he call the police after having been kidnapped. Except that he wasn’t kidnapped – he just wanted to have a couple of beers with the boys but didn’t want to listen to her and her mother bitch at him about it. And that story seemed like such a good idea at the time….
What is the point at which the “polite fiction” that eases social interaction becomes the unreasonable lie or even the prosecutable fraud? Is it the same every time? Kant posited that there is not such thing as a “white lie” and that deception at any time is immoral, even were one to be lying to a murderer about where to find his intended victim. Does that make the people in the examples above immoral, or merely desperate within their own peculiar situations? Or mentally ill?
I dunno. Maybe it’s time for me to try to go back to sleep….