The art of lying is not a new one. Lies can be harmless or lies can have a wider impact and be hurtful. They can be used to achieve certain goals. They can also be deliberate and methodical. Joseph Goebbels, for example, had a propaganda technique for which he became famous, known as "argumentum ad nauseam". Basically what this means is to repeat a lie so often that it is eventually believed to be true. It’s used in politics (see Rove, Karl) and this same technique can be seen in the world of the anti-fan--those obsessed with hating a celebrity such as Clay Aiken.
It is absolutely amazing to look at all the untruths this group pushes -- on themselves as well as on others. It is a deliberate, obstinate, skewed version of reality. Even if there is an article, an interview, a statistic that proves them to be wrong, they put on blinders, refuse to acknowledge it, and proceed as if there were no evidence to counter that which they wish to believe. One of the ways they achieve this is through word games - selective quoting, editing, and spinning.
And then there is the psychological aspect of delusion. These anti-fans not only take statements and twist them to their own ends on a regular basis, but they sometimes actually convince themselves of their own veracity. Most significantly, some also try to push these self-reinforced myths into the public arenas available to them: comment pages on news articles; message boards; email campaigns; “tips” to gossip columnists, reporters, bloggers, etc. In addition, strange as it seems, some of these “haters” almost seem to feel they have a sense of “mission” to enlighten the world about the evils of Clay Aiken (don’t laugh) and his fans as illustrated in one recent quote (Note: “mats” is a pejorative nickname derived from “Claymate,” a term which incidentally is only embraced by some in the fandom.):
Being able to have a blog or a board that exposes him and the multitude of dirty things a group of his fans do is very important to me. It is important because I know there are mats out there that read here and other places looking for the TRUTH. It might not help them for awhile, but it will help them eventually.
And besides that, I would love to the see the lying bitch of a FAKE and his dirty conivving mats go down hard.
karma | 01.16.07 - 6:59 pm |
So, it’s personal. And it’s also puzzling. Tough love, delusion, or hatred rationalized?
It’s the assertion that what they say is the TRUTH, and the means by which they convince themselves and others, that will be the subject of this blog and Part II.
Unfortunately much of what they consider to be “the truth” consists of distorting reality and giving it a spin. I’m not trying to say that Aiken is a saint, or has never been abrupt with anyone, or has never made a mistake, but then he is a human being after all--a young guy thrust into the limelight while learning how to live his life--and unlike most of the obsessive haters, the fans are willing to cut him some slack in that respect. But the haters spend inordinate amounts of time and energy finding and exaggerating every human flaw, and if they fail to find something worth amplifying, well then they make something up, supported with half-truths, innuendo, and outright lies.
Here is one relatively harmless example. Recently, there was a post made on a blog entitled “Clay Aiken? Good Call by Our President.” It discussed why Aiken was a good choice for the President's Committee on People with Intellectual Disabilities and went on to point out how many people on that committee were relative unknowns, yet strong and important members. One of the “unknown” members responded to the blog with this quote:
I am one of the named unknowns' you mentioned (Steve Rhatigan) and when we as a group heard that Clay would become our new "celeb" member, our hope was that he had the bones to be there. He was replacing Coach Gene Stallings (TX A&M, Alabama) who's contributions like the Rise Schools and his own advocacy for his son with Down Syndrome were a known quantity. We also came to the conclusion that he was a great addition and filled a void (educator). I have been an advocate now going on 27 years and only knew of 8 members before our first confab. They are all strong and I'm confident our time will be productive. Clay will be one reason for that success.
Here is what they chose to emphasize and distort:
quote from blog:
Good observation. I am one of the named unknowns' you mentioned (Steve Rhatigan) and when we as a group heard that Clay would become our new "celeb" member, our hope was that he had the bones to be there.
I saw this too and found it really interesting that other committee members are now publicly referencing his non-attendance.
igor | 01.10.07 - 12:51 pm
So they completely eliminated the positive reference to Aiken in the quote, and twisted it to be a reference to “non-attendance” (which was mentioned nowhere in either the blog or the response). They then proceeded to react as follows:
"now publicly referencing his non-attendance."
So he has never attended a meeting? What an asshole! I can't believe the mats throw this appointment out as if the lazy ass actually does something!
jsaab | 01.10.07 - 12:58 pm | #
If I was a committee member that would tend to piss me off too.
It is one more example of Clay's self absorbed conduct and his using charity only when it benefits him.
igor | 01.10.07 - 1:16 pm | #
Amazing that they could glean that information out of the blog when … well, that’s actually not what was said. What was said was that Mr. Rhatigan wasn’t familiar with Clay or his qualifications before, but it is not uncommon to be unfamiliar with members prior to meeting them, and now he has confidence that Aiken will be a positive addition to the Committee.
This is a fairly typical kind of spin for them … take a positive and twist it into a negative. Some of the posts which followed stated that they will be contacting the committee to let them know just what a horrible person Aiken is (another typical response … distort the truth, apply the mantra that Clay is a despicable person in some way, and then send emails and letters to let people know their version of reality).
The deliberate twisting of the truth, such as illustrated above, indicates that they have an agenda, are wearing blinders that refuse to allow them to see anything positive about Aiken, or are seriously deluded, and possibly have some deep psychological issues. The incessant need to mock anything and everything Clay and then take it public borders on pathological.
It seems like those who are former fans really need to move on. The word “intense” applies to THEM. Those who are fans of someone else, why not just support that person? Those who were never fans must just enjoy the bullying. ( Actually all participate in the bullying and deliberate cruelty to an extent, but that will be the subject of another blog.)
Of course it is not expected that everyone like Aiken . We all have different tastes after all, but what singles out the obsessive hater is the lengths to which she or he will go to destroy Aiken’s reputation, career, and even his life and the lies they will tell to achieve it. A board that chooses to focus their attention on ranting and obsessing and hating an individual most of them have never met, and none of them really know, is sick, to be sure, but it’s a free country. However taking their distortions public in an effort to destroy a life is simply horrific. The fact that some feel it their mission in life to warn the world about that dastardly horrible Aiken would almost be comical if it didn’t have some real repercussions on his life.
The kind of distortion of the truth that I illustrated above is a daily, even hourly, occurrence on the places they post. The Clay Aiken they have defined from their selective use of reality is a twisted caricature of who Aiken really is. Their Aiken is a lying, cheating, hypocritical, dishonest, weak, bullying, ugly, talent less, in the closet, internet-trolling, vicious, ungrateful, guilt ridden, pill popping, diva freak. It is utterly over the top and laughable. It also goes against what most people who really know him and work with him think (well except for that kid that didn't like him when he was 15, which must prove it’s all true).
The concern is that they have taken this Clay Aiken that they’ve created and have been repeating the lies about him to anyone who’ll listen. They refuse to look at a different reality. They, in turn, are gullible and believe the lies that any charlatan or famewhore passes off to them, as long as those lies are in keeping with their own preconceived ideas. It is truly the epitome of ignorance, delusion, and obsession.
The next three blogs (not sure in which order):
Semantics and Other Word Games, Part II
Misogyny and Ageism: Alive and Well in America
Cruelty in an Internet World
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