Join 3,501 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


????????, alias Kate Stewart, alias "kswizzle"
March 27, 2013 9:01 AM   Subscribe

A long long time ago, a web site called YTMND had a meme involving people whose facial expressions seemingly never change. But this meme has an unusual origin. Back in 2005, a SomethingAwful user received a series of flirtatious IMs from a person he'd never talked to before. The photos "she" sent him were used for the original meme – but there was no proof that they belonged to the IMer. Over the course of two weeks and 63 pages, forum users collaborated to figure out just what the hell was going on – and the story, as it unfolds in real time, is twistier and more unexpected than real life usually ends up being. [use the MAJOR UPDATE PAGES at the top of the thread to navigate; search for "The Pitbull" to jump to updates from the OP]
posted by Rory Marinich (45 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
(note: SomethingAwful, especially circa 2005, is drenched in a fair bit of misogynistic/homophobic/generally beshitted humor, for which I apologize.)
posted by Rory Marinich at 9:02 AM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Youuuuch auto-play music warning please!
posted by StephenF at 9:04 AM on March 27, 2013


Oh, haha whoops. I forgot some people don't know what YTMND's thing is.

All the links to YTMND will play Eric Prydz's immortal "Call On Me", don't click them if you don't want sound playing. The last link is safe.
posted by Rory Marinich at 9:06 AM on March 27, 2013


This sounds interesting but I'm just not going to browse through 78 pages of SA posts.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 9:06 AM on March 27, 2013 [13 favorites]


Foci: see the small text. There's convenient navigation at the top of the thread; major updates are generally posted by The Pitbull. (I was debating wading through and hand-picking all the posts that are significant enough to read, but then I got lazy.)
posted by Rory Marinich at 9:09 AM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


tl;dr it was some guy
posted by unSane at 9:12 AM on March 27, 2013 [26 favorites]


also, you probably had to be there
posted by unSane at 9:13 AM on March 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


I just read the first post laying it all out, and it looks like it's gonna be hilarious. Thanks for posting this so I can dig through the rest.

And meh, even if it was some dude, the writing is amusing enough for me to stick with the whole thing.
posted by Phire at 9:13 AM on March 27, 2013


I think I remember this case. The pictures came from men's magazines, right? And the "girl" was eventually "killed in a car accident"?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:14 AM on March 27, 2013


YTMND is it's own freakish ecosystem. I spent an entire "work" day looking for the most offensive "moon man" (aka Mac Tonight) page and it is like a bottomless pit of insanity. I mean, why drag Mac Tonight into it, people are nuts.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:23 AM on March 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


I hate that I remember the day at work when I was first link'd to YTMND via IRC and it was just Sean Connery saying "YOU'RE THE MAN NOW DOG" on repeat
posted by ninjew at 9:25 AM on March 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


I mean, why drag Mac Tonight into it, people are nuts.

Especially as moon man was played by the sublimely awesome Doug Jones, perhaps best known as Abe Sapien from Hellboy, but an actor of astonishing physical gifts (also, having met him once in real life, a genuine sweetheart.)
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:27 AM on March 27, 2013


Punch the keys, for god's sake!
posted by mediated self at 9:31 AM on March 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


Wasn't it Patrick Stewart?
posted by Samuel Farrow at 9:42 AM on March 27, 2013


TL:DR--Guy pretends to be woman (using pics he scraped off of YTMND) to flirt with an SA goon online; SA responds with the degree of tolerance and probity that they're generally known for.

Also, is the Sidhedevil in that thread the same as MeFi's own?
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:46 AM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


YTMND is it's own freakish ecosystem.

Ohhh, the Bill Cosby/Dr. Dre 'Pokemon' thing is maybe the best thing ever.
posted by mintcake! at 9:47 AM on March 27, 2013


You can use this link to browse The Pitbull's posts on their own.
posted by EmGeeJay at 9:51 AM on March 27, 2013


This is from 2005.

Ohhh, the Bill Cosby/Dr. Dre 'Pokemon' thing is maybe the best thing ever.

Jazz is like jello pudding ... No!

http://drecosby.ytmnd.com/
posted by mrgrimm at 9:56 AM on March 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


I've been slipping thst sucker onto mixtapes for years. It'll be around forever! HUH HUH HUH
posted by mintcake! at 10:01 AM on March 27, 2013


Halloween Jack: TL:DR--Guy pretends to be woman (using pics he scraped off of YTMND) to flirt with an SA goon online; SA responds with the degree of tolerance and probity that they're generally known for.

Er, why should it be tolerated? It's a particularly creepy sort of identity theft at best, and there is probably some nefarious purpose to it.
posted by Mitrovarr at 10:02 AM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, is the Sidhedevil in that thread the same as MeFi's own?

While we are outing, someone (40221?) named Adipocere makes a rather bold entry into the thread as well ... and gets banned.

There's a comment somewhere around page 56:

It just seems like, to me at least, the thing won't be too interesting when the story is... a random girl IMed me and it was shady... turns out it was just some guy I knew in college.

Um yeah. Delete? 50% of the (70+ page) thread seems to be dealing with the "ickiness" of a guy liking "skirt weather" and the amount of humiliation he deserves for that.

Er, why should it be tolerated? It's a particularly creepy sort of identity theft at best, and there is probably some nefarious purpose to it.

The implication (from lots of the posts) is that the transvestism itself (not the deception) is the sin here.

there is probably some nefarious purpose to it

Is fappery nefarious? This whole post revolves around a circle jerk and becomes one itself. Perhaps meta, but awful trivial.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:17 AM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


On the internet, when in doubt, assume that it's a bored young male doing it for motives that they don't really understand.

The Pitbull: Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go take a shower and wash off the gay.

Lovely. So glad I took the time to read it all.
posted by forgetful snow at 10:18 AM on March 27, 2013


mrgrimm: Is fappery nefarious? This whole post revolves around a circle jerk and becomes one itself. Perhaps meta, but awful trivial.

I don't know about this. First of all, there have been cases of robbery and murder associated with people using the internet to lure victims, and there were a lot of comments in the early thread that speculated on that. I don't think it sounds like that was the motive here, but I don't trust the guy they caught to tell the truth, either. There is some suggestion that he tried to lure some of the people he was talking to into meeting in real life, and what would have happened then? Nothing positive, surely (although it sounds like he avoided meeting others - it is a little confusing).
posted by Mitrovarr at 10:23 AM on March 27, 2013


Finkel is Einhorn?
posted by Mayor West at 10:24 AM on March 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, this strikes me as a sad story about a gay college kid who assumes a girl's identity to flirt with guys he finds attractive online. And sure the deception and all that isn't great, but maybe he wouldn't need to if he also wasn't surrounded by people who need to "shower and wash off the gay."

Interesting voyage into a culture I don't have anything to do with, but the homophobia at the core of this pretty much overshadows "fun internet mystery", for me.
posted by neuromodulator at 10:56 AM on March 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


I talked to the thread, and it says it wants to die with dignity. Rather than running it into the ground with this drivel, it is the wishes of the thread that it should be allowed to pass on while the dignity if it's youth still endures.

Please respect the wishes of this thread, and let it die.

posted by chavenet at 10:59 AM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, and the actual conclusion made me forget the whole detour into "we think it's this disgusting fat kid we used to yell at as he walked home and ridiculed on his livejournal". God damn it.
posted by neuromodulator at 11:02 AM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


neuromodulator: Yeah, this strikes me as a sad story about a gay college kid who assumes a girl's identity to flirt with guys he finds attractive online. And sure the deception and all that isn't great, but maybe he wouldn't need to if he also wasn't surrounded by people who need to "shower and wash off the gay."

What? The internet's a big place. He could have found actual gay guys to flirt with online within five minutes of looking. He only needed to pretend he was a girl so he could flirt with specific straight guys he knew. Which doesn't represent a problem with the culture, and isn't really ok either. It's not right to grossly misrepresent yourself to start a relationship with someone who would never consider it otherwise.
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:10 AM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yes, that is me over there as well.

I myself think it's icky for women to say "Skirt weather! I'm such a girl" which is part of what made the whole imposture so ridiculous---it was as if the gentleman pretending to be KSwizzle had assembled his persona as a Frankenchick from the very worst of popular media.

I was also reminded of this by the whole Manti Te'o saga.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:27 AM on March 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


Mitrovarr, i agree with you that it's not right. But I imagine (I stress this is based on nothing but my imagination) that for some people trying to figure out how to deal with being gay in a homophobic environment at a certain age is hard and confusing, and it inclines me towards sympathy. Not excusing misrepresenting yourself, etc. But I can still be sympathetic.
posted by neuromodulator at 11:31 AM on March 27, 2013


Oh, and I think "find a new social circle" is kind of an easy and mature answer that isn't always really that easy and obvious to the people in the middle of it. It should be that easy, sure.
posted by neuromodulator at 11:35 AM on March 27, 2013


It is very strange to see your own comments from 8 years ago! Also that someone bought me a prostate massager avatar.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:38 AM on March 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


neuromodulator: Mitrovarr, i agree with you that it's not right. But I imagine (I stress this is based on nothing but my imagination) that for some people trying to figure out how to deal with being gay in a homophobic environment at a certain age is hard and confusing, and it inclines me towards sympathy. Not excusing misrepresenting yourself, etc. But I can still be sympathetic.

I am not completely unsympathetic. However, he needs to stop, and probably get therapy. Aside from freaking out and damaging the reputation of the girl whose image he's appropriated, and the impact to the guys he's messing with, there's the issue that completely tricking people into relationships is kind of non-consensual. I am a little bit worried that unless he is called on this, he might progress to worse.
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:55 AM on March 27, 2013


This was all eight years ago, Mitrovarr. My hope is that the hoaxer has figured a lot of things out since then, and that the guy on whom the hoax was perpetrated has figured out his stuff, too ("shower off the gay" was indeed creepy of him to say, for instance).
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:02 PM on March 27, 2013


It would indeed be interesting to see some sort of follow-up. Probably no chance of that, sadly.
posted by Mitrovarr at 12:04 PM on March 27, 2013


But I imagine (I stress this is based on nothing but my imagination) that for some people trying to figure out how to deal with being gay in a homophobic environment at a certain age is hard and confusing

I just have to say I was rereading my post and my "I stress" part makes it sound like I'm trying to assure people I'm not gay, myself. I didn't mean it that way, I just meant "I'm aware that I'm armchair-analyzing somebody's actions, and don't mean to make too many assumptions about them".
posted by neuromodulator at 12:08 PM on March 27, 2013


Also:

http://parisfacial.ytmnd.com/

Boy, if that ain't a hanging curve...
posted by ssmug at 12:19 PM on March 27, 2013


Wow- that was a bit of an Internet wormhole. I'm kind of ashamed of myself in that thread. 8 years ago I was calling for a public shaming of someone who desperately needed some counseling instead. Looking back now I hope the guy managed to get his shit together for his own as well as the sake of the folks he was e-stalking.

That was one of those "F5 all day" threads when it happened, just due to the constant unraveling of all the details that was going on as the guy's story fell apart, the animated .gif of that woman's face with the unchanging expression, and the continual trying to force-meme 'masterstroke' into a thing. And "Skirt weather." I think I've said that every time I get goaded into wearing the utilikilt.
posted by mcrandello at 2:15 PM on March 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, upon rereading (I hadn't gone past the first page when I FPP'd) I came away feeling considerably more sympathetic for Victor than I had when I was younger and "joke's on you, trickster!" seemed like the epitome of fair. I think I'd also conflated this with the story (which might have been on the blue?) of somebody blackmailing people into letting him have sex with them, because I remembered the reveal that Victor's thing had been going on for much longer than he let on and guess I'd remembered that reveal as having more dramatic repercussions.

Nonetheless, I still like the misdirect where they spend a bunch of days thinking a completely unrelated guy is behind this, and finding circumstantial evidence that might make him the possible culprit. And I love, love love, that while the writing style is all heightened and melodramatic, what's actually going on is a bunch of college undergraduates who fancy themselves super clever are going around collecting "clues" from other undergrads, which all turns out to be misinformation because undergrads are the least reliable people in history. At one point you have two different people claiming that one girl's hair is two different college, when in fact the girl doesn't exist at all.
posted by Rory Marinich at 2:56 PM on March 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well, aside from the usual casual homophobia and sexism I'd expect from the internet in general and certainly the internet in 2005, I actually did go and read all the major updates and that was really crazy. I mean, the end result that it was just some poor-but-creepy probably-closeted-gay guy was not all that surprising, but the lengths they had to go to find him out was impressive, as was the weird mishmash of stories the guy had cobbled together for KSwizzle.

I didn't read anything after the last listed major update page, so forgive me if this was later figured out, but I wonder what was going on in the guy's head to target his best friend, and then some random guy. Like, when I try to make sense of it, I wonder if he started feeling too ashamed or pained trying to go after his own best friend, or he worried he would be exposed, so he really did just click through random Facebooks to find someone who would know enough of the same stuff and people that he could trick them into thinking they had known KSwizzle.

I feel sorry for the guy's best friend. I mean, I'm sure it's awkward enough to find out your best friend is gay and has feelings for you, but friendships have pulled through that. To be tricked and exploited like that by anyone, though, gay or otherwise, best friend or otherwise, must have been difficult to deal with.

Also felt sorry for the guy himself, even though he did some pretty messed up stuff. When they confronted him I felt a bit ill on his behalf. I can't even imagine how fast his heart must have sped up when The Pitbull IMed him, much less just after the "I wouldn't lie about my identity online" line. To already have so many issues and feel like you need to pretend to be someone else, and then have someone confront you with how messed up you are... man. I don't at all blame them for confronting him, but it's still hard not to feel a little bad for him.
posted by Nattie at 4:40 PM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Would you still feel sorry for this guy if he was stalking women instead, using researched details of their lives to trick them into online relationships? Appropriating the identity of someone they might have met in their past? Hinting at possibly wanting to meet in real life, someday?

Or would you appreciate that this person might be dangerous?
posted by Mitrovarr at 10:25 PM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Lynch mob logic, y'all.
posted by fleacircus at 11:15 PM on March 27, 2013


Would you still feel sorry for him if he was a vampire?!?!
posted by neuromodulator at 12:02 AM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


If I had a prehensile tail I wouldn't feel sorry for him. Pretty sure about that.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 12:12 AM on March 28, 2013


neuromodulator: "Would you still feel sorry for him if he was a vampire?!?!"

Come on, now. I thought MetaFilter would be more forgiving of the mortally challenged.
posted by Samizdata at 6:55 AM on March 28, 2013


« Older Dansons la cupucine...those Pattycake-playing kitt...  |  Marcel Proust’s First Poem, ‘P... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments