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Where is Nick Starr?
August 6, 2007 1:58 PM   Subscribe

Was tech blogger Nick Starr Twitter's first suicide?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero (125 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Nick Starr is not a gangster.
posted by four panels at 2:04 PM on August 6, 2007


Valerieinto says he's still alive.
posted by Stynxno at 2:12 PM on August 6, 2007


Hey! Twitter users! A crazy new fad for you to follow!
posted by Artw at 2:14 PM on August 6, 2007 [11 favorites]


Why link to Digg?
posted by Burhanistan at 2:14 PM on August 6, 2007


Suicidal people go through such lengths for attention, but then they're never around to appreciate it. Silly.
posted by Citizen Premier at 2:15 PM on August 6, 2007


Not to be insensitive about this whole thing, but if anyone out there reading this has been homeless for a year? Buying an iPhone can wait.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:16 PM on August 6, 2007 [4 favorites]


I don't see any confirmation that he died. Someone else wrote that he's still alive. So... hmmm.

I haven't read everything about him, but I'm confused. He twitters that he's been homeless for a long time, but he blogs technology? Did he have dsl in the car he was sleeping in? And he was proud of being in the paper for being the first in line for an iphone... so he had money for an iphone but not to live indoors?
posted by miss lynnster at 2:17 PM on August 6, 2007


I don't know. Are Darth Vader's BBQ Bantha burgers really legendary?
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 2:18 PM on August 6, 2007


On preview: what kittens for breakfast said with fewer words. :)
posted by miss lynnster at 2:19 PM on August 6, 2007


The very existence of Twitter makes me want to kill myself. Does that count?
posted by ND¢ at 2:19 PM on August 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


"Alright I'm out Twitter...time to get a few more drinks and debate jumping from a bridge tonight, Sunshine Skyway Bridge here I come. 09:17 PM August 01, 2007 from web"

"Just paid the toll for the skyway bridge...should I stop at the top? What should I do with my car? I guess leave it there. 09:27 PM August 01, 2007 from web"

"alright this is it. Parked my car. I wish everyone who ever was nice to me well. See you in the next life - 4 days ago"


You know, that's some class A attention whoring right there. Color me oh-so-shocked that it wasn't for real. ((rolls eyes at the goth kid with the black website and suspiciously shallow cuts conveniently placed on a visible part of their arms.))
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 2:21 PM on August 6, 2007


My god. It's full of twits.
posted by loquacious at 2:21 PM on August 6, 2007 [28 favorites]


Goodnight, tweet prince.
posted by ColdChef at 2:23 PM on August 6, 2007 [13 favorites]


An EMP will shut down the internet, right? It'd probably have to be pretty big.
posted by ninjew at 2:24 PM on August 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


Christ, what an asshole (assuming he's still alive).
posted by dhammond at 2:27 PM on August 6, 2007


His twitter posts look like a big joke, but then again I once thought Gene Kahn's resume was filled with dry humor about his work experience consisting of "nothing but failure after failure" and it actually turned out to be dead serious and he was found dead several days later.
posted by mathowie at 2:27 PM on August 6, 2007


god has forsaken me and christ no paper????? fuck fuck fuck 08:21 PM August 6, 2007 from web
-----
why oh crap this is terrible air need air ice tucks whatever 08:20 PM August 6, 2007 from web
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burning it burns help ow ow ow 08:19 PM August 6, 2007 from web
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ominous rumbling relieved by scared 08:17 PM August 6, 2007 from web
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one thing about 4 star spicy thai, guarantees a trip to the restroom 08:15 PM August 6, 2007 from web
posted by maxwelton at 2:27 PM on August 6, 2007


For a second there I thought Twitter gained self-awareness and then promptly committed suicide.

I was disappointed.
posted by Kadin2048 at 2:28 PM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm typing a brilliant satiric comment pretty soon. It's coming right up. I'm working on it right... now. Here it comes:
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:29 PM on August 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


The Sunshine Skyway is a beautiful bridge with an interesting history.

This guy sounds like a schmo, though.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 2:30 PM on August 6, 2007


An EMP will shut down the internet, right? It'd probably have to be pretty big.

Nah, we can just build a bunch little distributed ones and coordinate the detonations over the, uh, over the...
posted by contraption at 2:30 PM on August 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


Nice but lacking the bristling irony and punchy composition of a "told u i was hardcore."
posted by fire&wings at 2:30 PM on August 6, 2007


An EMP will shut down the internet, right? It'd probably have to be pretty big.

We need to get working on this, asap.
posted by Avenger at 2:36 PM on August 6, 2007


I'm not sure dying of embarrassment counts as suicide, even if it's self-inflicted.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 2:37 PM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


An EMP will shut down the internet, right? It'd probably have to be pretty big.

Nah, you'd just need to strategically locate smaller ones near or in major hosting facilities and network exchange points.
posted by mrbill at 2:39 PM on August 6, 2007


Nah, we can just build a bunch little distributed ones and coordinate the detonations over the, uh, over the...

Actually, this wouldn't be hard to coordinate over the internet. You setup the devices, hook them up to the internet, and then use NTP to set their clocks. Then, you send them all the kill signal, and wait.
posted by delmoi at 2:40 PM on August 6, 2007


Guys with that much dark eyeliner never succeed at their attempts anyway.
posted by redteam at 2:45 PM on August 6, 2007


God. I keep trying to forget about the oxymoronic abyss of vapidity that is Twitter.
posted by sciurus at 2:51 PM on August 6, 2007


Guys with that much dark eyeliner never succeed at their attempts anyway.

You haven't seen The Bridge yet (previously - 1, 2 and 3). Watched the documentary this weekend -- and recommend it highly.
posted by ericb at 2:53 PM on August 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


Actually, this wouldn't be hard to coordinate over the internet. You setup the devices, hook them up to the internet, and then use NTP to set their clocks.

Yeah, i know, they don't really need to be perfectly synchronized anyway. I just like the idea, and the possibility of the Internet's last action as a cohesive network being the coordination of its own demise.

I think the more appropriate method would be for all the conspirators to get together someplace central and synchronize their pocketwatches, then travel on foot or by horseback to their designated backbone locations. Also, the EMPs should be triggered by black powder explosions.

NTP is how it starts.
posted by contraption at 2:59 PM on August 6, 2007


over the, uh, over the...

Twitter nests.
posted by mwhybark at 3:04 PM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Either way, he sure seems like a dickhead.
posted by kyleg at 3:07 PM on August 6, 2007


looks like one too
posted by quonsar at 3:15 PM on August 6, 2007


Metafilter could use a little more of this.
posted by Dave Faris at 3:20 PM on August 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


Come on now, the guy really might be dead and he's clearly messed up in the head either way. Calling him a dickhead seems a bit crass, even if that is how he appears. Most of the time, depression turns people into dickheads by default.
posted by miss lynnster at 3:22 PM on August 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


This is just fucking pathetic. I hope he woke up the next day, hungover for sure, and decided to grow a goddamn spine already.
posted by cmonkey at 3:25 PM on August 6, 2007


He's the type of guy who makes the growing corps of the allegedly suicidal who are actually attention whores look like the selfish idiots they are.

Two things you shouldn't lie about, ever: being sexually assaulted and wanting to kill yourself. Those are the lies that end up ruining the lives of people who really had a problem and were ignored because of liars.

That said, I hope he's not dead, as that would just be dumb. Him alive and having to deal with the fallout of "well, okay, I'm leaving to throw myself off a bridge now" [time passes] "well, I had to answer a bunch of worried IMs, so I'm leaving kind of late, but here I go..." [time passes] "someone called me on my chunk of half-the-deposit on an apartment iphone, but I'm out of here, cruel world!" et cetera would be both entertaining and highly educational.
posted by batmonkey at 3:25 PM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Before I started lurking the blue, I would compulsively refresh the Joel on Software off-topic forum. It was deactivated shortly after one of its members, Chris McKinstry, posted his suicide note there. He'd always been an odd guy, and I remember the dismissive jokes early in the thread... as I recall, he posted a few more times that day before "signing off" in the morbid sense of the term.

I bet those early commenters greatly regret their laughing encouragement today. Perhaps there's a lesson to be taken by some of the folks in this thread about trivializing suicidal tendencies, "cry for help" or otherwise.
posted by Riki tiki at 3:29 PM on August 6, 2007


If he's dead, can I have his iPhone?
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:29 PM on August 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


what a dog dick.
posted by boo_radley at 3:30 PM on August 6, 2007


I trivialize my suicidal tendencies all the time. That's what keeps me from getting twitterpated with Death. So lame suicides get little respect from this edge of the razor. If your gonna go out all web 2.0, at least do it on YouTube or Flickr.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:37 PM on August 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


"you're," damnit! Now I'm too embarrassed to live!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:39 PM on August 6, 2007


Riki Tiki, I agree with you in almost every sense, because the difference in socialisation created by our use of tech does create new scenarios to consider as "cries for help" versus "begging for attention".

For me, though, there is a saturation point - might be wrong of me, admittedly, but it exists - wherein if the allegedly suicidal person spends a lot of time courting "mourners" and dismisses any suggestion of going to get help, I tune out.

I've got a million reasons for it, but the main one is that most folks who have followed that pattern in my experience were those who just wanted the resources/attention given to the suicidal and basically wasted time that could have been spent helping the truly endangered.

Nick Starr's case could be entirely different, and maybe he's actually serious. Or maybe the taunting will make him serious where he wasn't before...I suppose that's an option. I hope he's not serious and that he will get through this challenging part of his extended adolescence and live to laugh about this one day.
posted by batmonkey at 3:42 PM on August 6, 2007


I feel like pity is a more appropriate response than anger in this situation (assuming he's still alive).
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 3:46 PM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Drew and I just got off the phone with Nick Starr. He is ok and is getting help. He thanks everyone for all their positive well wishes and asks that you will respect his privacy right now as he works through a difficult time. "
posted by effbot at 3:47 PM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Looks like he might've favorited a Twitter post about his own suicide, then unfavorited it right away when he remembered he was dead.

@Kadin2048: You don't want that phone, it's got a big scratch.
posted by contraption at 3:48 PM on August 6, 2007


oops, should've previewed. Hopefully the attention he gets out of this will be negative and embarrassing enough to make him reconsider being such an attention whore, but I doubt it.
posted by contraption at 3:49 PM on August 6, 2007


Precisely right, batmonkey.

If you don't know the guy, tune it out. If "cries for attention" really bug you so much, snarking at their suicide note is going to feed the behavior anyway, so you should just ignore it. It does nobody any good to rub salt in their wounds, real or imagined.
posted by Riki tiki at 3:51 PM on August 6, 2007


and asks that you will respect his privacy right now as he works through a difficult time

Hahahahaha! NOW he wants privacy?! Too fuckin' late for that, by your own hand, bucko. You might not have killed yourself, but you sure as Hell just assassinated any hope of privacy.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:52 PM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Drew and I just got off the phone with Nick Starr. He is ok and is getting help. He thanks everyone for all their positive well wishes and asks that you will respect his privacy right now as he works through a difficult time. "

I assume that by "help" he means that he just bought a new MacBook.
posted by cmonkey at 3:53 PM on August 6, 2007


If you read deep enough into his blogs, you'll see that the guy chooses to be homeless.
posted by desjardins at 3:59 PM on August 6, 2007


Based on how he was mentioning it in some of his other entries/comments, I figured he'd started out choosing car living by choice. I guess that's part of what made me so frothy about the whole thing, since people who choose to life on the margins of society don't get the same consideration from me as people who don't get the choice.

The language he uses for why he decided to do it, though, is very much in line with the beginning social fracturing that schizophrenics often employ as their illnesses begin to have more sway over their thought processes - it generally starts as decisions to compromise with society's expectations by downgrading participation in the trappings of civilisation.

Coincidence, or warning sign?
posted by batmonkey at 4:13 PM on August 6, 2007


Man, I cannot type today. Nor express coherent thought, apparently. Dangit.
posted by batmonkey at 4:16 PM on August 6, 2007


I am proud to be the first to point out that as a result of this breaking news, the title of "Twitter's First Suicide" is by all appearances still available.
posted by contraption at 4:18 PM on August 6, 2007


who are these deeply uninteresting people ?
what does twitter actually 'do' ? other than let you post little messages like ' spilled some latte on my iphone ' ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 4:23 PM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Fine, so he got "Twitter's First Fake Suicide"

But not all is lost. Check this out: if we kill him and then Twitter about it, we can score Twitter's first murder.
posted by redteam at 4:31 PM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh man - I was really hoping nobody would post this.

I'm with the Dawn and Drew Show on this one. (10 minute MP3). He's an odd guy, but the insensitive ravings coming from shows like Keith and the Girl are nothing short of disgusting.

If it's a "cry for help" or if there was a serious desire for Nick Starr to kill himself is neither here nor there. A member of the podcasting community needed help and maybe other members of that community should show some humanity and give that help. Instead of doing that they basically snarked, said that they couldn't care if he did kill himself, and even went as far to say that they'd pay for him to do it.

It's sickening, and I've lost a lot of faith in "internet communities" because of the response to this situation.
posted by seanyboy at 4:32 PM on August 6, 2007


what does twitter actually 'do' ? other than let you post little messages like ' spilled some latte on my iphone ' ?

That's it. But soon people you know will begin to use it as their only means of communication, and you'll have to choose between getting an account and not hearing from them anymore. At first you won't mind because they'll be secondary acquaintances and not people you'd expect to be contacted by anyway, but eventually it will start to swallow close friends and family too. The day will come when you're only resisting on principle and it's starting to seem ridiculous, so you'll go ahead and sign up. It'll turn out to be kinda useful.

Note: this hasn't happened to me yet, I'm just extrapolating from AIM and MySpace.
posted by contraption at 4:33 PM on August 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


If it's a "cry for help" or if there was a serious desire for Nick Starr to kill himself is neither here nor there.

Third option: It was a stunt from an attention whore, disrespectful to people with actual problems, deserving of no hushed respect.

I'm not saying that's what happened, mind you - just pointing out the false dichotomy you have going there.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:40 PM on August 6, 2007


I expected his last Twit to read, "Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, glub, glub, glub." x days ago from web

I would have believed that one.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 4:42 PM on August 6, 2007


!.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 4:49 PM on August 6, 2007


Hey RikiTikiTavi, I think this is the first thread you and I have both posted to! *wave*

Sorry about ripping off your name, I swear I didn't know about you when I signed up. What are the odds that we'd both use the same misspelling of the Kipling character?

posted by Riki tiki at 4:56 PM on August 6, 2007


I think it happened one other time. Confused the Hell out of me.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:58 PM on August 6, 2007


I can't believe that you're suggesting that a threatened suicide attempt can be nothing more than "attention whoring".
Take some advice from the professionals.
posted by seanyboy at 4:59 PM on August 6, 2007


Then I extend my apology to you as well, IRFH.
posted by Riki tiki at 5:03 PM on August 6, 2007


I thought it would be out of place to come in here and call this guy a cockslap. Looks like I was wrong.
posted by autodidact at 5:06 PM on August 6, 2007


I'm not suggesting that a threatened suicide attempt is nothing more than attention whoring. I'm suggesting that a fake suicide attempt may be nothing more than attention whoring, a la Kaycee Nicole's "tragedy." Unfortunately, the technology of ubiquitous attention brings complexity to interrelationships that can pervert the old tried and truisms.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:06 PM on August 6, 2007


A member of the podcasting community needed a handjob and maybe other members of that community should show some humanity and give that handjob.

Fixed that for you.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:10 PM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Remember when suicide notes used to express actual human emotion, despair, frustration, anger, rather than insipidness? (Married male, age 74, is almost poetic.)
posted by frobozz at 5:28 PM on August 6, 2007


who are these deeply uninteresting people ?

Me, for instance. I've learned to embrace it.
posted by tommasz at 5:47 PM on August 6, 2007


C'mon, seanyboy - you're no Internet n00b. Faking suicide on the Internet is almost as old as the Internet, itself. It's an Internet cliche - practically a meme. There are 2,070 hits for the term "fake suicide" on YouTube alone. Now I'm not saying that that's what happened in this case, but disregarding it as even a possibility - let alone the most likely one - seems naive.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:06 PM on August 6, 2007


Twitter:
In the future everyone will be famous for .00000056 seconds.
-Andy Warhol 5000
posted by PHINC at 6:25 PM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Does nobody remember Blair Newman?
posted by adamg at 6:52 PM on August 6, 2007


The suicide notes on the Well were interesting and some were strangely beautiful. There was a note at the top about the first net suicide, someone who posted his intentions on arpanet.

Maybe this would be better served as an AskMe, but does anyone know much about this incident? I did a quick search and nothing, other than the Well page, came up.
posted by pandaharma at 6:53 PM on August 6, 2007


the "podcasting community".

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!
posted by quonsar at 6:53 PM on August 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


My concern is that if you committed suicide via twitter, you would end up in some sort of twitter hell.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:59 PM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


I hope Nick wasn't faking, because I don't like when people lie like that... but then I hope he was faking, because otherwise he's dealing with some serious issues. The whole thing seems pretty strange, though- especially the part about the favoriting his suicide post and then unfavoriting? Very odd.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:06 PM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Fuck Twitter.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:40 PM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


While I mostly agree with what Dawn (from the Dawn and Drew show) says, this struck an awkward chord: "The people I don't care about, i don't fucking talk about you, cos you know what? You don't matter."

I appreciate this is a reaction to the Nick-haters that she's previously talked about, and she's worried about her friend, but, to me, it just seems, at first glance, to undermine her whole show. I think it's the "You don't matter" with which I have a problem. It's very divisive.

But the sentence itself is actually a nice summary of what she has been talking about: if you haven't got anything nice to say about someone, don't say anything.

We have all these opportunities now to connect with other people, but that doesn't mean that all of these conversations are going to be pleasant; people won't abide by the tenet of not saying bad things if they can post anonymously and have no fear of actually confronting the person. The more you open up online, as it appears that Nick has been doing (being comfortable in a new social sphere, happy with himself), if that social sphere isn't as locked down like it is in real life, you'll get some random scrote trying to bring you down, finding fault with you as a person. It happens IRL, but opening yourself to x million people rather than 10 or 15, increases that threat.

There will always be bullies and the bullied. And there will always be the friends you most need when you're in despair to take your hand. Just because we don't know Nick, and we may have been jaded by online anonymous fraud in the past, shouldn't mean we automatically frame this experience as a prank. It paints a nasty picture of our nature if we can't at least admit this person might be hurting. But then we're in a different corner of the world, and he's a geek, a gay turtleneck jumper-wearing geek no less, so what do we care?

Like Dawn says, we don't have to care. We just don't have to talk about something or someone we don't know. But I guess that would be too easy (for Metafilter.) We know virtually nothing about him; all that is left is to laugh at his hair and eyeliner, and discuss the possibility this is just a case of the Boy Crying Wolf. In short, unless we know him, we really have nothing important to say about him and his situation. And yet we can't help outselves.

Metafilter does become the dressing-gowned middle-aged woman, hair in curlers, gossiping over the fence to her friend sometimes, and that's disheartening.

There have been some interesting links in this thread, but I don't think they've saved it.

Nick has been found and he's accepting help. Although I don't know him, I wish him the best.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 7:53 PM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's seems like the height of rather bad-tasted presumption to try to pass judgment on someone's emotional state based on a handful of one-liners about possibly killing oneself, and I left the link originally sort of deliberately trying to cultivate a blank mind so I wouldn't be thinking mean sarcastic things about a person who really was deeply depressed and thinking of killing himself. However, I find can't help it in this case - as my inability to think of anything other to call these notes 'one-liners' apparently shows.

When I first read the Well notes that I linked to (some time ago now - someone's already made an FPP of them, dangit!) some of the sentiments expressed spoke to my personal experience with a family member and to some degree myself (although fortunately I have never known anyone who has committed suicide), such as: Oh how can I stand being left. I need to go to a Dr. but I am afraid. I'm so cold. The dichotomy between the real despair (and sometimes anger) of those notes and the self-absorbed whiny-ness of the Nick Starr ones is too great for me to really believe.

I simply can't see a person who is still invested and interested enough to post flippant, almost up-beat (for the subject matter) updates on their upcoming suicide as a person who genuinely has given up on life, or even considering it. As someone upthread mentioned, playing with suicide does do harm to those who might be really thinking about it, if it makes only one person less likely to believe them. I think this guy is a jackass who never intended to kill himself. If I'm wrong, obviously, I'll be the jackass.

(That's five 'up's in one paragraph. I'm not going back and editing, though.)

On preview: urbanwhaleshark: striking a blow for common decency directly above where I call someone I don't know a jackass. Ah well, I can't always look good.
posted by frobozz at 7:58 PM on August 6, 2007


Nick is a really sweet guy who desperately wants to be "somebody." He's a total tech geek (in the best way) and he allows his love of gadgets to define him. Deep down I think he's just a mixed up kid who isn't sure where he fits in in this world.

Those of you judging him and calling him names are dicks. He's got two awesome parents and a brother. If he were to have committed suicide it's his family that would have suffered. That would have been just hysterical right? Your snark would have been a real hit with them. Some of you need to grow the fuck up.

I spent a full day photographing Nick over a year ago for a story in the St. Petersburg Times. He was a lot of fun to hang out with.
posted by photoslob at 8:09 PM on August 6, 2007


It's sometimes hard to remember that there are real people on the other end of the wires that lead out of this keyboard. I've been guilty of that plenty of times myself. Still, I'm kind of aghast at the unmitigated hate that's been displayed in this thread.
posted by Dave Faris at 8:24 PM on August 6, 2007


If you are homeless by choice, you aren't allowed to use that as one of your reasons for being suicidal.
posted by graventy at 8:40 PM on August 6, 2007


"If you are homeless by choice, you aren't allowed to use that as one of your reasons for being suicidal."

I didn't realise there were rules for suicide. Please quote your source.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 8:53 PM on August 6, 2007


Has there ever been a MeFi suicide?
posted by spilon at 9:17 PM on August 6, 2007


Again, many of us, myself included, aren't criticizing him for threatening suicide. It's for FAKING suicide.

You say we're trivializing people with problems, and you're completely wrong. Guys like this that pretend to be on bridges and set up these attention-getting scenarios make it that much harder for people who really need help to be taken seriously and helped.

He may well be a nice guy sometimes, he may well be the friend of many, but this fabricated scenario, this "I'm on the bridge now", and very deliberately not coming back for days, knowing damn well what everyone would think... doing that to his friends, his loved ones, the people that care for him -- That's a dick move, an attention-whore move, and people have every right to be upset that he used them like that so he could sit back and watch people scramble for his own ego.

Trust me on this, I know very well that people make cries for help. But this was calculated to send people into a panic so he could watch. Of course we don't wish he killed himself. Of course we know that him being alive is the best possible outcome, and of course we wish him well and hope he gets all the help he needs. But that doesn't change that he did a lot of harm to other people just to see what would happen.

Get better, Nick. But once you get yourself straightened out, you'll have A LOT of people to apologize to.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 9:28 PM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Some of you are painting a really touching portrait of the guy and his situation, but from where I'm sitting on the sidelines it seems like you're just making fiction up, too. Yes, his family and friends would undoubtedly have been devastated had he killed himself. But that's fiction, because he didn't. Yes, an actual suicide attempt should be seen as a cry for help - but there's no evidence so far that I have seen that he ever attempted suicide, or ever intended to. Yes, it seems crass for total strangers to gossip and snark about a potentially serious situation - except he invited that participation by making a very public spectacle out of what has all the hallmarks of a stunt. Those friends whose feelings you're so worried about? He set them up. Made repeated posts that he was off to kill himself, almost taunting them, then went silent to watch the buzz. Obviously followed the furor since he favorited his own obit post. Let his friends think he was dead... Oh, but we're the jerks.

So, no - I never met the guy, and for all I know he has a briefcase full of blues. But for some of us, this leaves a bad taste not because we don't care about people suffering, but rather because we do. Some of us have more than a passing familiarity with the subject, and frankly feel like he was the one who trivialized it. If he was serious and really needs help, I hope he gets it. But nothing about this rings true to me.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:34 PM on August 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


"If you are homeless by choice, you aren't allowed to use that as one of your reasons for being suicidal."

I didn't realise there were rules for suicide. Please quote your source.


He's homeless by choice. If one day he decided that he would derive more satisfaction by having a place to live outside of his car than by purchasing expensive Apple branded technology, he could remove that excuse for maliciously fucking with his friends on the internet in the form of fake suicide threats. But no, he'd rather use his being voluntarily homeless as a reason to hold a great big pity party. That and he can't get a girlfriend ;-(

I've been homeless without being given the choice and it fucking sucks so I have no idea why someone would rather have a goddamn iPhone than a door that you can close and lock. Be voluntarily homeless all you like, it's a great way to toughen up and learn how to survive on your own, but don't sit around whining about it when you can just as easily change it by moving into your parents house or by not buying stupid shit.
posted by cmonkey at 9:36 PM on August 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


checking out when there's a Steve Jobs product introduction coming up . . . dude was hardcore.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 9:38 PM on August 6, 2007


My initial response was suspicious and negative, I know. I've more experience than I'd ever want with suicide and major mental illness starting from very early on in life and refined to a point in recent years thanks to the 'net. Not that that's an excuse, but it is the reason.

It's great news that he has people who can keep him from harm and support him. He's incredibly fortunate to have folks who want to be there for him, particularly in his having a caring family. I know those things can be hard to recognise when life isn't going the way one intended. Luckily, the best way to prevent a repeat of the situation leading to this thread is to have just that sort of support system. I hope he's able to take that as the blessing it is and use it to improve his situation.

I don't think all of the less generous reaction was based on people relegating him as some unappreciated "other", though...I think there's an appreciable contingent made up of those marked by experience with suicide whose responses are weighted by knowing the full toll of both threats and completed acts. Take that as you may, I guess...it seemed worth pointing out.
posted by batmonkey at 9:42 PM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Has there ever been a MeFi suicide?

Yup. Check metatalk from the past few days, you might wonder upon it.
posted by puke & cry at 10:45 PM on August 6, 2007


wonder = wander. I hate it when i do that.
posted by puke & cry at 10:45 PM on August 6, 2007


Suicidal people go through such lengths for attention, but then they're never around to appreciate it. Silly.

This guy might be attention whoring, but do not blanket all suicidal people as attention whores.

Some attention whores are not really suicidal, yes. Some suicidal people are attention whores, I'll give you that, too, because it's true. But not all suicidal people are attention whores. Some suicidal people lack the ability to communicate their desires to others, which just makes things worse, and some don't want anyone to know at all.
posted by Mikey-San at 1:27 AM on August 7, 2007


Metafilter does become the dressing-gowned middle-aged woman, hair in curlers, gossiping over the fence to her friend sometimes, and that's disheartening.

Oh my. Metafilter is Gladys Kravitz.
posted by miss lynnster at 3:39 AM on August 7, 2007


This fake suicide is not as memorable as Henrietta Collins and the Wifebeating Child-haters. (real media link)

I was a fake suicide man, I was a fake suicide man
I've seen the real thing and I was a fake suicide man

Good luck to Nick Starr in getting over himself. I hope he has the humanity to realise that abusing the trust of social networks undermines their very existence.
posted by asok at 3:41 AM on August 7, 2007


I find that my expansive sense of empathy for the suicide of a fellow man is somewhat diluted by the fact that the fellow man is some random guy on a web site I've never heard of.
posted by moonbiter at 3:48 AM on August 7, 2007


contraption: The day will come when you're only resisting on principle and it's starting to seem ridiculous, so you'll go ahead and sign up. It'll turn out to be kinda useful.

Note: this hasn't happened to me yet, I'm just extrapolating from AIM and MySpace.
My gut reaction is to agree with you. But then I remember that I have YIM, AIM and MSN IM accounts, and I don't use any of them anymore. I turned them all off after working for a company that used AIM and corporate-MSN heavily as an integral part of their corporate culture. I became acquainted first-hand with how destructive they were to actual productivity, and how easy they were to manipulate for the purposes of organizational politics. I imagine Twitter-like services could be put to similar use: A manager tossing out edicts from on high on a "corporate Twitter" (cTwit) that everyone was expected to attend to -- massively passive-aggressive, of course; continual monitoring of cTwit logs to assess performance; automated cTwitting; etc.

What I see over and over again is that as we develop "technologies" (really, just modalities, but that's another discussion for another time) that erode our personal space, we rebel to get some of that space back. Not all of it, mind, but some of it. There's probably a counter-counter-reaction, too, but I haven't given that a lot of thought yet.

Twitter seems to me to be somewhat in the spirit of the very first blogs: One or two quick lines, no fancy stuff. It's also similar to Dave Winer's idealized version of blogs and feeds, as embodied in his ideas about near-real-time distribution of personal outlines via Jabber and the "river of news" -- it's basically "river of news" applied to a single blog, call it "creek of news." But it's centralized under a single brand name, which means that when they figure out how to really monetize it, it will be a little easier.

I think the unified branding is what ends up being most significant about Twitter. It doesn't really do anything that people couldn't already do; it just does all those things for all those people in one place. As such, it's going to appeal to people of a certain personality type, which to a great extent will define its penetration into the marketplace.

Aside (or finally on-point, I lose track): I had near heart-failure when I first read this and thought it was about Nick Park.
posted by lodurr at 5:16 AM on August 7, 2007


To the folks defending the hateful bile in this thread as a legitimate reaction to a bogus stunt: Bullshit.

You know what's the only appropriate response to an attention whore? Ignoring them! Acting all offended about their publicity stinks of hypocrisy when you're just adding to it yourself. Go find some Paris Hilton fan forum to troll because the grownups aren't impressed by your snarkier-than-thou circle jerk.
posted by Riki tiki at 5:45 AM on August 7, 2007


I think there was some balanced reaction going on. I mean, I'm with you for the most part, but there were a number of people who were trying to explain their ambivalence. Batmonkey, I read that way, for example.

Anyway, staying silent isn't the point. The fact that someone has chosen to respond in thread pretty much means that they aren't buying the idea that some things ought not be talked about. And as long as we're talking about it, we should be honest about what we think.
posted by lodurr at 5:52 AM on August 7, 2007


I'd never heard of Twitter; I've glanced at it and looked it up on wikipedia. It's very stupid. Everybody who uses Twitter should kill themselves.
posted by davy at 8:20 AM on August 7, 2007


OTOH, Riki tiki, maybe you have more of a point than I gave you credit for.
posted by lodurr at 8:29 AM on August 7, 2007


...if you haven't got anything nice to say about someone, don't say anything come sit by me.
posted by ericb at 8:52 AM on August 7, 2007


The only appropriate resonse... Bullshit... Stinks of hypocrisy... The grownups aren't impressed... Circle-jerk.

Condescend much? If I hadn't already commented in this thread I'd be breaking out Pot & Kettle right about now. But thank you for telling the world how everyone should think, feel, and react. I guess the Internet can pack it in, now: you've spoken. There's nothing left to talk about.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:08 AM on August 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


The guy who puts out the podcast Nobody Likes Onions is friends with Nick and apparently mentions the whole suicide thing on the latest NLO podcast. Wonder what he has to say about it?

disclaimer: I'm playing catch-up, so I'm too far behind to have heard this new show.
posted by phatkitten at 9:42 AM on August 7, 2007


"I wonder what I would write as I am falling to my death"

I'm thinking...

"o look the grnd uh oh splat"
posted by drstein at 9:42 AM on August 7, 2007


IRFH, are you angling to be not-ignored?
posted by lodurr at 10:22 AM on August 7, 2007


I'm actually probably being more of a dick than I need to in this thread. This is kind of a sore subject for me, and I should probably take a deep breath and step away from the keyboard for awhile. I can't help but notice that I went from sarcastic to caustic in record time for me. My issues are my own and shouldn't be inflicted on you. So - sorry to anyone offended by the expression of my opinions here. I do not wish this bloke ill, or any of you, either. I think I'm going to have to take a break from this place for awhile.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:38 AM on August 7, 2007


There's nothing wrong with having issues with suicide. Especially if you've been given reason to. It is hard for some of us to relate to, though.
posted by lodurr at 10:56 AM on August 7, 2007


... and yes, you did seem a little on edge, lately, for what it's worth. Not your usual perky blonde self. [humor /]
posted by lodurr at 10:57 AM on August 7, 2007


IRFH, what pot/kettle argument do you have against me?

It's hypocrisy to conclude that he was just doing it as a publicity stunt, whine about the harm that does to genuinely suicidal people, and then make tasteless jokes which only serve to feed its publicity in the first place. Those three behaviors can not reasonably coexist (and I've done none of them).

Furthermore, as Chris McKinstry demonstrated only too well, it's unwise to assume it was faked for attention if you really have no evidence. "I think his Twitter updates make him sound like an asshat" is not evidence.

So yeah, I'm telling people not to be hypocrites, not to jump to conclusions, and that jokes about suicide maybe aren't the funniest thing lololz. What a fascist asshole I am.
posted by Riki tiki at 10:58 AM on August 7, 2007


...I wish I'd previewed.

No worries IRFH, it's a sensitive subject for a lot of people, myself included. My vinegar probably isn't catching many flies either, and I'm sorry I came on so aggressively.

Truce?
posted by Riki tiki at 11:01 AM on August 7, 2007


... and thank God I did preview.
*scrubs comment where I call out Riki tiki for being an asshole. Wanders away from keyboard with hands in pockets.*
posted by seanyboy at 11:06 AM on August 7, 2007


The guy who puts out the podcast Nobody Likes Onions is friends with Nick and apparently mentions the whole suicide thing on the latest NLO podcast. Wonder what he has to say about it?

Listening now, will post a summary.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:34 AM on August 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ok, well the start of the show was encouraging phone messages to Nick from fans of the show (I assume?), played over Van Halen's "Jump". Odd mix....
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:38 AM on August 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


Guys like this that pretend to be on bridges and set up these attention-getting scenarios make it that much harder for people who really need help to be taken seriously and helped.

So, you only need to be helped if you succeed in your suicide attempt? Sounds rather impractical. Or, maybe you're saying that someone *threatening* suicide is only showboating, and doesn't need help?

I am not a mental health professional, but it seems to me like it may be difficult to differentiate someone who's threatening suicide that needs help and someone who's threatening it that doesn't. Maybe other non-professionals have that problem differentiating, too. Perhaps one should not try to make this distinction unless qualified to do so.

Riki tiki: No sweat; it's an easy mistake. It's not like there's a fuzzy logic search engine for usernames here. Nor do I post overly often. Think we might have posted together before, FWIW. Yes, it is confusing.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 11:44 AM on August 7, 2007


For this interested in listening, the Nick Starr talk on Nobody Likes Onions in show 215 ("Suicide") seems to start at 46 minutes (I skipped the rest of the show, so if there's more before that..)
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:56 AM on August 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


General summary: The hosts of "Nobody Likes Onions" really hate Nick. Nick's an attention whore, Nick's a douchebag, why does he have any friends, why doesn't he really kill himself, blah blah blah.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:02 PM on August 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


Sounds like there's some bitter history behind their opinion.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:03 PM on August 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


So, you only need to be helped if you succeed in your suicide attempt?

Not really an answer to that, but tangentially: If you attempt suicide in most parts of teh US, and any kind of state or municipal health authority gets invovled, you will most likely be in a world of hurt that it will take you years to decades to extract yourself from.

And that's just assuming the attempt didn't fuck you up physically. Chronic care facilities have tons of people who crippled themselves in botched suicide attempts.

IOW, after is way too late in yet another way.
posted by lodurr at 1:14 PM on August 7, 2007


I would think the guys over a NLO are complicit in sending Nick to the brink. The day I followed Nick around included a visit to the NLO show and those two guys viciously made fun of Nick. They made gay jokes about Nick the entire time. It was pretty uncomfortable to witness.
posted by photoslob at 2:24 PM on August 7, 2007


PinkSuperHero says: "Sounds like there's some bitter history behind their opinion."

There seems to be a lot of history there. Particularly, if you believe that they "tried to help him" to, later, daring him to jump off the fucking bridge (the faggot.)

They spend a long time bitching about this bloke, wishing him dead, and they call him attention seeking.

I reckon he was so far outside their influence, and their skills so poor at making friends that mocking him is their only recourse. And then to mock Dawn and Drew for giving a shit about their friend just shows how sociopathic they are.

cmonkey, thanks for responding, and I agree mostly with what you said. I've never been in a situation where I'm homeless, whether chosen or not. But if I were thinking of suicide, if I were so lost like that, I'd probably blame every single choice I've made that lead up to that point to define/excuse my death, even ones over which I had some control. Which is why I don't think "rules of suicide" is a practical talking-point.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 3:08 PM on August 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh wow.

I just realized that I met this guy 2 years ago at a Fark party in Tampa. He sat by himself with a Powerbook and even when several friends and I tried to say hello and strike up conversation he blew us off.

He left early and later blogged this.

There was another party in the same place this weekend. Rumor was, some guy was in a room by himself with a shitload of Apple kit and never came out.

So... rabid Apple user, check. Antisocial, check. Drama queen? Apparently, unsurprisingly, check.

I hope he gets his act together... He seems like he could be a not unpleasant person if he gets over himself.
posted by vsync at 4:06 PM on August 7, 2007


Hey, thanks for the summary, TPS! Much appreciated.

The abrasive nature of NLO makes me wonder if Patrick is actually still friendly with Nick, but is being an ass about this situation to keep with the tone of the show. He tends to do stuntish things and play with the listeners for a few episodes, only to renege later. I wonder if his reaction to Nick's "suicide" is yet another stunt of sorts.

Then again, I have 150+ episodes to catch up on during my roadtrips (the only time I listen to the podcast), so I could be missing out on a whole lot of history. I'll shut up now.
posted by phatkitten at 4:29 PM on August 7, 2007


Nick Starr personal update
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:27 PM on August 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well, it sounds like he learned a lot from the experience. So that's good.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:24 PM on August 22, 2007


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