Saturday, January 19, 2013

My Manti Te'o Theory

For some reason I'm really fascinated by this Manti Te'o story. I'm sure you've heard of it. Actually, I hadn't heard about it until I read this LINK posted on Twitter. And then I saw a reference to the movie Catfish, which led to the MTV show Catfish, and the general term "to catfish" someone. So I'm all wrapped up in the oddness of relationships built on the internet and this is the God's honest truth: I write this from my couch as I watch "You've Got Mail" on TV.

(Holy link overload!)(And let's not even go into how Michael and I met.)

(I'm not going to go into the Manti Te'o story, but I will say that "to catfish" someone is to dupe someone online into thinking you're in a relationship when it's really a hoax. The film Catfish was about a young man who decided to go surprise the person he'd been cultivating a relationship with online and it turned out it was an older married woman just trying to shake things up in her life.)

I guess there are two major possibilities with Manti Te'o.

1. He's the victim of a terrible hoax. Some girl or guy out there created a made-up person and contacted Te'o over the course of 3 years so much that he thought he was in love. He was truly devastated when she 'died' and is the innocent victim of the cruelty of another person/persons.

2. He was in on it. He and a friend (there has been some investigation that showed that the person behind the girlfriend's fake twitter account was a guy he knew and hung out with) created this story to generate some interest and media attention. It did certainly add some spice to Heisman conversations. When the level of attention and media-interest got a little too much, they decided to kill off this 'love interest' to try to quiet it down before being discovered.

If it was the first, I feel truly sorry for him. But if he was really the victim, why would he lie the whole time and say that he had met this woman in person several times? Why would his family say that? Because he (they?) were so embarrassed that he was in love with someone he'd only ever met online? I read somewhere that he's claiming that, well, he tried to meet her in person, but she always flaked. For three years?? He was that gullible?

If it was the second one, it's pretty despicable. I mean, I know he's just a young man who is allowed to make mistakes, but that is pretty low.

But can I tell you what I think the real situation is? And this isn't a totally original idea, as I did first hear it suggested in the comments section of an article. And it's totally unfounded in research, just something I feel.

3. The whole thing was a cover for his being gay. Being absorbed in the machismo culture of college football at Notre Dame, he wouldn't/couldn't come out as being homosexual. He and this friend - the one who is tied to the fake girlfriend's twitter account, the one who Te'o was proved to have hung out with in the past three years - were involved romantically. By being "in a relationship," he was saved from the pressure to date girls around school. One of the biggest signs to me is that right around the time that his 'girlfriend' got in a car accident and was hospitalized, so was this male friend of his who ran the twitter account. He was truthfully reporting to friends or the media that the person he was in a relationship with was in an accident. The idea that they killed off the girlfriend when attention grew too much applies here too.

Not that it means anything one way or the other. If this theory were true, I'd only feel sad that he felt he had to lie about himself to his team and the world. It certainly would be saying something about football culture. It'd be a terrible way to come out, too, with the eye of the national media focused so much on you.

Anyway, that's my theory, which means the truth will come out tomorrow and I will have been proven way off. Now off to finish "You've Got Mail." Tom Hanks just asked Meg Ryan if they should meet, so he's already being 100% less sketchy than the whole Te'o ordeal.

1 comment:

  1. So, ever since this Catfish deal has splashed all over the media, I have explained several times that not all internet contacts are phony, and that I have a close family member who actually met their future spouse that spite of others' insistence that the person on the other end of the email absolutely had to be some sketchy stalker or something like that??!! Many of the people I tell this to are very happy that the couple is hopefully living happily ever after?! Just sayin'