Comments on: What we can learn from the “Gay Girl in Damascus” hoax Where media and technology meet Wed, 16 Nov 2016 08:48:25 +0000 hourly 1 By: JerseyBookworm Thu, 16 Jun 2011 15:55:24 +0000 Rabbit, did you really say you don’t approve of homosexuality and if we don’t like it up yours?!? That is hilarious.

What this man and his LezGetReal cohort have done is despicable. They betrayed trusts and made a travesty of important issues. I just hope they do not profit from this duplicity in any way. Ever.

By: RabbitNexus Thu, 16 Jun 2011 02:10:04 +0000 You tried hard to shore up the psyop, but really are you serious? “The fact that a gay woman in Syria could blog for months on end without retribution may be too rosy a picture.”

There are gay blogs in Syria and there have been for years.

I do not approve of homosexuality, and if you have a problem with my opinion on that, UP YOURS, because it is my opinion and my right. I don’t advocate mistreatment of any gay person but nor do I accept normalisation of what remains an abberation. However the “Gay scene” does get by, so long as it doesn’t make too much noise in Syria as some blogs from there make apparent.

By: Innocentious Wed, 15 Jun 2011 04:04:31 +0000 Did not Benjamin Franklin do the same thing? And many other important and literary figures take on personas in order to reach an audience that would otherwise have shut their eyes and ears to a message simply because of the messenger?

You speak and say that these forms of communication are wrong, well perhaps they are, however often times in order to reach an audience they have to be willing to listen and in order to accomplish that there has to be a level of trust established.

Did people follow this ‘white middle aged sitting in Scotland pretending to be a lesbian Syrian’ because what he wrote was untrue or because they enjoyed the narrative and they found solace, understanding, and truth within the words he wrote? Bear in mind I did not follow this man ( woman? ) and therefore do not know if he lives up to the tradition of pseudo identities.

If you are only referring to the ‘kidnapping’ as being ‘wrong’ then that is interesting as well. Have there been legitimate kidnappings in Syria by security forces? Why are we not as outraged about those abductions? Because they are not Lesbian women? Again I simply ask this rhetorically for I do not think the ends justify the means in many cases and this is one where I feel personally, the man who has done this has done people a disservice, however I feel your view on it is overly critical without enough reflection.

By: Seriously_1 Tue, 14 Jun 2011 17:13:08 +0000 MacMaster has much more in common with the misguided activists who have fooled the public with tales of victimization in order to advance an agenda.

Uh, yeah, like the first Bush administration and their publicity agency that sold us reports of Iraqi soldiers stabbing babies in incubators in Kuwait. You mean those kinds of activists?

By: sagha Tue, 14 Jun 2011 12:34:46 +0000 While much of the blame for this hoax falls squarely on the head of Tom MacMaster, this post lets journalists off the hook too easily. Why did so many journalists perpetuate the myths in the blog without questioning the blogger’s existence? Are journalists really looking for the truth, or just a good story? It is easy for a journalist to research the Syrian unrest from a (supposed) Westernized Syrian blogger who writes in English, but does that present the whole story of what is happening in Syria? I found it very interesting that throughout the online panic that Amina’s “disappearance” generated, most Syrian I encountered (I live in Damascus) had never even heard of her. Tom MacMaster duped a lot of people, but he didn’t dupe the Syrians.

By: mattwardman Tue, 14 Jun 2011 12:01:23 +0000 “But this isn’t a journalistic scandal: Tom MacMaster has very little in common with the reporters who have betrayed the public trust in the past by faking stories across a variety of topics over many years. They had no ideological premise (unless you count self-aggrandizement). MacMaster has much more in common with the misguided activists who have fooled the public with tales of victimization in order to advance an agenda.”

Yes and no. Of course it’s a journalistic scandal, in so far as many swallowed a nice story with insufficient caveats and without really noticing the problems. Yes – it was very difficult – but the point still sticks.

“Is reliable” has always been a partially silly question, as the real check is always on the source of the story; did they ask “is pen and paper reliable”.

A far more interesting question to me is “when are fakes, constructed narratives and hoaxes acceptable, and in what circumstances”.

I’m reflecting on the ‘constructed narratives’ we are always being told about victims of crime, and via reality cop shows.

By: SheWho Tue, 14 Jun 2011 04:15:16 +0000 This is all much simpler than your analysis. These are heterosexual white men. Of COURSE they have the right to speak for women, and people of color, and gay people, etc. Their reality is the only valid one, after all. That massive sense of entitlement cannot be faked.

The same thing goes for why these characters caught on so well. Real women, even gay ones in Damascus, have inconvenient realities. They criticize the wrong things. They care about things that don’t further a simple narrative. They’re conflicted. Real women, in fact are more difficult than fictional ones. I think about this fake gay woman flirting with the fake gay woman from Lez Get Real and I think how far from authentic concern about anyone… gays, Syrians, women, even themselves these men were. But the stories they told were easier for being inauthentic.

life is messy.

By: jupitermoon Mon, 13 Jun 2011 22:44:29 +0000 I just cant swallow this second apology either. I think Tom Macmaster has gauged the worlds reaction to his first one and written a new one that he thinks people want to hear. If he really was doing this for the Syrian cause, why did he create dating profiles, have a 6 month relationship with Sandra Bagaria and try and make a book deal? It all smacks of personal gratification to me.