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January 2005
The latest possible faux-blog gaining attention is, the online diary of a twenty-something New Yorker named Alexa who quit her job as an editor's assistant at a fashion magazine a few years ago and became an escort (her blog is somewhat safe for work, R-rated language, but relatively tame images). This immediately invites comparison to Belle de Jour the supposed London call girl who kept a blog. Belle managed to secure a book deal from her true-confessions blog (her book arrives in stores in just two weeks). Like Belle, Alexa doesn't offer any proof to back up her claim that she's a call girl. You just have to take her word for it. Also like Belle, Alexa is quite well educated, "Majoring in English and Philosophy in a good New England liberal arts college," and seems to have literary ambitions.

In one of her recent posts Alexa addresses the issue of people doubting whether she really is an escort, noting that "One reader went so far as to suggest that I'm actually a 300lb man in some office in Nebraska." Alexa claims to be "genuinely perplexed" about people's doubts, not seeming to realize that if she makes an extraordinary (or even somewhat unusual) claim, then the burden of proof should be on her to prove her claim. It shouldn't be on all of us to prove that she isn't real. If she's not willing to offer such proof, then we shouldn't be willing to believe her. After all, there's an obvious motive for her to lie: to get attention and possibly land a book deal. Sure, read her blog if you find it amusing. But why take the extra step of actively believing her? Unfortunately most people don't maintain this skeptical distance because the human impulse to believe is very, very strong, which is exactly why con artists stay in business.

Alexa pleads that we have to take her word for it, because there's no way for her to prove that she does what she says she does. It doesn't occur to her to invite a trusted third-party person, such as a reporter, to verify her story. But then, that option never seems to occur to the Rances and Belle de Jours of this world.
Categories: Identity/Imposters, Sex/Romance, Websites
Posted by Alex on Sun Jan 02, 2005
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