The Austin Chronicle

'The Voice in My Head'

By Russ Espinoza, January 22, 2013, 12:03pm, The Score

The Information Age ensures TMI about practically every man, woman, child, and grumpy cat on earth. Now fake dead girlfriends are in play – because, screw it, anything goes.

You just can make this stuff up: with all the trimmings and even a Stanford education. The university’s 30,000 annual applicants ought to consider themselves tipped-off to some juicy inside information. The luxury to don the Cardinal red must be earned through never having lived – fake leukemia a plus, but by no means mandatory.

Might this spawn a fad of designer fake dead GFs and BFs? I’ve got a gem of my own when the tide turns. Though I stop short of “dead,” her name is Scarlett Johansson, Hollywood film actress, and we take our breakfast in bed.

It seems crystal clear that Manti Te’o, the former Notre Dame star linebacker, didn’t mastermind the hoax involving the fictional Lennay Kekua, but he seemingly kept the flame alive out either embarrassment or dramatic effect in what – pending more information – may become the weirdest, most befuddling lie in sports history.

Unless Te’o’s a closeted gay Mormon enrolled in a Catholic school participating in a macho sport that traditionally doesn’t take too kindly to that sort of “otherness.”

Moving on, the former Notre Dame star linebacker– and 2012 Heisman Trophy runner-up – asserted his victimization and denied any complicity in the myth of his fake dead girlfriend to ESPN’s Jeremy Schapp on Friday night.

But the Te'o mess is only breaking the Internet for its singular peculiarity and because someone famous – and perhaps at the height of his fame – got royally played. Ostensibly, though, commission of the great ruse broke no laws; and neither school nor NCAA policy were violated along the way. It’s a nonstory in terms of hard news.

However, ESPN has evinced shades of TMZ for years with its unmistakable strains of tabloid-journalism – evident in its recent heavy-handed coverage of backup quarterback Tim Tebow and now Manti Te’o and his fake dead girlfriend.

Now the collective focus should shift from Te'o as the stupefying village idiot to the hoax’s scumbag architect, some toolshed in California named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo. With any justice, it’ll spur a national conversation about how society should dispose of such creepy, creepy losers.

For more information about fake dead girlfriends – including some helpful do's and don’ts, plus a photo gallery featuring other notables like Marion Crane, the Bride of Frankenstein, and that My Girl girl – comb through ESPTMZ’s trove of coverage and decide for yourself: fake dead girlfriend a good thing, or a bad thing?

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