Okay, so I am a huge fan of The West Wing. I am burning a hole in my DVD copies of all seven seasons. The kind of obscurities that Trekkies love to dredge up about their own holy grail, I can dish on TWW. Episode titles. Great lines. Guest stars. Writing credits. One-shot characters. Inconsistencies of established backstory. The fact that H. Richard Greene appears in Season 3 as an obscure congressman worried about his re-election prospects and then turns up again in Season 5 as the same character, now Senate Majority Leader, has my mind twisting in knots in its more idle moments wondering how such a transformation could ever occur in real life. Yes, I am a dork. Or more precisely, a Wing-nut. I’m sure I’ll delve further into why I dig it so much in future posts. The reason I mention it is that today my West Wing enthusiasm led me to do something lame. Basically, to get snookered by a Twitter impostor posing as Martin Sheen.
I’ve been following this “Not-even-an-Estevez” for a few days. His tweets seemed pretty genuine. But in my squealing-teenager-ness, I forgot the cardinal rule – look for the damn blue checkmark. So in blissful ignorance, I decided to send this person who I thought was Martin Sheen a compliment. Here’s how it looked:
Me: “Two Cathedrals” [the acclaimed second season finale of TWW] was a masterpiece of writing, directing and especially acting. Thank you for it.
Fake Martin Sheen responded within a few minutes.
Fakey-McFake-Fake: @thegrahammilne Two Cathedrals was great. I love the cameo by @Lawrence O’Donnell, who if you didn’t know also wrote for the show.
Here’s where I then go off the rails into nuttery, thinking I’m impressing “the man”:
Me: He was great! I believe he also wrote that wonderful scene for you and Alan Alda over ice cream in “In God We Trust.”
Sheesh. You can practically hear the girlish giggles. It’s not great, but it would have been not quite so egregious had whoever this person is actually been the real Martin Sheen. Turns out not only is he not, but the real Emilio Estevez (@EMILIOTHEWAY, which does have the damn blue checkmark) has been waging a Twitter war with this impostor trying to get him to stop pretending to be dear old dad. Something I would have realized had I been a little more studious in reading the Big Faker’s entire twitterstream.
But it got me thinking as to why someone would choose to do this. Why they’d put themselves out there pretending to be someone else and continue to maintain the lie even when challenged by someone with an emotional connection to the real person. Yes, I know all about internet trolling. I just don’t quite see what the appeal is, other than the “lulz.” This lulz of yours confuses and enrages me, to quote Lrrr. Maybe making other people feel like idiots is really what gets some individuals’ rocks off. I just can’t help thinking it’s a terribly transitory and lonely sense of gratification. Big laugh followed by an equally large hollowness.
Right now, I have about 40 Twitter followers on any given day. It tends to bounce up and down around that mark as new people follow me, decide I have nothing interesting to say and then disappear. Were the grand scheme of Twitterati likened to the scale of the solar system, Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber would be the sun and I’d probably be a few notches past the termination shock (look it up). But I’d rather have these 40 than the 3,300-odd that Fakerooney has conned into thinking he’s Ramon Estevez Sr. Because I know they’re here for me – what I am saying as myself and not false sentiments I’m forcing from someone else’s mouth. I’m not leeching off anybody else’s fame – my successes and failures are entirely my own from here on out, wherever this ends up leading.
And I (me, the real Graham Milne) think that’s pretty cool. Or, put another way, pathetically hipster. But I’ll stick with the former.