The Plain Layne story

I first heard about the Plain Layne story from Kottke, who has done an exemplary job summing up what’s happened. There are, of course, links to the various twists and turns, such as a discovery and a confession.

Plain Layne, as a hoax, is in no way wrong to me. But then again, I’ve never read her weblog—I might feel different if I had, and felt betrayed. While presenting yourself as someone you’re not isn’t nice (and I mean when interacting with other people, not when writing a journal or a weblog), it still seems funny—all this outrage over assumed identities—considering how often it was said in the early days of the Net that one of the great things about it was that it would afford people new ways to explore their identities.

Remember, on the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.

My only gripe is that Plain Layne’s weblog has been taken off the Net. Why? So the cat’s out of the bag, and the journal’s been discontinued—this isn’t a reason to remove it from the Web. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be much of it archived, either.

I support the right to write fictive journals without disclaiming them as such. But if such a creative endeavour is undertaken, isn’t it artistically reprehensible to take it down once you’ve been outed?


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