March 31, 2004

More on "Belle de Jour" blog potential hoax

"The Book Club Blog" has a great collection of information as to whether the supposed "diary of a london call girl", the Belle de Jour blog, is a hoax.

I remain with the skeptics. "She" recently "said" (my emphasis):

Unfortunately for the conspiracy theorists, there is no conspiracy. I am a young woman, I have sex for money, and I love to read and write. My taste in books shouldn't come as a surprise. After all, this job affords more spare time than most. Think of Occam's razor, the principle of parsimony: what would be simpler - that I am who I say I am, and write about, or that I am a famous author living a double life, unable to tell anyone and having a joke at the expense of my agent, publisher and readers? What does bother me is the presumption that a person's occupation is a reflection of their intelligence or value to society:

Let me reframe:

"... that I am a real well-read call-girl who instantly writes award-winning polished prose, or that I am a not-so-famous author who would like to be more famous, and saw an opportunity to do so by writing a fake blog and feeding on the media appetite for sex and the Internet and blogs and selling papers via titillation and scandal?"

When this question is put forth, there's almost a lawyer-trick of deflecting the suspicion by pounding the table and accusing the skeptic of bigotry: You think prostitutes can't be smart! Sexist! Classist!

No. I think writing is hard work for anyone. And that Occam's razor, the principle of parsimony, is that an established writer claiming to be a media-attention-draw is very likely indeed, much more so than such a real person getting awards and book deals. It's just ghost-writing taken one step further, where the writer starts by creating the celebrity in the first place (rather a clever idea, in retrospect).

Given the forthcoming "Belle de Jour" book, I was tempted to suggest turning its Amazon book reviews section into a hoax-information discussion forum. But that's probably playing into the book's buzz-hype. Still, it was an appealing thought.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in journo | on March 31, 2004 11:59 PM (Infothought permalink)
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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Nail hit on head! Like the sound of the amazon idea.

Posted by: Nick at April 3, 2004 04:17 AM

"a real person getting awards and book deals" - no, that kind of thing doesn't happen, does it? It's unlikely that the public's appetite for 'reality' shows could overspill, via blogging, into literature. And unthinkable that a talented writer could be overlooked until some prurient momentary press furore gives them an in to the world of publishing. No, it's much simpler to believe that 'writers' are different to you and me, and that they have time to play fame-seeking games on the net, where only exposure and ignominy inevitably await them.... You are a bit of a chump, aren't you?

Posted by: Paul at June 4, 2004 08:56 PM

Nice try Lisa Hilton

Posted by: Seb at June 30, 2004 05:21 PM