The above photo is how “The Bachelor” producer Elan Hale chose to announce to the world that his Twitter tale about “Diane” the hysterical Thanksgiving traveler and his campaign to shame her was all a “joke.” This is Diane! Har!
Elan Gale is an asshole, and because he is shameless about it, he is also a fick.
Ethics Alarms is among the least aggrieved regarding his web hoax, the rest being those who pay no attention whatsoever to Elan Gale or what he is tweeting. My job is to analyze the ethical issues embedded in any event, story or situation, real, hypothetical or imaginary. Nothing I wrote about the incident Gale fooled the web into talking about is invalidated by the fact that the story didn’t happen. Every seminar I give almost entirely consists of similar fabrications, crafted by me for the purpose of maximizing the clarity of the ethical issues I want to cover. The difference is that I don’t set out to deceive my audiences into believing that they are literally accurate. So Gale’s fakery still provided this blog with a good topic, the basis for some ethical analysis, and catalyst for an interesting discussion.
It also made me and others unwilling accessories in his unethical stunt, and that I deeply resent. There is something wrong with the wiring of people who discover new technology and decide to abuse it, getting some kind of visceral thrill from manipulating strangers. Gale’s conduct is in the same category as arsonists, those who launch computer viruses, vicious rumor mongers and vandals, doing harm because they can, and deriving sick pleasure and feelings of superiority by taking advantage of the amazing fact that people still trust anyone and believe anything. For his amusement, Gale made everyone a little more suspicious of everyone else, and thus made life that much less enjoyable. He’s proud of it, too. Yechh.
Ironically, Gale’s hoax still conveyed useful and accurate revelations: he is a mean-spirited, arrogant and self-promoting jerk, and the imaginary conduct he attributed to himself fairly demonstrated what his ultimate admission proved beyond all doubt.
The attitude of New York Magazine’s Adam Martin helps encourage the Elan Gales of the world. He writes as if those who believed Gale are the fools, which is exactly what creeps like Gale think—“The saps! I proved that I’m smarter than they are!” No, Elan, you really didn’t. The healthy, productive, good people who have the misfortune to live with ficks like you understand that society requires us to be fair and honest with each other, and their only mistake was assuming that you are a decent human being like they are. Because they are also forgiving, they will probably give you another chance to fool them. And because you are a pathetic jerk, you will take advantage of them again.
Which returns us to Truth #1…