Thursday, August 31, 2006

MSM? Meet LG15.

The LA Times. Good article. Relying on random people on the internet to advance the plot is just about right for this whole thing. Curious Botanist, meet Curious Reporter.

Business Week. The Strange Case of LonelyGirl15. Always an entertainment heavy publication, my dear Watson. The dogs didn't bark!

And from the blogosphere:

Du Jour notes some of the absurdity of all this:

They have petty fights and silly arguments, but, of course, everything always turns out alright. How do I know this? Because LONELYGIRL POSTS EVERYTHING THAT IS HAPPENING IN THEIR FRIENDSHIP ONLINE!

Oh, but Du Jour, so many people WANT TO BELIEVE!!!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

LonelyGirl15: It's Not So Lonely In The Bay Area

Jessica at the forum has posted an astute analysis and commentary on the LG15 phenomenon.

She also has information which points to LG15 being located in the San Mateo/Mountain View, California area. I think the information on which it is based is legitimate enough to make this conclusion, even it later turns out to be wrong. Time for the local press to look into this. San Mateo is also the HQ for Youtube, but I cannot conclude youtube is behind this at this point.

There is a new LG15 video up today, called Swimming!!! It's the second LG15 installment to include outdoor scenes -- I think the california premise I mentioned in my last post is getting much stronger with this new infomation.

The video itself is well done. A lot of romantic/sexual tension, juxtaposed with bree in a safe one piece swimsuit. You don't need bare skin to tell the story, its refreshing. And a new story arc is being introduced, involving "Cassie." Time for Bree to get jealous?

Jessica's post:

All Roads [Don't] Lead to Rome
Posted by: jessica (IP Logged)
Date: August 30, 2006 07:52AM

Up until 10 or so days ago, YouTube was a place I had visited on few occasions. My motivation for visiting the site 10 or so days ago was simple enough--I wanted to see whether I could catch a missed episode of "America's Got Talent," where a local Philadelphia phenom, 11-year old vocalist, Bianca Ryan, wooed America and took home the show's $1 million prize. I was also motivated to catch a heartwarming video of an autistic, high school basketball manager/waterboy who was said to have scored 20 points in less than 4 minutes when the team's coach allowed him to suit up for a game after four years of committed service to the team.

After finding and enjoying both videos, I noticed that YouTube had categorized material as "Most Viewed", "Top Rated", "Most Discussed" etc. and figured I may be able to find further entertainment by scanning through the "Most Viewed" videos. Upon doing so, one thing stood out--most of the videos fell into the predictable sub-categories of "Poking Fun at our President", "Exploding Car", and "Guy Gets Knocked out by Spinning Sidekick to the Head." However, there was one exception.

One video seemed to be of a pretty, college-aged girl, who was speaking about some topic that apparently moved quite a few people. At that point, I clicked and entered the world of "Lonelygirl15" a/k/a "Bree"–a self-proclaimed 16 year-old homeschooler with strict parents. I was immediately skeptical because from my view she appeared more likely than not to be a 21-year old senior majoring in Theatre and Performance at U.S.C.

The exact video that I first watched is long lost on me. She now has twenty-four, the majority of which are purportedly filmed in her bedroom, door closed, with and without her friend, Daniel--and in spite of her strict parents. We also see them on two outdoor day trips. I was intrigued enough by her skillful use of intelligence, humor and wit to go back and catch her videos from the beginning. By the time I had finished watching her offerings, I was left asking was this real, a put on, or something in between. As I began reading other people's comments, I quickly realized I was hardly alone.

It became abundantly clear to me, of course, that this girl, "Bree", and her friend, "Daniel", had become "pop-cult(ure) figures" among YouTubers. My mental label of "cult figures", however, took on more meaning when I read comments to her video, "What Did Daniel and Dad Talk About?" In that video, as we all know, is a segment that pans in on a candleabra and picture of Aleister Crowley, the one-time leader of a group called Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO) whose tenets are most prominently laid out in "The Book of the Law." Over the years, people have variously labeled Crowley as a hedonist, a sex fiend, a drug addict, Satanist, magician, sorceror, genius and any other number of things depending on perspectives. Crowley, however, actually gained much of his recognition from pop-culture enthusiasts when his home and many of his belongings were later purchased by guitarist, Jimmy Page, of the legendary rock group, Led Zeppelin. In the video, "What Did Daniel and Dad Talk About?",Bree vigorously objects when Daniel tries to light the candleabra which forms part of an in-your-face shrine to Crowley.

The image of a shrine to Crowley didn't square with my earlier impressions of Bree that she was a Christian Fundamentalist who seemed to rail against and poke fun at Secular Humanism in her "Proving Science Wrong" videos. She mentioned in one of her early videos that she had lived in a New Zealand commune and, prior to the Crowley sighting, I had calculated that her family members were Christian missionaries. It was at this point that a smirk came across my face and I quickly concluded that all of the viewers, me included, were being put on.

The more salient question to me, however, was: "Who is putting us on?" I began reading various blogs, watched parody videos by other talented and not so talented YouTubers, and even noticed that the "New York Times" and "Business Week" had caught the bug and pontificated. I then joined this fan site and began actively consuming the various theories being offered by the members, and I proffered my own theories and debunks where I felt I had knowledge.

The record is now voluminous. There are macro theories, micro theories, and variations of variations, that form a Decision Tree that branches out in more directions that one can readily count. To me, through it all, there are only two theories that hold interest: (1) Is this solely the creative genius of a couple of precocious teens or twenty-somethings with a script, video camera, and behind-the-scenes editor, no matter their motive or end game; or (2) A more insidious form of viral marketing/advertising. “Viral marketing” is typically defined as “marketing techniques that seek to exploit pre-existing social networks to produce exponential increases in brand awareness, through viral processes similar to the spread of an epidemic. It can often be word-of-mouth delivered and enhanced online; it can harness the network effect of the Internet and can be very useful in researching a large number of people rapidly.” []

Selfishly, perhaps, I barely care if Bree and Daniel fit into the “real” category. I’m marginally interested in knowing who they are so that I can proclaim Bree, in particular, to be a super-talent and bless her Hollywood career. I am interested, however, in debunking any attempt by some self-important marketing guru to include you, and me, in some twisted and protracted viral marketing campaign.

Now, clearly it does not require any great insight to conclude that this saga isn’t going to end in Proctor & Gamble introducing some new consumer staples product. No old guard company is going to associate themselves with anything connected with images of Aleister Crowley. The risk- reward equation–well, enough said in that regard. However, once you move toward the entertainment industry, the risk-reward skew is much different.

With this as background, there were many very smart and talented people who helped me to draw various conclusions in sidebar discussions beyond this forum. Of course, they know who they are and their identities will be revealed, if at all, by their own pronouncements during later posts to this thread and others. What's important to me, above all, is that I can now call them friends.

So, I proffer the following. I have reason to believe that the indoor structure in which the videos are being shot is located in the IMMEDIATE San Mateo/Mountain View, California area. Similarly, I have reason to believe that the outdoor footage is being filmed in Northern California as well. The corporate headquarters of YouTube, in the company’s words, “is located in sunny San Mateo, California.”

Original drama? You judge for yourself. In my judgment, it's fairly clear that "All Roads [Don't] Lead to Rome", but YouTube?--I guess so.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Now We're Getting Somewhere LG15! (Except We're Not)

Well, LG15 and danielbeast retain their cover as of this writing. The forum has gone from a lonely town a week ago to a very Crowded House -- posts like crazy.

Except, no ones is closer to finding her yet. But go to the forum i just linked and you'll see lots of thinkers.

In the last 48 hours, the board birthed a crazy theory that Dennis Flemming was behind all this, which Virginia Heffernan at the NY Times Screen blog posted about, eventually causing Dennis to come out and categorically deny any involvement. Even silly rumors must be debunked on the internet.

But we do know you can buy your own P. Monkey at Target here!, or perhaps you'd like a nice 2006 kittens calendar, just like Brees! - the august picture is clearly visible in the What Did Dad And Daniel Talk About video. (Credit due to Step5150 for that excellent find){2E739C06-1B19-414D-BBC6-EF58A8B18BD6}/MGID.-1/IID.22430/TTID.10/qx/display_other_product_views.htm

[can't get link to work right, just cut on paste the url into your browser]

[UPDATE 1:51AM ET 8/29/06]:
Rick just posted a very interesting comment on this blog:


A botanist looked at the "hiking" video. She said she can't say for certain-- just is not clear enough picture, but says, if you put all these pieces together it seems to have been shot in the Sierra mountains of California- mid to southern California- nothing in stone mind you. The pink flower is believed to be a California Wild Rose, there is a Big Leaf Maple, and a Kennedy-Mariposa Lilly. She says, for the lack of clarity, the flowers could just as well be petunias bought from a store, but she's not inclined to settle on that because the brush, the trees, the igneous rock, one shot of sedimentary rock, the "inland oak" ecosystem and the types of grasses indicate mid to southern Sierra Mountains- west side of the range. Says that the best picture for her to absolutely check on was a branch with thistles from .17 to .19 seconds. She says she will definitively identify that to a gnats ass. Revelation coming soon I guess as to relative locale...
Rick Graves | 08.29.06 - 1:32 am |

Friday, August 25, 2006

Why Can't You Understand That Daniel's A LonelyGirl15 Man

The lonelygir15 drama continues, with a new video posted by danielbeast. He's going to the play!!! Isn't that sweet! No, this isn't scripted! No, could't be. Its just: To Hell With's Bree's Dad (yeah!!!!!!!)

Meanwhile, on the rest of the 'net:

Jack Tripper ruminates on the NY times coverage, excerpts a Chicago Tribune article on LG 15, and joins in those with who have debunked the music-promotion hypothesis for her existence.

Fred Bloggs makes an interesting comparison of LG15 to William H. Gibson's Pattern Recognition novel.

And On the youtube, gohepcat issues a $53 dollar challenge if you can prove she's fake. Where's that 1995 H.S. yearbook photo, anyone?

And no one has yet commented on my 80s rock band themed post titles (sigh).

FURTHER UPDATE 12:27PM EST 8/25/06: As Tim of the Jack Tripper blog points out in the comments to this thread, Virginia Heffernan at the NY Time Screen Blog unearths evidence that Bree is NOT Christian!

UPDATE 9:30AM EST 8/25/06: Hyemew posts the following good insights on Daniel's most recent video at the forum:

*moooooooaaan* That latest Danielbeast video just oozed teenage heroics- doing it for love! If that wasn't the fakest piece of regular old teenage love rubbish I don't know what is!

1. I found it hilarious that they had "Daniel" put on a half-done tie to make it look like he was IN THE PROCESS OF TYING IT when he was struck with the sudden need to put up a blog for us all- something which in his last appearance he mentioned hating ("why is that camera on?!"). But seriously, tying a tie should only take a short amount of time, there was no real reason to put it on and then suddenly decide to film this blog- except to give the apperance you were in the middle of getting ready for something.

2. Bree said, when pressed on "why is your camp just started in mid-August?!" that it had actually started in June or whenever and that the play was on the last night. At first I was like, last day of camp on a Thursday?! All the camps I've ever gone to or heard of always seem to end on a weekend, a time when parents are able to come and get then. Then again, its not impossible for it to end on a Friday, especially if its a M-F day camp, explaining why Bree can still be online and post videos (but not so much why she can do it during the day, I don't buy explanation like she probably has to come home during the middle of the day to study, etc. A camp is a camp, no parent should be crazy enough to actually make their kid come home daily to study, esp. if she does come home every night anyway.) Then again, the fact it "ends" on a Thursday is still a bit suspicious, because presumably all the parents would come to this and then take their kids home afterwards, so that indeed would mean it ends on a Thursday. A real camp would tend not to do that, well unless it only catered to the local community, because they'd have to work and stuff and some would not be able to travel on a Thursday to get them. Anything's possible, but I just think the timing's weird. At least the time they put the video jives with a Pacific DT reality and shows they are on to us, if they had put it up at 3am Eastern like most of Bree's videos we'd know it was fake right there.

3. Just an observation- how many of you think that this "Bree has no idea I'm going, actually you guys know before Bree does" is going to totally blow up in Daniel's face? For some reason I just have that feeling, though based on her last video I guess Bree will be happy to see him. Most likely though her dad already found someone else to tape the play since Daniel's been out of the picture, but maybe this means we'll actually get to see some of it, which would really give us a lot to think about if it shows real kids on stage at a camp. Oh and who else finds the title of this latest Danielbeast video dripping with irony- "To hell with Bree's dad"? I mean, considering he very well might be from there and all...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

If Only You Were LonelyGirl15

Has LonelyGirl15 brought down YouTube? It seems to be crashed at the moment. Remember when TV stations used to go out at random times and they put a test patten up? It wasn't often (though I held long grudges if there were any disturbances to my cartoon watching), but I've haven't seen that in years. YouTube should bring it back.

Anyhow, Sterogum strains to make a music connection as an excuse to post about his fascination with Bree. Those folks, in turn, direct us to a NY Magazine article with some insights into how LG15 is the bastard child of Wikipedia and video -- because everyone can help make the movie, everyone can be a spinoff!

How many more days will LonelyGirl remain a secret?

UPDATE 9:40 AM EST 8/24/06: New posts about LG15 on Virginia Heffernan's NY Times Screens Blog:

1. We Don't Stalk - With credit to youtuber terryfic, who has posted one of the best LG 15 parodies on Youtube.

2. A Pause For Some Words From Bree With a long email from Bree. Heffernan wants to dream, she wants to believe.

2nd UPDATE 5:11pm EST 8/24/06: It's official! Virginia Heffernan at the NY Times is now obssessed with Bree. She also probably still believes in Tooth Fairy, but that's ok. This is not the first time she's been duped by a youtuber . . . this month.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Don't Wanna Know If You Are LonelyGirl15

So, there's this person called lonelygirl15 posting videos of herself at She's supposed to be 16 years old, homeschooled, and with a single friend (not boyfriend) known as Daniel who occassionally presents his dorky self. She's very intelligent, pretty, and talks about various subjects including a series of humorous posts on "proving science wrong." Here's an excellent blog entry by a bloke called Dennis Flemming about the whole deal with some novel insights. See also her "fansite" & forum at

But that's not all. There's also a theme in her video posts about her strict parents and her devotion to her religion, which causes a little tiff with Danielbeast. Big deal. Except the religion apparently is about worshipping Satan, if you pay close attention.

But that's not all! The whole thing is a big fake, but its really entertaining all the same. Makes the Blair Witch hoax look like movies before sound. A guilty pleasure. Get on before the ride is over.

UPDATE 3AM EST 8/22/06: Hmm . .. So I posted links to this blog entry and the excellent Dennis Flemming entry linked above at the forum in a new thread earlier tonight, copying Dennis' title "lonelygirl15 jumps the shark". That thread has now disappeared.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Middle East's Grade Inflation of "Victory"

Hezbollah won?
Not. With major parts of Lebanon smashed to bits? When Israeli forces were running all over Lebanon and Hezbollah was simply fighting to survive? If that's how they define victory, I'd hate to see the definition of defeat -- nothing less than 100% annihilation?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

One Photoshop War, With Freedom Fries, Please

Gravatar I have no idea why only the "righty" blogs are covering this right now, but there is a rathergate/gannongate/jason blair level scandal developing regarding Reuters' photos coming out of lebanon.

yes, people are dying in lebanon, and in isreal, and this is more important overall. but at least one photographer (adnan hajj) in lebanon has been doctoring photos to make things look worse, and stir public opinion against Isreal. And there is even some evidence of staging in the Qana massacre.

Try, which broke the story first.