Frauds(freuds)6: Tommaso Benedetti

 

charlatan-1600

An interesting addition to our gallery of Frauds (freuds) is Tommaso Benedetti, an Italian teacher who spends his time making up interviews with celebrities, creating false Facebook profiles, and sending fake news around the twittersphere – most recently announcing the death of Cormac McCarthy. He’s also pretended to be Sonia Gandhi, Gore Vidal, Hamid Karzai, Bashar al-Assad, Henning Mankell, Italian prime minister Mario Monti, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu and Russian interior minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev, and broken fraudulent news stories about Mario Vargos Llosa, who wrote of him in his 2015 essay collection, Notes on the Death of Culture,

“He really is a hero of our times,” Vargas Llosa wrote – in a tone that suggests it’s not a compliment. “He excuses his behaviour with the nice paradox: ‘I lied, but only to tell a truth.’ What truth?

“That we live in fraudulent times, in which any offence, if it is amusing and entertains enough people, is forgiven.”

http://www.theage.com.au/technology/web-culture/meet-the-internets-greatest-liar-tommaso-debenedetti-whose-hoaxes-have-fooled-millions-20160629-gpuzzs#ixzz4D1uCxMb5

Benedetti claims his acts are intended to expose the weaknesses of the media and the way it pounces on unverified information and uses it without any concern for its truth. He says some outlets publish his stories even though they know they’re false, because they attract attention.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2012/mar/30/twitter-hoaxer-tommaso-de-benedetti

But for someone who claims this is his only motivation, he seems to spend a huge amount of time on it, and he’s been doing it for twenty years. Maybe when he says he has invented “a new genre” we’re getting closer to his real motivation: like those celebrities who are famous because they’re famous, he’s made himself a social media celebrity by (he says) despising social media. (And yes,  we’ve just given him an immense boost with a post on this highly influential blog!)

When ideas and opinions have been let loose to run wild in the paddocks of social media, truth’s an old-fashioned idea with a very short lifespan. Who needs it?

Image:  http://www.oldbookillustrations.com/illustrations/charlatan/

 

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7 thoughts on “Frauds(freuds)6: Tommaso Benedetti

    1. Because it’s interesting to wonder about the psyches of people who are professional frauds. Speaking of which, we have a post forthcoming about Jeffrey Masson, the enemy of psychotherapy.

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    1. The “Street Scene” feature where this hipster appeared has given us many a snort over the years. It’s usually someone dressed in a mixture of op-shop and way-out-designer items that they have just picked up in their latest trip to Zanzibar. Think army boots, Galliano jeans and plastic sunglasses from Disneyland. The boys in particular often look flat-out ridiculous to our less-than-hipster eyes so this boy fitted right in. I loved the Matt Thompson hoaxes. It’s so much more satisfying when you’re arousing the ire of the shock-jocks and the moralisers.
      Good old Melbourne lanes.

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