It has been brought to my attention that people are “frustrated” (I’m not even sure if that is one of the words that has been used, but it is the biggest word I am willing to give to this “emotion”) that Videogum hasn’t been covering the Manti Te’o story. OK. Why? Is the frustration coming from the fact that you’ve never read Videogum before and do not understand what constitutes the site’s general field of coverage? Guys! This is a site about movies, TV, and puppies on trampolines. DO WE LIVE IN A WORLD OF RULES OR DO WE NOT LIVE IN A WORLD OF RULES?! I’m just not clear on how we are supposed to cover a college sports story that is almost entirely composed of poorly fact-checked articles and fake Twitter accounts. That being said, I also don’t like people being mad at me. It’s an issue I probably need to work on, but it is real. So, we are still not going to cover that story, because why would we, but you are more than welcome to talk about it here if you want, because lord knows there is nowhere else to talk about it on the Internet. And if you DON’T want to talk about it, at least you got to see that man fall down near the snake, right? Hahaha. Careful, friend!

Comments (115)
  1. Snakes on a blog

  2. Alright, its about noon where I am, and there is no mention of the absolutely insane Algerian Hostage Crisis? Gabe, remember when you asked why people don’t comment as much anymore? Not to be rude, and this is a funny post, but stories about someone getting chased by a snake, whatever that even means, is just not going to get the attention like A BOTCHED HOSTAGE SITUATION IN NORTHERN AFRICA will.

    Alright, I’m done ranting. Relax, Notsewfast etc etc.

  3. hey guys, i’m a young single college girl, looking for a boyfriend, strictly internet boyfriend though we will never interact IRL

    holla at me

  4. Didn’t Steve Winwood really enjoy the film Catfish?

  5. I was rooting for the guy fleeing the snake until I found out it was fake. Does it mean I think less of the guy? Why did I root for the guy in the first place? Why did the foreman pay so much attention to this snake when another person was actually attacked by the snake and the foreman ignored it? When does a prank become a serious offense, and is the fake snake a serious offense? Who all was in the fake snake story? Does the fact that the one guy manufactured a fake snake mean that he was just having fun fucking with people or does he have some deeper issues for him to even try it?

  6. You guys, I think I hear Gabe scrolling through Netflix Instant in search of the WMOAT. (I’m outside his house.)

  7. I talked about it in the comments yesterday, but in no way did I mean to imply that Videogum should (or should not, your choice!!!!) cover the issue. We were talking about how our days were! Reading that article was the second most exciting part of my day yesterday!

    But this morning I saw someone mention on Twitter that we all care more about a fake girlfriend than real college football player rapists, and now I feel ashamed of myself for being so interested in the Te’o story.

    • In a perfect world we would have all our priorities in order but I’m not really surprised the Te’o story blew up while the college player rapist story was suppressed. Yes, the college had a big part in covering up the rape and eventual suicide of that poor girl but the story was out there, it’s just easier for us to say “hey, Earl, you hear about that Theo kid? He made up he had a girlfriend” than “Hey, Earl, how about that legendary higher learning institute covering up a rape and chastising the victim?”

    • Honestly, it is really frustrating to me that this is like the SCANDAL OF THE YEAR and people are putting this kid on BLAST for something that may not have even started out as an intentional lie? Like now people are saying he probably won’t be a first round draft pick? Because he held up a picture of a cute girl and said “This is my girlfriend. She lives out of state. You don’t know her.”? And Ben Roethlisberger still has a career????

    • I’m only aware of the high school football player rapists from Ohio, haven’t even heard of the college football player rapists yet

      there shouldn’t be so many football rapists that people have to specify which one there are talking about

      • I think this is the issue, though. Rape is incredibly common! The Manti Te’o story is blowing up because it’s unusual and no one is used to digesting it.

        • If only Lennay Kekua had been raped before getting into a car crash and dying of leukemia then we could all forget about this dumb story

      • The sexual assault (the story I read did not specify if it was rape – I don’t say this to diminish the assault, but to be accurate) happenend in 2010, but the girl killed herself before providing official testimony (or some other legal excuse) so her statement couldn’t be used as evidence to charge anyone.
        It sounds like the legal system had its hands tied, but what’s really problematic (other than the assault itself, DUH) is the way it seems to have been handled by the school and the police when she first came forward. I say “seems” because ND did a review of their procedures and such afterward and said it’s improved, but didn’t release what they were looking at exactly or what changes were made (I don’t think).
        Basically, it’s another tragedy illustrating North American rape culture and the horrible culture of entitlement in US college sports.

    • I saw some of that response, and I thought it was totally off-base. It is not comparing like with like.
      “I can’t believe that all these Monsters watch cute animal videos each week when elephants are being poached in Tanzania!!!!” – those people.
      Personally, I am very aware of rape culture, the ridiculous power that US college sports organizations have, and the ridiculous priorities that we as a society apply to celebrities we like (see also: Michael Fassbender).
      This story is really fascinating to me. Partly because there are so many mysteries about it, but also because it exposes our collective willingness to swallow any good story, no matter how implausible, as well as the mainstream sports media letting themselves be swindled.

  8. If you guys are interested in a long-ish read that is totally fascinating and relevant to this story, check this out:

    • That was pretty disturbing. Part of me is deeply nauseated and troubled, and another part of me wants to see the movie version directed by Sam Raimi.

      Man, I only meant to browse this site for a couple minutes, but an hour ago I had no idea who Manti Te’o was or why he was being chased by a fake snake and now I know the answer to both these questions, and many more. Not sure if my life has been enriched or not, but imsteph’s linked article is worth checking out.

      For the record, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the original comment by saturnian which started all this discussion and mockery. He wasn’t rude or ignorant or anything. He was just saying what he thought. When did that become such an inflammatory thing around here?

  9. Haha, what? I have no idea why videogum would “cover” this story, but SINCE YOU ASKED!

    Te’o was definitely in on it, right? The Deadspin article says he “talked to her on the phone” (and went to sleep with her on the other end in her hospital bed, very normal). Since there was no suggestion that the other guy had a real live girl pretending to be the girlfriend, I don’t understand how this would be possible unless Te’o was part of the fabrication.

    • The most confusing thing about this whole thing, to me anyway, is this line from the AP article about it: “The girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, a 22-year-old Stanford University student who had been in a serious car crash, died of leukemia, he said.” So the detail about her having been in a serious car crash is just, what, incidental? Is that something you’d normally use to describe someone? “Superglue, who crashed her bike into a parked van and broke her two front teeth in half, ate a turkey sandwich for lunch.” What is that?

    • it’s impossible for him not to be in on it, no matter how stupid he is

      • Absolutely. Also, he’s not stupid, he’s a student from Notre Dame not a party school.

      • Well it’s 2013. And there’s skype. He’s not mailing her letters. So either 1) He has at minimum SEEN a girl he thought was his girlfriend which makes him a liar, or 2) He made her up which makes him a liar.

        Occam’s razor leads me to believe it’s #2, because of A MILLION REASONS.

        • What I mean is, if he’s not in on it, he’s still liar now (because he asserts he was duped and somehow couldn’t piece together that a girl he saw (he had to have seen her face at least once on video chat or SOMEWHERE) was not the girl from the picture,) which is SUSPICIOUS ANYWAY.

          That’s the crazy part. That’s why it keeps getting interesting. Because he’s clearly lying now about something. It’s getting real Stephen Glassy in here.

    • The most forgiving explanation I can think of is that he was catfished, but was sort of embarassed that he’d never seen/Skyped/kissed this girl (which may have been especially embarassing if he were already feeling like an outsider/40-year-old virgin for being a Mormon on a football team), and invented the real-world stuff (meeting her the first time, phone calls, etc).
      But that doesn’t account for the mixed information about when she died, etc (keeping in mind that he is the only possible source of information about this girl to the media). Unless SI, ESPN, etc all garbled the story he told? Which also seems really unlikely?

      So there is basically no scenario in which he didn’t lie, but he may or may not have also been lied to.

      • There is a very slim chance that he is, in fact, such a naive, innocent Morman dude who has zero experience with girls that it felt like he was in a real relationship and in love with a girl who had just been tweeting at him. And he had to play it cool in front of his football buddies, so he started embellishing and it just got away from him. But then again, we all know better these days, don’t we? Especially college-age kids? I don’t think anyone could so easily be Catfished by Twitter alone. He had to be in on it, which is totally super weird.

        • What is Catfishing and how come you are both using that term so casually?? Is that A Thing?

          • Catfish is the documentary where a guy gets duped by a fake Facebook profile girl that many people believe is a hoax as a movie itself. It was turned into a bad MTV show which somehow also peripherally ties into this story via Twitter. It’s all very confusing, but Catfishing as a verb being a thing probably only started yesterday.

  10. “I hate snakes, Jock! I hate ‘em!” – Harrison Ford

  11. I know in internet time, this is like me referencing a Jackie Gleason joke, but…

  12. We’re not mad at you, Gabe! At least I’m not.

    I think it’s more about what people talk/comment about and that was about what we’re not saying (jazzgum!) or whatever.

    Although it is kind of BONKERS that I hadn’t heard about that rape case thing that martinmegs mentioned up there so I’m gonna go read about that!

    • Is that the Steubenville rape case because that makes my head explode with both shame and outrage.

      • I googled “college player rapist cover up suicide” and found out about Notre Dame’s covering up two rape cases, one of which led to the woman committing suicide. I hadn’t heard about the Steubenville case. Echoing bigbabyjesus up there, this sucks so much that we have to clarify which football team rape cover up we’re talking about.


    • That is not what I intended with what I said. If that were true, there would be a lot more of me bitching about the lack of Blade Runner discussion and coverage of instrumental hip hop/electronic music. It was more a general comment about Videogum, the Te’o story was the last straw more or less, but I honestly regret posting that now because this has gone way out of proportion.

      Goddamn, I did not mean to stir up this much shit, sorry guys.

      • I don’t even think your icon is to be believed.

        • What? They had boomboxes during the Civil War. That photograph is undeniable proof. It is widely speculated that Lincoln’s love of his boombox began after his viewing of the Spike Lee film, Do the Right Thing. Fight the Power by Public Enemy became a rallying cry for the Union troops. Does everyone not know this????

  14. I don’t really care about Videogum not mentioning the Manti Te’o story. I wasn’t expecting to hear about it here anyway.

    It was the second half of saturnian’s comment that I agree with: how the drop in comments probably has a lot to do with the lack of recaps and absence of WMOAT.

    Like you said, I’m here for the movies, TV, and puppies on trampolines, but it seems like a lot of posts now are more focused on making fun of celebrities than on the actual movies and TV.

  15. Since I kind of caused this post to happen, let me explain myself a little bit. First off, I didn’t initially think the Manti Te’o story was going to be covered, but when I thought about it, it really isn’t a story about sports. I hate college football and avoid it like the plague for the most part, but I found this whole thing to be extremely interesting on a more human interaction level. It is definitely more about the media and online interaction than it is about football. And then I saw other non-sports websites like Filmdrunk talking about it, and I was looking forward to it being discussed here, as I find Gabe’s insight into current issues to be extremely interesting (his perspective in the boycott Chick-fil-a post from August was incredibly thoughtful and generally great). Videogum, while a movies/tv/trampoline accidents blog, definitely breaks that mold from time to time, and I thought this whole story was batshit enough and caught the nation’s attention to the point that it would have been one of those times. I wasn’t frustrated as much as I guess I just kind of realized that things ain’t what they used to be ’round these parts. And it saddens me, as this is one of very few websites I frequent and care about. I am not saying that two years ago that story would have been covered, but two years ago I would not have felt the need to go off like I did in that post earlier. Maybe I am in the minority in these feelings, and probably I should just shut up already.

    • Don’t worry about it, saturnian! If anything, I think it’s good to know that if you (or anyone) makes comments about what should or shouldn’t be covered, other people have opinions on it. Are we not entitled to a redress of grievences??? Just kidding but still, there’s nothing wrong with saying “I’m interested to hear your take on something and I think we should talk about it” and having other people say “I disagree” or “I agree” or whatever.

    • It was more about the decline in commenting on this site that caused me to say anything. I just want to say that so its absolutely clear.

      • Saturnian, I’m with you. Of course Everyone wants to read the Manti story, not just because they want to offer up media criticism (and Videogum commenters are among America’s leading media critics) but because its about love, truth and love, lies and love, delusion, self-delusion, death, tragedy — AND the Internet. It’s fascinating, no matter WHAT the truth is here.. I actually think he didn’t know it was fake. And hell, I hate Notre Dame ’cause I’m a Sooner fan.

    • Here is what I think happened:
      Saturnian (and the rest of the internet) read about a story he found interesting. Saturnian thought “You know who I would like to talk abou this with? The cool people over at! They are smart and interesting and funny, especially that strapping young Gabe fella.”
      We should all take this as a compliment and move on.
      Gabe, don’t try to use the Jon Stewart shield. This site has been covering non-trampoline events since the outset. Cover what you want to cover. Don’t cover what you don’t want to cover.

  16. I put the dialogue through Google Russian Translator. Th’s is what they said:

    Man 1: Run like Cossack! There snake!
    Man 2: The snake is the mojo of Putin! Hurry!
    Man 3: My child will not be adopted to rich American family!
    Man 1: I wish I were in Siberia where snake are as common as virgins!
    Man 1: If this joke I drink vodka all of your family!

  17. I know that Googling this would probably be easier than typing this comment but what the heck I’m already here. What exactly happened? He made up a fake internet girlfriend who died of cancer? And everyone’s really upset about this? I don’t get it.

    • From what I gather, a scary snake was chasing this Manti fellow and he fell down. Not sure what’s so controversial about it.

    • There was this guy named Manatee’O who said he had a girlfriend and then he didn’t have a girlfriend, but then why did he have the bowl? Why did he have the bowl?! The reason it’s a big deal is because they made it sound like he was going through a big struggle while at the same time being one of the best football players in the country. It would probably blow over quickly if he just admit it, but people love to speculate which is why this is fun. Speculation is the best thing to do while you’re bored. Doesn’t mean it’s good for you, but it is fun. Now Notre Dame is making it sound like he was taken and they also made a big deal out of his dying girlfriend, which would have been very understandable, a dying girlfriend is no joke, except at the same time Notre Dame dragged their feet investigating an alleged rape.(it’s only alleged because the girl killed herself before a full investigation took place). Also Notre Dame got routed on the BCS Championship which has no relation to this story but means that they already had a very strong media attention. Also, there’s not much to do here in Indiana, so this is big news.

  18. I don’t particularly like the general scoffing and mocking directed at saturnian in this post and thread. It’s not very inviting, that is to say not very Videogum.

    • Here here! I like to think the mocking comments didn’t see the original post and just assumed Gabe got a bunch of whiney emails and tips about it.

    • Agreed. I think saturnian brought up his concerns about VG in a respectful and still pretty loving manner. I admit that I laughed out loud at the snot-nosed baby picture, but come on, look at that snot-nosed baby. That is so much snot. It’s ridiculous.

    • I also think it’s okay to discuss the future of this website that we all love without getting shat on for criticizing its current state of affairs (in, again, a respectful and pretty loving manner). Many of us depend on VG for our daily laffs, and for the wonderful sense of Internet community. It would be tragic for all if VG ceased to attract new blood. As much as I love old blood, history has shown that people grow up and get new jobs and have children and take on all kinds of new responsibilities that take them away from this site. And WMOAT is like blood in the water for all the snark-loving sharks on the Internet. (Mixing blood metaphors. What’re you gonna do about it.)

  19. Are we done talking about this yet?

  20. Ok, I am very frustrated that Videogum has not been covering Tilda Swinton or James McAvoy except for that one butt picture, which is noted and appreciated, and also that Kelly has yet to respond to my e-vite for a slumber party where we will drink mimosas and play the sweet valley twins board game.

    You can’t blame a girl for trying, yeah?

  21. Am I the only person who thinks that Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is very overrated?

  22. I’d like more snack-based content, please.

  23. I would just like to say how proud I am that my story about my internet boyfriend netted me the second-highest amount of upvotes in my short and scattered Videogum career. I once got more upvotes for a joke about Jay Leno wearing a denim thong, so next time I’ll try to work these two things together.

  24. Not gonna lie… when that story hit yesterday on Deadspin, my FIRST instinct was to come here to talk about it. And I don’t comment, like, at all anymore, but I know VG is the place to go for fucked up scandal talk. Te’o brought me out of retirement.

    SO. I want to know why the media is covering for this dude, because THAT’S WHAT IT SEEMS LIKE TO ME.
    A HOAX my ass. He was tricked? So when his father told ESPN the magazine that she visited him in Hawaii… was HE lying to his dad or was his dad lying to ESPN? And when Lennay’s brother (ALSO FAKE PERSON) called Te’o to tell him that she had passed away (NEVER HAPPENED) was this the person running the fake Twitter account or was Te’o lying about a phone call AND a brother? How about how he claimed to send flowers to her funeral? Did he lie about sending them? Did he send them? Were they returned?!

    No, fuck this guy, he was lying for publicity and he got it. And now, in light of his publicity being based on LIES LIES LIES he’s getting even MORE publicity.

  25. Fuck the person who decided that “catfish” was a good idea for a verb. That is all.

  26. Crazy that Te’o was dating Einhorn the whole time.

  27. I’m lost.

    How about more on Tom Hardy?

  28. I guess anybody will run seeing snake as initial reaction

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