Over the course of the Thanksgiving holiday, “The Bachelor” producer Elan Gale managed to get the likes of Yahoo!, Us Weekly, The Huffington Post, and many other websites to write about something that was apparently the craziest thing that any of them had ever witnessed: A “live-tweeting” account of a dispute between him and “Diane,” an unruly passenger on an airplane that he was on. This event was documented with pictures of various “notes” that he sent along with notes back from this woman, and he claimed that at one point, things escalated to the point where Diane slapped him across the face.
Are always a couple of holes in this little story? Sure, since we don’t know who in their right mind has the gusto to send anyone, let alone an angry person, wine on an airplane with a snarky note attached. But like the majority of other Americans online, we believed this whole ordeal when it was going down, and only started to question it later. We didn’t write about it, mostly because we didn’t really understand why someone’s supposed unruly fight on an airplane constituted anything more than a reading of a Twitter account. There’s not much a commentator can add to it unless you are going to try and examine it critically or talk about gender roles (as some people did).
But by posting an empty chair and admitting this to be Diane today, Gale more or less admitted that this entire ordeal was a stunt designed with the sole purpose seemingly of giving everyone entertainment. It was a hoax, and reaction has been mixed. Some are furious that their dreams are crushed and that Gale took advantage of their trust in him; others think of it as a brilliant move.
We want to try to take any personal feelings about the tweeting or his admission that it was a hoax out of it, mostly because that’s not to us what is most interesting about it. Instead, it’s how smart of a move crafting something like this was as a publicity stunt. Gale was smart to do this on Thanksgiving Week, a time when there is little news and outlets are desperate to pick things up, even to a point where some of them won’t really bother to check if something is true or not. Gale now has over 170,000 followers, an exponential increase from where he was before this ordeal went viral. Are some of them angry followers? Sure, but it’s way more people than who knew about him before. It was basically Twitter’s version of a magic trick, except you were convinced at the start of it that it is real. He surely never expected it to blow up like this given that he’s done similar things in the past that did not produce such results.
Also, Gale was smart to tap into the cultural mindset of people traveling around this time of year and have to deal with someone like “Diane.” They felt his pain, and he was doing in his tweets what they have longed to do in giving a jerk a piece of their mind. To use another analogy, he was the Twitter version of Steven Slater, at least in the heads of many.
In the end, this is all commentary of how much society is willing to sometimes believe anything that is on social media. The funniest part of all this to us is that how easy it was for America to fall for a man whose job is to show us manipulated versions of orchestrated events for a purpose of telling a story.
And one final thing: Juan Pablo Galavis’ season of “The Bachelor” is really just another elaborate Elan hoax. They’re really just bringing Brad Womack back again.
Photo: Twitter / Elan Gale