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So, Jenny the HOPA wasn’t real. But why are some people upset?

If you don’t know about Jenny or the revelation of the hoax, here’s the story over at Tech Crunch.

The story, as I see it, is interesting and will likely become a training tool for viral marketing types.

But what I really find interesting is the anger I’ve seen come across.

When I saw the original story, I laughed. I’ll admit it, I’m guessing most people have worked for someone they’d love to give a piece of their mind and this was a really creative way to get your point across.

However, I also questioned the “truth” of it. Because I know I live in an internet age and, in all honesty, very few people are that clever all on their own.

So, when I heard that it wasn’t real and that Jenny was really Elyse Porterfield, I thought to myself “Well, good for her. There’s a million actresses in this town. Nice way to get yourself noticed.” and left iit at that.

As the day has gone on, I’ve seen a few reactions that seem to have a very real sense of anger or upset in them and I’m really confused by them.

Milli Vanilli being fake was one thing. It went on for years and the fraud involved money and screwed over the original artists.

But Jenny was “Jenny” for a day and we all had a good chuckle.

So, if you were upset. I’m wondering why?

p.s. Maybe it’s the use of the word “hoax” It implies some sort of intentional deceit. But that’s one to ask John Resig.


  1. I completely understand what people are saying, but I am personally pretty chilled about it and had much the same reaction as you did.

    I LOLed, I told some co-workers, they LOLed, we talked about JetBlue!guy some more, then went back to our boring jobs.

    I was expecting it to be a hoax, although part of me would have loved for it to be true.

    Maybe I spend too much time on the interwebs and have become sceptical of the world??

  2. I think Kyra is right on about people wanting it to be real. We’ve all had that boss in the past that made us feel like crap, and for some reason or another (most likely the flagging job market) we sit in silence and just take the abuse, and keep quiet. Sort of like Milton in Office Space, sitting there and muttering to ourselves about how we could “burn this whole place down,” but we don’t because we’re too comfortable where we’re at to upset the status quo. So, for the vast majority of the wage slaves out there, when we see a story like the Jet Blue Flight Attendant, or Jenny the “HPOA,” there’s a sense of empowerment there. This is a person that has overcome the evil corporate overlords, and expressed themselves the way that we desperately want to. By finding out that it was faked, in a way it’s like when you find out that Santa Claus isn’t real…A little piece of you that had hope that something like this could happen goes away, and you’re back to staring at your boss, as he carries away your red swingline stapler. Again.

  3. To elaborate on my tweet…
    Several factors are at play in the backlash.
    1. Most of us have been in a job, at one time or another, where we wish we’d been this clever/had that sort of chutzpah. We quit or got fired when we couldn’t stand it anymore, and we resent it.
    2. In a down economy, a lot of people are either stuck in jobs they can’t risk leaving, or fearful of losing their jobs, even *if* they hate it. This also breeds resentment of authority.
    3. We may consent to be manipulated by entertainment and even politics, but we really don’t like being manipulated without our consent. We are hyperaware of an imbalance in society. From banking bailouts to bonuses, to… you name it. We’re mad as hell and yet we don’t have a lot of choice. We’ve been taken advantage of by credit card companies, phone companies, cable companies… So, when something is presented as factual, (even if there were, “tells,”) and it is revealed to be fiction, people may feel manipulated, jerked-around, embarrassed. We don’t like feeling that way.
    If, “The Chive,” is going to continue in this vein, they’d be better off to follow, “The Onion,” and simply be absurdist, while letting their audience in on the joke. It breeds less hostility.

  4. Maybe it’s because people wanted it to be true–it was hilarious and it was the kind of thing a lot of people would love to do, so the fact that someone did do it made the whole thing funnier and more…hopeful, I suppose. Finding out it’s not true means some of that humor and hope isn’t there any more–it was cheated, in some ways–and granted, if this happened in a movie and everyone knew from the start that it was fiction, nobody would be bothered. I guess everyone gets a little more invested when they think something’s real. You know, this ordinary person did something awesome I’ve always wanted to do, maybe I can too.

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