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DVD Rewinder & Is it Real or is Memorex?

Perfect Holiday gift: DVD Rewinder.

Digg story about a high school kid who had his computers confiscated for making a minor change on a school website.

This is actually an interesting anecdote, but more interesting is the digg discussion about whether this story is actually true. Apparently, this is a one blogpost blog, and the blogger also digged it; the story seems far-fetched, but not so far-fetched as to seem ridiculous. A few of the commenters provided factual validation, but that could be easily faked as well. The majority of digg posters couldn’t take it seriously until they knew for sure that it had been covered in mainstream media. (Maybe that is the main service provided by mainstream media these days: to factcheck blog articles).

It’s likely this event was true, but it’s equally likely that it could have been faked; there’s simply no way to have independent verification. (I thought the post was unusually articulate for a high schooler; then again, when you write with outrage, words come easily). The best you can do is debate the details and look for internal inconsistencies. When examining the material for authenticity, you get sucked into pretending it’s true; it’s what Jill Walker calls “ontological fusion;” you become a part of the story. All the responses are framed in hypotheticals (i.e., “if this event did actually happen”), to the point where it is no longer necessary to attach the conditional to it. Modern web surfers are becoming savvier. They no longer take things at face value. At the same time, they are more willing to accept the uncertainty of net narratives. That is progress.

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