So a regular feature with TAN on the weekend will be "The Assimilator". This week we have Vice co-founder Gavin McInnes, Grifter story-breaker Doree Shafrir, and a book editor talking about: Guess Who?
So, yeah, I love the Vice magazine angle on this story. Did you know you can score a job — a legit job, in a recession! — at a popular magazine by just being cute and charming? That's some tangible real-world lesson shit for the kids right there. If you're in the market, you might want to lose the paper printouts and get your résumé tattooed on your chest! Cooooool.
So I sent some of the Vice editorial staff a blind email on the matter, but no response (probably too busy doing background checks on the rest of their staff, understandable). But I did hear from former heart-and-soul of Vice, co-founder Gavin McInnes. He shared his unique perspective:
I realize hindsight is 20/20 but how awesome would it be if you knew a chick was a hipster grifter but didn't let on and dated her anyways? She'd fake cry during intercourse and tell you she wants to have your babies and you'd be all, "I know Kari. I've never loved anyone this much." How intensely dark and fucking weird would that be!?
You'd have to constantly avoid situations where you give her cash and you'd have to sleep with your credit cards up your ass but, as we've learned from seducing strippers, the more dough you put out the more you're seen as a dolt. She'd actually appreciate the challenge. Oh what a heavy thrill it would be watching her out of the corner of your eye, trying to predict her next hustle. Anyone with a junkie roommate knows how challenging this can be. You'd have to keep your laptop at work and all your CDs would need to go into storage but cheating a cheater must make you feel like God. I bet your hands would shake at the end of every encounter.
If you don't find this kind of idea exciting, you are precisely the sort of pussy hipster grifters prey on – and you deserve it.
Ha. Yeah, that's right you labia-lobotomized hipsters. Suck it.
Well after being enlightened to the edgy alternative universe perspective, I wanted to get grounded again in the reality of what's happening on the streets. So I talked to Doree, the journalist who broke the story, AND former Gawkette:
TAN: Will you be staying on top of the Grifter beat for the New York Observer? This story brings to mind Season 5 of The Wire, when they "surrounded" the homeless story once it got sensational enough. There's probably an entire subculture of grifters and aspiring-grifters out there waiting to be exposed?
Since the story ran I've heard tales of other grifters people have had the unfortunate experience of coming into contact with. They're certainly an intriguing group of people, but you just feel like at some point it starts just being sad more than anything else—the grifters themselves seem to have some serious mental health issues and the people they target are so emotionally and often financially drained from the experience. My (armchair) analysis is that it's partly the need to feel loved and taken care of (see Kari's constant hospitalizations under questionable circumstances) but taken to an unhealthy level. Connected to that is wanting to have power over people (Kari's suicide attempts and "pregnancy" scares, tellingly, seemed to come when it seemed like a guy was about to leave her, or when he was on tour with his band—she would make it so that he "couldn't" leave her). I think people with these kinds of issues are also deeply, deeply lonely; in one of my follow-ups to the original story I told about how she made up intricate lies to get someone to go to a concert with her. Many of her victims also said that she always seemed to have something to offer people, and I would bet that she did that because she was nervous about being alone.
But I think there's also the thrill of getting away with it all; knowing they have the power to manipulate people to such a degree must give grifters a kind of high. Kari knows she comes off as friendly and personable, which is why she's able to manipulate people so skillfully.
True that. Well here's hoping Kari reaches out to Doree, it'd be nice if they could work together on giving us this full story.
Finally, after those updates I'm thinking business now. And if you're a blogger, that means book deal. Many of the commenteratti think there are some big-time royalties to be earned on this story. Are they right? I asked a big-time book editor if they're hot on the meme:
As we say in the business, "there's no there there." Girl meet boy, girl dupes boy. Girl has bitchin' tats and boy possibly has Asian fetish. Boy loses girl, money and self-respect. The End.
Sounds kinda like an Ethan Hawke novel, now that I think about it. Which is the first sign publishers should stay far, far away.
And who would write the thing anyway? Kari? Yeah, because she's exactly the kind of person you can trust to honor a contract and a cash advance. So...no. Not gonna happen.
It's also worth pointing out that there have been a bunch of juicy stories that have gotten major play in the NY media fishbowl recently that have yielded exactly ZERO book deals. Anyone remember the DABA girls? They managed to dupe the NY Times into writing a serious trend piece and then released a statement saying "Oh, it was satire! Totes jk, y'all." But of course, right after they were "exposed" a story appeared in Fashionista saying they had a book deal—and sites like Jezebel jumped all over the book deal story. Now, no book deal was ever made—it was a classic case of getting a little notoriety and then planting some leads in the hopes that a publisher would bite. No one did. The agent still has not sold that b.s., nor will she. Ultimately there was no there there, and while someone might have taken a flyer 5 years ago when we were more flush, these days, publishers are a lot more wary about throwing real money around. Kari will just have to find some other sucker to fund her hipsterness. And really, I have complete confidence she will.
A senior book editor who prefers anonymity considering the sensational nature of this story