Some of the more web-savvy of you may follow YouTube and already know the tale of lonelygirl15. For those who don’t, here are a couple of articles summarizing the internet scandal du jour, and for the extremely lazy, here’s an even more brief summary: some film people in NY made up a teenager and her online journals for YouTube, in the hopes of landing a film deal.
It shouldn’t. Banner of Heaven has little to do with lonelygirl15, aside from a fictional element. Some of you may be unfamiliar with BoH or The Banner. I recommend you learn about it at the source. For the uninitiated, the skinny: in May 2005, I and a few friends started a fictional blog, aiming to hold a mirror up to the LDS blog community and explore the edges of some of the commonplace themes we saw. We didn’t tell anyone we were fake, and actually told our real-world friends that it was all real (Random John is still waiting to meet Jenn, I believe). We got busted before we finished, and the world descended upon us in wrath. If you’re feeling whimsical, search T&S sometime for “banner” to witness the Bloggernacle’s vengeance.
Here is the interesting part: no one really remembers much about Banner itself; instead, what everyone recalls is the outrage. Either you remember the deceit, or you remember the pound of flesh publicly exacted from the Bannerites. Few of us recall reading Banner or the ideas laid out by the characters. Bannergate has sucked the work dry.
Witness lonelygirl15, whose vignettes at YouTube were highly engaging and, when viewed in succession, laid out an interesting (and well-done) narrative. Will people remember how well-done the videos were? No. It is far more likely that we’ll recall feelings of mistrust, spurred by quotes like this one from one of lonelygirl15’s creators:
We were all under N.D.A.’s…They had a lawyer involved. My first impression was like, wow, can this be legitimate? Is this ethical? I was very concerned about that in the beginning.
Maybe I am being overly pessimistic about human nature.
I don’t intend to change people’s minds about Banner of Heaven — indeed, I don’t know if that’s possible, or desirable. Instead, I’m interested in the nature of memory, and I’d like to ask a few questions:
1. Can we select which memories we hold onto?
2. If so, how do our selections reflect upon us as Christians?
3. If we cannot control which memories we retain, how do we forgive?