Profile of a fake pro cyclist takes dark turn into tragedy, harassment and stolen valor

Originally published at: Profile of a fake pro cyclist takes dark turn into tragedy, harassment and stolen valor | Boing Boing


Wow. Quite the story.


Holy hell - what a story.
It makes you wonder how many frauds are out there, making millions in salary and stock - all built on lies.
I see simpler versions of this: LinkedIn profiles with exaggerations and misrepresentation.
But if nobody checks - these people continue to find employment.

How the gentleman from the story looks at himself in the mirror each day is anyones guess.


As someone who can barely keep what I did this morning straight in my head, I have no idea how they keep their stories going for so long. Where do they find the energy?


Yeah, about that “stolen valor” question-begging neologism … can we not?


Whats your grumble about it?

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The term implies that lying about military service is qualitatively different than other braggadocio, and tantamount to a crime of theft against actual soldiers. This is not how we frame any other types of lying self-aggrandization. It comes from, and builds upon, the fetishization of a military that most people in the rich democracies no longer have any personal experience with.


Long, but fascinating.

I worked for someone who managed like him once. I was old/jaded enough to see through his bullshit, but he held the young art interns in thrall with his stories, and loved to set squabbles up between them. Everything about the guy was a lie, but he craved the devotion and fights over him. I left after two months, and three sobbing interns had already run out in that period.


Perhaps they run their ego-boosting narrative in their heads over and over again, like a drug.

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Agree - but I’d be undeniable choked to see someone pretend to be involved in a life or death situation like I was, and somehow profit from it in some way.

I think this is where the stolen valour folks get really pissed - the profit part. Even if it’s something small like a discount on breakfast, to something more like bilking rubes for consulting fees.


I think from reading this article and from other cases I’ve seen, there are two things in play.

Firstly, they don’t need to keep their stories straight.

They frequently cock up or change the details or even the whole story. See this guy. He’s been a pro cyclist, an MBA businessman, a graduate of numerous universities, a prison manager, an army lawyer, a bodyguard and now he’s apparently former SAS.

And through all of those mutually incompatible claims, he’s frequently cocked up details.

People just don’t really care much about that kind of thing – until they do.

The second thing is that many seem to find the energy out of an internal feeling of inadequacy.

They think they are not “good enough” so they invent a version of themselves that they think will appeal to whoever they want to impress at the time. Since most people don’t actually question the story other people tell about themselves much, that suceeds.

So they carry on. And eventually they end up in a place where they’ve told so many lies, they can’t see any way out. And of course they’ve also learned that it really doesn’t matter. They’ve found that (for them at least) lying to people is easy.

If it implodes eventually, then they just slip sideways into something else.


I’m disappointed, though less surprised than I’d like to be, that letting your exercise tracker put numbers in front of internet nerds is apparently more of a risk to your ongoing deceptions than anything involved in being a CEO whose administration includes a lot of lobbying for defense contracts and a couple of improper dismissal cases that went to court.

Also heartening that a charismatic conman with a deep sense of victimhood and a relationship with both people and truth that seems to tack between ‘transactional’ and ‘overtly abusive’ decided on “lots of guns” as his most recent reinvention. That should go really well with his apparently volatile temper.


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