When I wrote my response to Linda Tirado’s viral poverty porn essay, I skipped over the subject of her teeth. Every fabulist sprinkles a few grains of truth in her story and the teeth could have been the honest bits of Tirado’s tale for all I knew.
Yes, Linda’s online ramblings about her mouth had the usual warning signs — like the dentist who accused her of meth use — but I just didn’t want to go there. Now, however, Tirado has put out a 15-minute rambling YouTube monologue about her teeth, which the Huffington Post has gleefully reposted with a headline blaring: “Is this what you want? Author of viral poverty piece takes out teeth to prove her story.”
As tabloid headlines go, it’s absolutely brilliant, just like HuffPo’s earlier Linda Tirado heds — “Meet the woman who accidentally explained poverty to the nation” and “This is why poor people’s bad decisions make perfect sense.”
The Huffington Post, you see, has been exploiting Linda Tirado aka KillerMartinis from the get-go. Unlike the mainstream media, which has almost unanimously passed on her story, due to all the giant gaping holes, HuffPo has been all over it, credulously gobbling up everything Linda feeds it. Whether it’s for the page views or because HuffPo can’t admit it was wrong or both, this online news organization is ignoring all the warning signs about Linda Tirado.
Granted, something similar to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle affects all of us discussing the Linda Tirado situation. It’s not possible to engage without some degree of exploitation, but the Huffington Post and its reporter Ryan Grim can’t even bring themselves to acknowledge there might be something to admit.
HuffPo’s mission now, you see, is not just to continue exploiting Linda Tirado, but to savage her most vocal critics for the usual sins — hating, trolling and jealousy. Those critics are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to the teeth. There’s just no way for them to get into the details of dental plates without looking bad even if they happen to be right.
And yes, despite that dentistry video — described to me in an email as “fascinating macabre theatre” — we have no idea how Linda Tirado’s teeth became so bad. Maybe, despite her history of telling tall tales, the teeth story she’s putting out there is actually true. But it’s also possible that she took her insurance money and spent it on killer stilettos and martinis, and that her dentist had a point about the meth.
Right now, we just don’t know. Except for HuffPo, which does. The teeth tale and everything else is exactly what Linda Tirado says it is for this leader of the online news industry. Linda’s fantastical story would likely still have cred if it weren’t for Angelica Leicht aka @Writer_Anna’s biting critique, which also went viral. Sometimes it takes a girl from the dildo beat to point out in public that the emperor has no clothes.
What @glsailor clearly doesn’t know is that when you write about sex toys for a living, you get to know the naked truth.