December 23, 2014

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Not three years ago, in these very virtual pages, I mourned the extinction of the loony-bin luminary.

Bedlam and Bellevue were once bursting with faux Napoleons and ersatz Anastasias. These days, the lunatics—exiled from the few remaining asylums—have taken over the streets. And, as apostates from our civil religion of high self-esteem, they insist that they’re victims, not heroes.

“It’s easer to fake being a loser than a winner,” I wrote at the time, and the rewards are so much greater, too.

A latter-day Joseph Kesselring (of Arsenic and Old Lace fame) would probably write “Uncle Teddy” as a fake Vietnam vet/alien abductee. The rest of the Brewster clan would claim Cherokee/Holocaust survivor ancestry and believe everyone was trying to kill them. (But this turns out to be a hate crime hoax they’ve cooked up for attention and a possible legal settlement.) That homicidal brother-on-the-lam’s plastic surgery would now be a sex change operation, which means that the Karloff gag can stay in. (I mean, you’ve seen some of those dudes, right?)

“Except this ‘encounter,’ like the Rolling Stone ‘rape,’ occurred exclusively within the confines of a woman’s skull.”

So I could talk about Rolling Stone’s fake rape victim, but that’s so two weeks ago. Our latest female fabulist hails from Australia, and, in a refreshingly retro (and appropriately upside-down) twist, at least this one tried to pawn herself off as a sort of paladin.

Steve Sailer credited Melbourne’s self-described “mentally ill” (and other-described rabid racist) Tessa Kum with coining the post-Sydney terror attack hashtag #IllRideWithYou, designed “to raise awareness about shielding Muslims from a theorized bogan backlash.” The idea was that Australian commuters would accompany their Mohammedan neighbors to work and school, to protect them from (there’s that word again) imaginary infidel skinhead revenge squads.

(This campaign was launched, by the way, while the hostages were still being held captive. Forget “the bodies were barely cold.” These ones weren’t even bodies yet.)

Sailer was right, but Kum got the idea for the hashtag after reading a Facebook status update by (you’ll never guess) a “university lecturer and former Greens candidate” named Rachael Jacobs.

Now, Jacobs isn’t as Caucasian as you might have pictured, which rather plucks the cherry from the top of this white-guilt sundae if you happen to be as nasty as I am. But there’s still plenty of sugary goop to savor.

On Facebook—in a post that was quickly picked up by the national, and then international, media—Jacobs wrote that she’d been riding a Brisbane train when she offered to protect a woman whom she presumed was removing her hijab because she felt threatened.

“According to her story,” says the Australian, “Ms Jacobs had seen the woman beginning to remove her scarf, and ran after her, saying ‘Put it back on. I’ll walk with you.’”

The Muslim woman, Jacobs continued, “started to cry and hugged me for about a minute—then walked off alone.”

Why, yes, this is the part where I wedge in that classic bit about two other female bullshit artists of greater renown, Mary McCarthy and Lillian Hellman; the latter famously sued the former for telling Dick Cavett that “Every word [Hellman] writes is a lie—including ‘and’ and ‘the.’”

Because I’m not sure even those tiny parts of speech are above reproach in this case. Jacobs was very likely a passenger on some sort of motorized conveyance on Monday, December 15 of this year. That’s probably about it, though.

After her “random act of kindness” went viral, Jacobs was inundated with offers to retell her inspirational tale of courage and compassion.

Again, I give her credit: She came clean.