Okay, I will admit up front that I have way too much time on my hands, and probably shouldn’t be as fascinated as I am with the real story behind some webcam clips by someone calling themselves “lonelygirl15” on YouTube — but at least I’m not the only one. Unbeknownst to me when I wrote my first post on it a little while ago, TV writer Virginia Heffernan at the New York Times was also following the tale of Bree and her boyfriend Daniel (see here and here and here, whose video clips are consistently among the most-viewed on YouTube (Business Week media writer Jon Fine has also been writing about it).
Her latest update delves into one of the popular theories about Bree, who from her videos appears to be the home-schooled daughter of religious — and possibly missionary — parents. The theory is that the clips are “viral” ads for some kind of forthcoming movie or other production, although there are just as many who believe Bree (who has had an email conversation with Ms. Heffernan at the Times) is a real person. The NYT blogger’s latest post refers to one of the proponents of the “Bree is fake” theory, a filmmaker named Brian Flemming who has written extensively about it on his own blog, and raises the possibility of an interesting twist: that he could actually be the one behind what he is debunking (he says he isn’t).
Curiouser and curiouser, as Alice in Wonderland said. Is Bree a more elaborate version of a kind of Blair Witch web campaign? Perhaps. Does it really matter if she is real? Probably not. But I find myself fascinated nevertheless. If nothing else, I find it interesting how quickly people — even regular, non-media people — jumped to the conclusion that it was fake.
In other YouTube mystery-related news, the New York Times has a piece about “FunTwo” — the Asian guitar wizard who plays an incredible version of Pachelbel’s Canon on the electric guitar. Virginia Heffernan revealed his identity on her blog earlier this month.