Catfish- Flora Lenon

by amateurflaneur

So there is a new (ish) show on MTV that I am addicted to.It is called ‘Catfish’ and it follows the love stories of people who meet online but haven’t met in person… yet.

The crux of it the program is that the person featured nine out of ten times does not resemble the pictures they have put up on their profile; mostly it is not their actual name they have been using and very often they use the wrong age and or even gender. The disingenuous nature of online dating or, indeed, the internet, is laid bare.

However, It is more than a precautionary tale. It is more about the so-called ‘catfish’’s personal problems than the heartbreak of the victim; the poor soul who has contacted MTV in order to determine the veracity of their virtual significant other’s persona. The ‘catfish’   is usually incredibly insecure and there exists deep-seated reasons why they are lying about who they are online. This new phenomenon which has arisen in conjunction with social networking reveals something rather dark about the general population: so many of them do not like who they are.

Although the show is entertaining it is simultaneously quite sombre. A catfish is now defined as someone who pretends to be someone else online, but this originated from the idea that when live cod are shipped around the world catfish are put in the tank with them to keep them agile (and therefore delicious upon arrival at their destination). At first it seems that this metaphor is a positive one, envisaging people in society who are introduced to keep the rest of us on our toes. However, the program delves beneath this positive facade,  making us aware of the levels of naivety lonely people possess and even more aware of the freaks who have wifi access.