What’s real? What’s an illusion? Can you ever trust anything on the internet? Can you ever even trust another human being? Are we all just tied up in a cave, watching shadows on a wall that we think are real life? These are the foundation-shaking questions raised by the shocking news that beloved Twitter account @Horse_ebooks was not, as people assumed, a rouge spam bot, but was instead a secret, human-controlled “art project” by Jacob Bakkila and Thomas Bender.
If you’re unfamiliar with the @Horse_ebooks phenomenon, we dove deep on it last year. But all of that research and conjecture turns out to have been for naught, as we’ve all been conned by a guy from Buzzfeed and a guy who used to work for Howcast.
In retrospect, maybe it was too beautiful and perfect to be a random and accidental creation. Of course tweets like this came from a human brain:
In Just Two Hours, You Can Learn How to Keep Thousands of Dollars in Your Pocket and Put Salespeople At Your Mercy, Begging You To Buy Their— Horse ebooks (@Horse_ebooks) September 4, 2013
And yeah, kudos to them for tricking thousands of people into thinking this was something that it wasn’t. But boy, doesn’t that really suck the fun out of things? Much like Jimmy Kimmel’s recent fake twerking video that went viral, things like this will just lead people to treat everything with an even heavier dose of skepticism than they already do. No one has any reason to believe that something that seems unlikely and magical could actually be real - it’ll always seem more likely that someone is just trying to trick you for their own personal gain. So I hope it was worth it, Bakkila and Bender. Whatever “Bear Sterns Bravo” is, the art project that this is leading towards, I hope it makes up for you stealing our innocence, our senses of childlike wonder and hope.
Here’s a video they made about it that doesn’t really explain much: