The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

The Catfish Sports Writer: ‘Ryan Schultz’ Is a Lesson in Social-Media Deception

Posted on | November 10, 2017 | Comments Off on The Catfish Sports Writer: ‘Ryan Schultz’ Is a Lesson in Social-Media Deception


“Ryan Schultz” was a sports writer for the digital age, in which anyone with a laptop can be anything they want to be on the Internet. According to his profile, Schultz was a married father of two children, working as a pharmacist and also writing about his love of baseball.

None of that was true, but nobody bothered to check Schultz’s credentials or else they would have noticed, inter alia, that the university Schultz claimed to have attended didn’t offer a pharmacology degree. This is a cautionary tale for the Social Media Generation:

For the last eight years, baseball fan-turned-writer Becca Schultz has presented herself online as Ryan Schultz, a false identity she assumed when she was 13 years old, duping and harassing women on Twitter along the way.
On Wednesday night, a woman named Erin tweeted a series of screenshots announcing that Schultz is not actually Ryan, a married father of two studying to become a pharmacist. Instead, Schultz is a 21-year-old college student in the Midwest, whose entire career as an aspiring baseball writer has been under a fraudulent byline.
Schultz began contributing to Baseball Prospectus’s local White Sox blog at the end of the 2016 season and wrote for BP South Side and BP Wrigleyville throughout the 2017 season. Additionally, Schultz wrote for the SB Nation sabermetrics site Beyond the Box Score throughout 2017.
People who knew Ryan Schultz online say that in retrospect, some of his behavior seemed odd, but no one expected that this moody White Sox fan from Missouri would actually be a teenage girl. . . .

You can read the rest of that and ask yourself, “Why would women let themselves get emotionally involved with this online persona?”

This is the aspect of the Ryan Schultz saga which deserves careful scrutiny, if we are to understand its larger significance. When we meet human beings in real life, we immediately assess them on a superficial basis — what they look like, their mannerisms of speech and behavior. Are they tall or short, fat or skinny, old or young, ugly or beautiful? And, arguably most important of all, are they male or female?

People who claim to believe that “gender” is “socially constructed” have obtained a cultural ascendancy in recent years in large measure because the Internet has become a playground for such make-believe, giving plausibility to the idea that men can be women and vice-versa. However, as critics of The Transgender Cult have pointed out, this belief is as phony as Ryan Schultz’s pharmacology degree.

Beyond that, however, the tale of Ryan Schultz shows that men and women are different in how they typically use the Internet. Why were so many women willing to interact with Schultz in a way that made them vulnerable to harassment and manipulation? Why did Becca Schultz believe she could get away with using her online persona in this way? Was she engaged in a “monkey-see, monkey-do” imitation of male behavior? Did she exploit her own knowledge of female psychology to create a male persona that would be especially appealing to a female audience? And didn’t her success in this endeavor prove something?

Sigmund Freud once famously asked, “What do women want?” And if you consider how easily Becca Schultz used her baseball-expert male persona to collect an online harem of female admirers, you find some answers to that question. Women want men who are successful, confident and — this is a crucial factor — desired by other women.

By making her baseball expert “Ryan” married with two children, Becca Schultz conveyed what PUAs called “pre-selection,” the advantage enjoyed by men who, by virtue of already having a wife or girlfriend, are validated as a desirable mate in the eyes of other women. Becca Schultz says she originally created “Ryan” with the idea that an adult male would be taken more seriously as a baseball writer than would a 13-year-old girl. But I don’t believe that explanation because (a) it is obvious that Schultz is a pathological liar, and (b) within a year of creating her online persona, she had gotten herself into an online “relationship” with a woman. In other words, Becca Schultz is a lesbian who decided to engage in a sort of virtual transgenderism because she wanted to attract women who would relate to her the way heterosexual women typically relate to men.

While your mind races ahead to the psychosexual insights this exposes, let’s quote some more of the Deadspin story about Becca/“Ryan”:

“I wanted to be a sportswriter,” she said, “but I was young and thought that the only way people would notice me is if I was the stereotypical guy. So I chose a name that was similar enough to mine, and I went with it. It was fine and probably would’ve been over a year or two later if I hadn’t ‘met’ Alex [a woman with whom “Ryan” developed an online relationship]. I was young and had no idea what to do, so I just acted like I thought a man would do. That slowly led me down a path to some things that I was very uncomfortable doing but didn’t even realize were happening. At the time I still probably had the valid excuse that I was young. But things started to get serious, and I had no clue how to dig myself out of the hole I was in.”

The pathological liar Becca Schultz would have us believe that it was just a coincidence that, while masquerading as a “stereotypical guy” online, she attracted the romantic interest of a college girl. Although the Deadspin article uses pseudonyms for most of Schultz’s victims, I’m going to guess that “Alex” was relatively good-looking — better-looking than any girl Becca Schultz would have been able to attract if she had pursued a lesbian relationship in real life. Think about that.

As I say, there are many psychosexual insights exposed by this story, but I’m sure the commenters will have their own thoughts to share, so I won’t bother to expound on my theoretical interpretation just now. Instead, I will remind readers how often I have warned against online dating:

Research indicates a male-female ratio of 3-to-1 on OKCupid, and women users say that 80% of the men on OKCupid are “below average” in looks. Of course, these men are also below average in intelligence, because in real life the male-female ratio is 1-to-1, so an average guy actually lowers his chances of success by dating online, where the odds are always against him. This is why there are no decent guys on OKCupid. If a guy was decent, he’d already have a girlfriend or, at least, he’d be sufficiently optimistic about finding a girlfriend in a real-life face-to-face encounter that he wouldn’t bother with OKCupid. Because the available pool of men in online dating is such a notorious swamp of inferior quality, only women who are truly desperate for companionship would sign up for OKCupid.

Finally, I’ll impart this bit of wisdom: Anything that seems too good to be true is probably neither true nor actually good.



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