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But the ability to weave a complex web of deceit across a variety of social media platforms actually makes it easier to engage in mini-deceptions that can quickly morph into a colossal hoax.

If we are to believe Te’o, there was absolutely no intention to commit a colossal Internet hoax from the outset.

He is uncomfortable with his own weaknesses, and at times displays as much phoniness, meanness, and superficiality as anyone else in the book.

As the novel opens, Holden stands poised on the cliff separating childhood from adulthood.

Te’o, the Heisman Trophy candidate at the center of an elaborate Internet hoax around his dying imaginary girlfriend, appears to be a modern version of the phonies that Holden sought to escape at his prep school by taking the train to New York.

Though Sally is well read, Holden claims that she is “stupid,” although it is difficult to tell whether this judgment is based in reality or merely in Holden’s ambivalence about being sexually attracted to her.

She is certainly more conventional than Holden in her tastes and manners.

He finds the hypocrisy and ugliness of the world around him almost unbearable, and through his cynicism he tries to protect himself from the pain and disappointment of the adult world.

However, the criticisms that Holden aims at people around him are also aimed at himself.

In fact, as a March 2011 Discovery News report pointed out, it turns out we actually lie more on the Internet than in our offline lives.



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