This morning, Pronunciation Book, the ominous, apocalyptic count-downing YouTube channel, hit zero.
It turns out, Pronunciation Book isn't a viral marketing campaign for some kind of Battlestar Galactica franchise, as we'd so recklessly speculated. Instead, as Susan Orlean reported this morning, both Pronunciation Book and horse_ebooks, everyone's favorite nonsense spewing twitter account, have been under the control of two guys promoting an alternate reality game they've created called Bear Sterns Bravo.
An ARG. Argh! I felt emotionally reconciled to the letdown of learning that Pronunciation Book was one more instance of viral marketing, rather than a genuine doomsday warning system. But horse_ebooks, for years, has been the internet mystery that seemed genuinely mysterious. People got tattoos of horse_ebooks tweets. People felt safe to love it as a thing that was genuinely weird, instead of deliberately, artistically weird.
Twitter seems to mostly agree.
I'm quitting the internet. I can't take anymore heartache.— Stefan Becket (@stefanjbecket) September 24, 2013
more evidence that everything on the internet is a fake and some sort of con— Sam Biddle (@samfbiddle) September 24, 2013
.@SUSANORLEAN HOW HOW ARE YOU IN ON THIS TOO— LW (@lindseyweber) September 24, 2013
i need to lie down— Jessica Misener (@jessmisener) September 24, 2013
"I NEED WALL TO WALL COVERAGE ON THIS HORSE_EBOOKS SHIT, TEAM! CAMERAS AT THAT GALLERY, AT BUZZFEED, AND AT GAWKER NOW! WE NEED TO GO LIVE"— Abraham Riesman (@abrahamjoseph) September 24, 2013
horse_ebooks used to mean something— HuffPostPunk (@pilotbacon) September 24, 2013
give up— Laura June (@laura_june) September 24, 2013
WE WERE ALL CATFISHED BY A HORSE— Danger Guerrero (@DangerGuerrero) September 24, 2013
UNFOLLOW @Horse_ebooks— Brian Ries (@moneyries) September 24, 2013
One last thing. Over at the Daily Dot, Gaby Dunn, who's been on the Pronunciation Book part of the story forever, talks about how she found Bakkila and Bender a few months ago, and posits that Pronunciation Book may've been a viral marketing campaign that only became "art" after the client pulled out.
After a few months of pitching the project around, the two apparently landed a $40,000 deal to tie the countdown concept to a viral marketing campaign.
On the phone, however, the source sounded distraught. He cried. He explained that the company backed out, deciding that Pronunciation Book wasn’t getting enough views to merit the release of their trailer. Even worse, the source claimed there was no “kill fee” in the contract, meaning the two will not be reimbursed for their efforts, since the project was cancelled before its completion.
The change left the duo scrambling to complete their narrative without its intended ending. Frazzled, the source told me they intended to create a short film in one weekend in a desperate attempt to wrap up Pronunciation Book’s story.
In summation, there is no wonder in the world beyond our capacity to creatively deceive each other. Never love anything you meet on the internet again.