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Manti Te’o and Ronaiah Tuiasosopo: The movie

No doubt the strange affair of Notre Dame star linebacker Manti Te’o and his imaginary dead girlfriend will provide fodder for a movie somewhere down the line, whether cheesy and lesson-oriented, sleazy and exploitative or arty and sensitive (or perhaps all three at once). But with the recent confirmation that Te’o’s acquaintance Ronaiah Tuiasosopo created and maintained the female persona of Lennay Kekua because he was "deeply, romantically in love" with the studly football hero, it came to me that this story already is a movie.

Various commentators have already pointed out the similarities between the Te’o affair and other information-age scams, from the film-turned-TV show-turned-verb “Catfish” to the story of JT LeRoy, a purported transgender teen genius from Appalachia who turned out to be an adult female San Francisco-based writer named Laura Albert. And it’s not as if Tuiasosopo was the first man in history to pose as a woman in order to seduce another man – or, on a more theoretical level, to blur the boundaries of sexual orientation. Just looking at recent culture, you have “M. Butterfly” and “The Crying Game,” not to mention the profusion of transgender or “shemale” pornography, which deliberately confuses heterosexual and homosexual desire and is primarily consumed by nominally straight men.

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