Monday, May 20, 2013

On drama queens (and kings)

Years ago (what am I saying? Decades ago) when I was in college, one of my classmates became the center of a whirlwind of media attention after a mysterious stranger entered her house and raped her. She basked in the drama for more than a year, seeking to become a sort of media spokesperson for victims of sexual violence, until her story was exposed as a lie. She had invented the mysterious stranger and the rape as a ploy to seek attention, and the details of the supposed rape were borrowed from the plot of a popular soap opera at the time. A sad and tawdry incident. She finished her degree eventually, but she had a hard time holding her head up on campus after her fiction was exposed.

We've all had drama queens in class, students who create elaborate scenarios either to seek sympathy or to avoid work, but few of them go quite this far. Here's another from today's news:

Johns Creek man charged with faking his kidnapping

A Georgia Gwinnett College student couldn’t bear to tell his parents he was flunking English class — for the second time — so he faked his own kidnapping, according to Johns Creek police.

Now Aftab Aslam, 19, has more to worry about than an ‘F’ in English class.

On Thursday, Aslam turned himself in to police who charged him with a misdemeanor count of false report of a crime, three felony counts of false statements, three felony counts of tampering with evidence and three felony counts of terroristic threats.

(Click here to read the rest.)

Is there a male form for "Drama Queen" and if so, what is it?



  1. I do always try to remind myself that frontal lobe development continues until around age 26.

    So, these idiotic ideas might seem like great decisions at the time.

    1. I think that has something to do with the decision to go through with the plan (though I can also think of some older adults who made similar stupid decisions), but there's a particular temperament/disposition/moral flaw that leads/allows somebody to perpetrate this sort of hoax. Actually, I think the first case Zora describes -- the one from her own college days, which has had some recent parallels in terms of students faking racist or anti-gay harassment -- is worse, since it increases the vulnerability of the real victims of such crimes, by making it easy to call them "hysterical," "reveling in victim status," "attention-seekers," etc., etc. But I suspect the police officers who spent time investigating the fake kidnapping might disagree with me (as might victims of real crimes whose cases had to be put on the back burner until the supposedly urgent case was resolved).

    2. This also explains why we all decided to go to grad school.

  2. "Drama llama" is gender-neutral.

  3. The police knew something was up when the ransom note did not contain any complete sentences.