This post is about me thinking back to when Scott and Tessa revved up shamming, lying and propaganda to industry-level standards. In 2009-2010, it was more than a sham. It literally was an industry.
One of the things I'm curious about is Steve Milton, the author of Our Journey From Childhood Dream to Gold.
Did they lie to him? Did they exploit and manipulate a professional author, tell him a load of crap, allow him to advocate for their version of their story, pretend to walk down memory lane - oh the shins, oh the rift, oh the platonic-ness of it all, oh me and mommy who moved to be with me in Michigan where I wasn't even living* - did they sell him a whole bunch of lies and bullshit stories aimed at bolstering the lie that Scott and Tessa aren't and never have been together, allow him to put his name to those lies? Did Tessa's "big eyes fill with tears" as she told her fabrications? Did Scott's mouth set into a line when he remembered the period of not speaking?
Did they live the part, live the lies, so to sell them to Milton?
Was he their dupe, IOW? There was an entire segment of OJFCDG written by Milton summing up the eternal platonic nature of Scott and Tessa's relationship, how aside from the innocent hand-holding of early childhood, their relationship has never been anything other than the rarest form of platonic intimacy.
That's the opposite of the truth.
Or was Milton just all "yeah Canada!" and figured he was being patriotic if he helped Canada's rock star/gold medal heroes protect themselves from their smothering public?
I kind of hope it's the latter because the former - that takes fucking gall. Almost Madoff-level gall. They wouldn't have ripped him off financially but they would have made him a bit of a joke and a dupe, and helped damage his credibility. A man more than twice their age with a professional reputation to maintain, but, you know, it's them. It's Scott and Tessa.
Then everyone wonders about Roots. All that hoopla. Scott and Tessa telling us that from the moment of birth they'd been swaddled in Roots diapers and onesies, they'd skated in Roots warm-ups, packed their school books in Roots totes while daydreaming of the day they'd win the Olympics and get the best part of the Olympics - the Roots swag, just like David Pelletier talked about it. Roots was the reason they'd become figure skaters. Roots got them up at dawn to practice. Roots was how they'd survived the years training in Michigan because it reminded them of home, which was Canada, where Roots was founded.
Before we knew it, Scott was back wearing lululemon while offloading piles of Roots hand-me-downs and leftover swag at his most recent fake Xmas with Jessica & Co. Jessica shows up at the Liberty competition the following summer sporting the same Right to Play hoodie that had been Tessa's uniform the year before prior to Tessa also ditching Roots. One minute Scott and Tessa and Roots were agreeing to a four year commitment, the next it was "never mind."
Around the time of the Roots lovefest, the media was having a little fun with Scott and Tessa. For example, one article led with "Scott Moir has cut the cord." Did that journalist know what was up with Scott and Tessa? I think so. I think plenty did.
The Roots founders themselves had announced that they were in a four year "engagement" with Scott and Tessa. Not "agreement" "partnership" or "deal."
Everybody was having a little fun. It was like people were expecting something to happen next.
Then nothing did. Roots went away. It maintained and started relationships with a bunch of other Canadian figure skaters, but not Scott and Tessa.
Was Roots expecting - had they been led to believe - that Scott and Tessa would reveal the truth of their relationship? I think so - certainly this was something a considerable number of people familiar with Scott and Tessa anticipated also.
I'll say what I think - I think Roots figured there would be a charming reveal that their new athletic partners were actually a family with each other - a real one, not a platonic, of-the-soul, blah blah bullshit one. I think Scott and Tessa told them that's where they were headed, and soon.
But Scott and Tessa veered left after leading people to believe they were going right. Or actually they didn't veer at all. They stayed where they were and dug a hole.
Unlike, say, Skate Canada, I think Roots didn't have the stomach to spend four years promoting a pair of figure skaters as a couple of adorably platonic Canadian role models when they were actually a married couple with a child who were lying their asses off to, among others, Roots' market, so both parties said "never mind" and got an annulment. I think Scott and Tessa had different plans - or pretended to - when they got with Roots, but then they bailed.*
They can always find the lie, those two. They want to lie. That's their security blanket. That's what the bubble is made of.
On the propaganda end, there was the fact that the entertainment and sports media crawled into bed with Scott and Tessa and promoted this lie: The entire fandom insists they're together, mistakenly believes it - and nothing Scott and Tessa say can deter this conviction. It has to be beaten like a gong, this message, otherwise fans will not believe it.
Of course nobody asked why what fans believed or didn't believe about their romantic status was so freaking important. Small wonder - that's where everything unravels. Let's not go near it.
Scott and Tessa insisted this topic be raised at every interview so they could smile sheepishly, duck their heads and jiggle their feet, all modest and embarrassed.
Meanwhile back in the reality-based fandom environment, Scott and Tessa's word was gospel, Jessica Dube and Scott were a darling couple, and fans who expressed even the wish that Scott and Tessa would get together some day, at the same time made fun of themselves for having that wish.
Of course, as in all fandoms, there was an angry side to all of this, as anyone who questioned whether Scott and Tessa's word WAS gospel (an extremely small and random number of people quickly and easily bullied into silence) got policed by a vigilant troop of fan board Nazis who, if they couldn't speechify the rogue fans into shutting up, would promptly declare themselves an authority and announce themselves a) associates of the Moirs and b) witnesses to Scott and Jessica kissing on the lips.
They were lying, but that's the way it goes. Some fans were so upset at the idea that OTHER fans suspected Scott and Tessa were lying, that they told lies trying to shut those fans up.
There was nothing more canon in the Scott and Tessa fandom than the conviction that Scott and Jessica were real. Apostates got taken to the woodshed. Scott and Tessa are platonic and Jessica and Scott are real was Ground Zero. That's how it still is.
This was inconvenient to Scott and Tessa's purposes so they continued to set up, bait and sting fans who already believed them. It was hot and cold running nasty, as usual. Scott's new "fan facebook" was used repeatedly. Scott exploited fans hungry for any kind of outreach or acknowledgement - shit it was HIS fucking fan facebook that HE set up - and he stung them like they'd forced the freaking facebook on him. After he got called out on his stings he took his toys and didn't interact at all. Hell, if he can't fuck people over he doesn't want to talk to them. Then he shut the thing down.
These fans were doing nothing but believing him and yelling at anyone who questioned him and he STILL wouldn't stop trying to run some type of petty, bitchy sting on that pathetic excuse for a fan page. He was still trying to set up and lead on people who did nothing but believe him.
Why? Why did he try to bait them? What's with the shit about 'Any suggestions for a profile picture' or 'thanks for the birthday wishes I'm saying thanks for the first time in my entire facebook life cause I'm intending to set you up to get whacked in the face with Jessica in Muskoka on my "birthday"".
There's no "why" I think, and fans have nothing to do with it. Fans are just a pretext. Scott and Tessa are talking to themselves and have been for a long time. There's no reality principle connected with this anymore. What there was of one was always tenuous. They don't let that stop them, however. Absent a convenient reality; they'll just make one up and aim everything at that.
If fans' attention wandered, Scott and Tessa would hint and maybe have a set of photos leaked (such as the two of them slow dancing right before May break 2010) just to get fans worked up enough to feel the Jessica/Scott dolphin vacation facebook spam like a slap with a wet sock. Scott and Tessa want fans to feel disappointed.They don't want fans accepting the platonic status. They want fans to feel disappointed - and even confused and hurt. And then of course, to feel stupid for feeling that way about a couple of people they don't even know. That must prove something to Scott and Tessa about fans - how pathetic they are, perhaps. Or maybe it proves to Scott and Tessa that they're a big deal. Maybe when fans settle down they find it threatening. So they start working fans, all to get them to the disappointed, foolish-feeling, letdown finale'.
It's funny if you're them!
Lovely, lovely people.
Here's an example of how it actually was on the web from the Olympics on:
Here is Scott changing his facebook status from "in a relationship" to "in a relationship with Jessica Dube" before he'd even washed the Olympic village celebration beer stains out of his Olympic Hockey Team jersey. This was when his facebook and Jessica's started robo-sweeping every fan that asked into their facebooks as friends.
Look at the weeping and wailing in the comments from fans and friends up there!
"About time you put that up!"
"That is good news"
"You are too cute."
A bunch of gloating is there too, satisfaction that those vile, evil people who dared to suspect the horrible, hateful, disgusting truth that Scott and Tessa were a normal romantic couple in a real relationship - would now have their lies CRUSHED by the man himself. Of course this was about maybe six people on the entire web who occasionally expressed these thoughts, but they needed to be TOLD!
(I still want the ferocity and anger about this explained some day. This was long before the blog, yet people were PISSED if it was suggested they were together. Even shippers got pissed!)
I'm organizing and will later post some of the typical online conversations of the day - from goldenskate.com to fan boards to television show boards, all with the same point:
"He's dating Jessica Dube."
Scott and Tessa could have had sex on camera and the way they were running things unless they admitted it the fandom would pretend it wasn't actually sex and he was still with some other girl.
This never really had anything to do with fans.
*Figure slating at elite level is a punishingly expensive sport. How many Skate Canada skaters could afford to ditch a partnership with Roots? It would elevate their profile, mainstream their names and accomplishments, help set them up for more corporate partnerships after retirement. This just goes to point out that much of what Scott and Tessa do isn't a necessity, it's a luxury. Lying is an option they enjoy because they don't need to nurture relationships the same way figure skaters whose financial status is more precarious would. Lying is one of their indulgences afforded to them by their money. I'm sure there must be other privacy-loving, disclosure averse, self-conscious, hothouse flower control-freak skaters out there who just have to pull on their big girl and boy pants and get on with adulthood because survival in the adult world requires it. Postponing participation in the adult world is another luxury Scott and Tessa enjoy, and going by some of the antics of their friends and family, they come by that postponement naturally. There are people in their circle an entire generation older who have yet to embrace the idea of maturity and responsibility.
Scott and Tessa aren't Canadian rock stars beseiged by passionate fans. They're privileged, and this is what they do with their privilege.
*Tessa recently shared that she and Scott are only permitted to be in the USA about half the year (180 days I think she said). Let's just set aside the question that raises about - do they live in Michigan - or just across the border and commute - and look at Kate "moving to Michigan."