90 Day Jane: Social experiment, religious outreach, or real thing?

Update: Turns out it was a “personal art piece”, whatever that means:

90DayJane was meant to mirror the tragic figure, Christine Chubbuck. Newscaster Christine Chubbuck committed suicide in 1974 by shooting herself in the head live on air. She was very vocal about her depression to those around her and gave every indication of her exact intentions leading up to the event. Sadly, no one reacted or helped Christine and those left behind could only ask “why”.

Her story both inspired and terrified me because I can truly empathize with her rage and even her isolation. I wondered how Christine’s life and subsequent suicide would play out in our time. Would the internet be yet another place of isolation to her or an escape? If she remained vocal about her intentions would anyone bother asking “why” or even noticing before the fact? Would the reaction (if any) of the public change her intentions?

I thought this mirror might reflect the isolation everyday people feel and the lack of true human connection on the internet.

It is my feeling that the internet is the best and worst example of human interaction. This was painfully proven to me by reading every comment and every email. I believe I owed that to everyone. I know we all saw the dark side of the reactions in the blog comments. There was so much hate, immaturity and apathy. But, I truly wish everyone could see the beauty and honesty in the emails; many people feel like Jane (me). People have been more real and heartfelt than I thought was possible. I owe them a debt of gratitude for showing me the difference between people’s reactions and their true feelings. I understand.

I have to admit that “art pieces” like this always leave me with the realization of why I’m not an artist. I just don’t understand how this is art. Social experiment? Sure, I can see that. But art? OK, whatever.

I am amused at her not realizing how likely something like this was to explode in terms of the attention it would garner. Welcome to the Internet, “Jane.”

Original entry follows:

The atheist blogs are humming with commentary over a blog called 90 Day Jane. Here’s why:

I am going to kill myself in 90 days. What else should i say? This blog is not a cry for help or even to get attention. It’s simply a public record of my last 90 days in existence. I’m not depressed and nothing extremely horrible has lead me to this decision. But, does it really have to? I mean, as an atheist I feel life has no greater purpose. My generation has had no great depression, no great war and our biggest obstacle is beating Halo 3. So, if I feel like saying “game over”, why can’t I?

Well it’s certainly a novel idea for a blog I suppose, but it seems a bit of a pointless exercise for someone who claims they’re not looking for attention and has already made up their mind. Speculation has run the gamut from it being a social experiment of some sort to an effort by some religious group to attract converts. Shnakepup of the blog “Salt on Everything” seems to feel it’s the latter option:

Expect “Jane” to start laying the nihilism and hedonism on thick, all the while spouting off about how pointless it all is. Then, closer to the due date, we’ll see more and more posts featuring Jane reconsidering her godless, wasteful existence , and pondering if maybe there’s something more. Cue religious friend who sets her straight on the lie of atheism, and who tells her all the church has to offer in it’s place. Instead of killing herself on Day 90, we’ll see her changing her mind and deciding to live her life with Jesus! Warm fuzzy music plays and everybody learns a valuable lesson.

And there’s some decent reasons put forward for thinking this is the case, but I have to admit that I haven’t a clue if it’s real or fake myself though I would tend to be skeptical. Still in this day and age with Emo kids offing themselves just so their friends will set up memorial websites about them it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if this turned out to be authentic.

I’m not interested so much in whether it’s a hoax as much as I am in the reaction it’s garnering from the people that visit the site. Comments on the various entries has ranged from the expected “life is too worth living” pleas to abandon the plan to some seriously thoughtful comments on what “Jane” should spend her last 90 days doing along with how to do the deed itself. Combined, of course, with a whole bunch of Internet assholes leaving nasty comments just because the anonymity allows them to be complete douche bags without fear of retribution. I never cease to be amazed at the assholes who always seem to be able to sink lower than the one that posted just before them.

As to ‘90 Day Jane’ herself, well, I don’t know her well enough to have an emotional investment in whether she lives or dies and while I can put forth arguments as to why I’m not interested in suicide at this point in my life those arguments apply mainly to me and aren’t necessarily good ones for anyone else. I think it’d be a waste if she were to go through with it, but I’m not going to sit here and tell her she shouldn’t if that’s what she really wants. We each have to find our own purpose in life even if it is sometimes as simple as seeing what the next day will bring, or even just finishing Halo 3. If it turns out to be a church out-reach kind of thing, well, you know what kind of church it is for engaging in deceptive recruiting efforts. If it’s a social experiment then it’ll be interesting to see what conclusions are drawn from it.

27 thoughts on “90 Day Jane: Social experiment, religious outreach, or real thing?

  1. Authentic atheists don’t commit suicide unless they’re depressed or have some other serious mental illness.  We know that this is your one shot, and death is the end of the line.

    In addition, people who are truly not seeking attention don’t put a blog together to get comment feedback on their suicidal ideation, or drop a sitemeter link on their suicide note.

    I with Shnakepup – my bet is it’s a hoax.

  2. Jane should just kill herself now, right now, like immediately, don’t hesitate.

    People like that aren’t worth giving attention. If they decide to commit suicide they need to grow some nuts and do exactly as the name says, COMMIT. The whole crying for attention is a crock of shit, boo hoo mommy didn’t hug me enough.

    Get over it and kill yourself or figure out you don’t have the nuts to do it and keep living your pathetic life.

  3. The whole idea is just very disturbing to me, i think someone who said I’m going to die in 90 days, so lets do everything i ever dreamed of, would be different, she just seems content to do nothing and then kill herself….i hope someone talks her round in time.

  4. Get over it and kill yourself or figure out you don’t have the nuts to do it and keep living your pathetic life.

    I can’t lie, I was secretly hoping Moloch would comment on this…

    My feelings are that I would be interested in seeing what conclusions are drawn from the whole thing if it is a social experiment. But mostly I think one can say, as Les did, that anonymity breeds assholes. Besides the possibility of it being a study I could care less.

  5. This was the first I had heard of this.  A quick look around the site and my BS meter was hitting about 85% BS.  If this is some kind of religious outreach thing or just a publicity/attention stunt then the internet backlash is going to cause serious whiplash with this one.

    If it is real and she really isn’t depressed or going through some kind of horrible experience (unless she sees life as “the” horrible experience) then I have a hard time seeing why a person would make that decision especially in such a premeditated fashion.  If she can’t articulate what brought her to this decision besides saying oh nothing big has happened to this generation and I’m an atheist… Really!? 

    As an atheist I figure we all have one shot at this life, which is so very precious… even more so when you think that when you die thats it, it’s over no afterlife nothing, nada, nill. 

    I’m curious to see how this whole things unfolds over the next few months, but not curious enough to keep going back to that blog.

  6. lostalaska: Sibling Rock-em Sock-em Robot of Frenetic Loyalty is my Unitarian Jihad name

    Welcome my Sibling.  Did you get that from the new generator or the old one?  (take note Webs, new URL)

    la: I’m curious to see how this whole things unfolds over the next few months, but not curious enough to keep going back to that blog.

    Ditto – it’s refreshing that some whiny emo chick’s emotional turmoil/calculated deception can arouse such blatant apathy in me.

    Moloch: If they decide to commit suicide they need to grow some nuts and do exactly as the name says, COMMIT.

    I don’t often agree with Moloch, but woo hoo, I think he’s right on target with that one. 

    Could it be that 90 Day Jane is just another Generation Y’er who fears commitment?

  7. religious satire , human’s own life is his most valuable property, only religion convienced man to give up for various of cause so he can be rewarded with pleasurable immortality or punished with horrible immortality so even religious ones are being motivated by their egoist needs, it is impossiple for a normal mentaly healthy human to give his life for nothing while he has no pain, depression or a bigger after life ahead
    but these people have to realise that imortality no matter in what condition is a torture by it self , we all would love to live 5000 or 50000 or even 10000000000000 years but never for ever.
    she is either making money out of her blog or she is a devoted Christian (Muslim or jew) exposing the ‘unethical’ scientific and reasonable approach atheists take .

  8. 90 days is plenty of time to change one’s mind.  This is interesting, and at least worth subscribing to the blog feed to see what this is really about.

  9. Silly woman, there may be no depression in America, but in other countries misery is rampant, instead of devoting the rest of her natural life to being dead (If this blog is real) she should spend it fighting for the rights or others, even if they aren’t American. Sure it’s easier and less painful but you don’t get that warm holier-than-thou feeling.

    Oh did ya catch how she says she’ll do it?

  10. there may be no depression in America

    isn’t exactly true , sometimes people with a miserable life style spend so most of their times working their ass to get money so there will be no time to think of how miserable your life is while in rich countries there is allot of time to think of it , you may die of an overdoes of power and money if you didn’t work enough to get them , the best example is Britney spears.
    but hey the good thing about America is having a middle class instead of all being either too poor or too rich, the middle class gets the best deal of all.

  11. Holy cow… Did anyone else, while visiting the blog and clicking some of side bar links to posts suddenly get tons of porn popups?

    I had to ctrl-alt-del end IE because they kept popping up faster than I could close them and I’m at work… 

    As for using IE, I would be using Firefox, which would have prevented any popups, but sadly I’m not supposed to install anything on my work PC.

  12. When you click the video link it asks to download an active x control – don’t – I got a trojan straight after that and my browser was hijacked to look for porn on google

  13. Apparently not enough. But FF with Adblock Plus is a must for everyone. I highly recommend a post written that informs people of the Tech Fu behind the setup.

  14. How many times must we say get a Mac and use Firefox with AdBlock Plus.

    If you read what I said, I can’t because this was on my Work PC on which I’ve been informed I’m not supposed to install anything (though I’m highly thinking about installing FF on a thumb drive and running it from there).

    And yeah, I think it was the post with a video on it.  I didn’t even allow anything, never would on my work PC.

  15. Chief,

    Get yourself a USB flash drive and then go to PortableApps.com and start installing. You can put Firefox Portable on it and use it without ever having to install software on your work machine. Assuming they’ve not locked down the USB ports.

    Julian, no idea why she pretended to be an atheist.

  16. Chief,

    Get yourself a USB flash drive and then go to PortableApps.com and start installing. You can put Firefox Portable on it and use it without ever having to install software on your work machine. Assuming they’ve not locked down the USB ports.

    That’s exactly what I did this morning.  I’ve been putting it off, but after that incident the other day and the near heart attack it gave me, I went ahead and got it done.

  17. In the context of contemplating suicide, there is no reason to profess atheism unless one has an ulterior motive, and thus appears to be pretending atheism.

  18. Julian – what makes you think she was pretending to be an Atheist?

    Well she says:

    I’m not depressed and nothing extremely horrible has lead me to this decision. But, does it really have to? I mean, as an atheist I feel life has no greater purpose.

    That’s generally an argument theists use when they ask us why we don’t kill ourselves. Never heard a sane atheist talk like that.

    The fact that she used that argument indicates she’s a theist.

  19. And for real (this story broke on almost the same day of the Jane stunt):

    German Man Starved Himself to Death in Forest

    He was unemployed, his marriage had collapsed and he had lost touch with his daughter. A 58-year-old German man committed suicide by cycling deep into a forest and starving himself to death in a 24-day ordeal during which he kept a diary of his suffering.

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