Tom MacMaster initially offered a "non-apology" for pretending to be a Syrian lesbian blogger named Amina Arraf. In an interview yesterday, he seemed a little more contrite, but still had some weird things to say about why he decided to play a woman online.
MacMaster told the Guardian,
I regret that a lot of people feel that I led them on. I regret that ... a number of people are seeing my hoax as distracting from real news, real stories about Syria and real concerns of real, actual, on-the-ground bloggers, where people will doubt their veracity.
At least he's starting to understand where he went wrong. However, he also says, "What I don't regret is the fact that I did hopefully bring a good bit of attention to real human rights abuses in Syria, the real situation that real people are facing, even if through a fictional voice. To a large extent it's almost as though I were writing a novel." Uh, so write a novel? As we mentioned last week, MacMaster's ruse may indeed have focused more attention on Syria. But it's increasingly clear that the kind of attention he courted may be harmful — even he admitted that Syrian authorities might use his blog to claim that all opposition to their regime was fake.
And then there's the matter of appropriating female gender, lesbian sexuality, and Syrian identity essentially so people would think he was cool. Above, MacMaster explains that he decided to pose as a lesbian because he "liked the challenge." He also says he decided to be female so that people would be "polite" to him. Maybe MacMaster needs to spend more time as a woman on the Internet — he clearly doesn't know what it's like.