Conspiracy theorists say Steven Page is getting payback.
In addition to having his mug shot plastered on national daily front pages, Barenaked Lady Steven Page has become something of a fixation on the Internet lately. Or more accurately, a few bloggers have made his recent tribulations - a drug arrest this month and recent divorce - a certifiable cause extrémiste.
It began, of course, with the early-morning arrest of Page and, later, two female companions - Christine Benedicto and Stephanie Ford - in upstate New York on July 11. A swell of misguided support and even more misguided condemnation followed on the Web, though neither side could ever help clear or convict the Toronto musician.
Here's a quick rundown of two of the most radical opinions:
On the pro side, there's blogger Jason Chesworth and his site, Broadcastthis. A self-confessed "*huge* BNL fan," Chesworth writes that Page may have been set up or, in his words, "whacked." The contention is that the copyright lobby sought to discredit Page for his opposition to Bill C-61, recent Canadian legislation that would put stringent restrictions on sharing music. Accordingly, either the media coverage of Page's arrest or the arrest itself was engineered by these opponents.
It's a paint-by-numbers conspiracy theory, complete with zero evidence and perplexing logic.
But as Internet conspiracies go, it'll pop up on Google searches for years to come and no doubt collect enough page views to get a Wikipedia entry.
And how does this contribute to Page's post-arrest fortunes? Not one iota. As well meaning as it might be, it's a far-fetched story that only serves to undermine Page's worthwhile advocacy work.
Worse, though, is the online ramblings of pencil-?neck blogger Michael Crook. This outspoken Web knob, who on his site trumpets his "explosive views on the military, the Holocaust, rape and other hot topics," seems to be carrying out a personal vendetta against Page and the two women arrested with him.
Crook has dug up an alarming amount of miscellaneous information on the accused, like addresses, past and present places of employment, old university professors, acquaintances, romantic interests.
He dragged out a Flickr photo of Page and Benedicto, offering it as proof that they were having an affair while he was still married (a flimsy accusation for sure, and Benedicto denies the time frame anyway).
If there was ever a case for regulation of the Internet, it has to be somewhere surrounding this unfortunate situation. Page and the others involved are undeserving of such torment, online or otherwise.
Leak of the week
NOW Daily was among the first to hear Lewis Farrell's radio documentary Steal This Bike!, featuring recently arrested bike guy Igor Kenk, last Thursday.