It's hard to believe the Observer story about Kari Ferrell, aka The Hipster Grifter, only broke two days ago. Since then, there have been Kari sightings in the hipster enclaves of Brooklyn and Philly, apology emails sent by Kari to Gawker and to people sympathetic to her sociopathic plight, self-consciously witty accounts of close encounters with Kari--"The lights went down and, almost instantly, her clammy hand made way for the Croatian Coast. Yes, right there, in the middle of a crowded theatre"--coming every which way out of the woodwork, to the point where one has to wonder if the post-grift grift is making up a story that begins with, "I knew Kari dot dot dot," an extradition warrant for her arrest, and, of course...authentic Hipster Grifter merch!
In other words, Kari is still grifting us. Instead of stealing our money and our iPhones, she's stealing our attention. But why? What makes this chick so fascinating? And isn't that the key to understanding what kept her jig going for years and across several state lines when exposure was only a Google search away?
The most ludicrous theory attempting to explain why Kari managed to scam so many different people for so long despite the glaring inconsistencies in her money/cancer/psychotic ex/employment lies attributes her success to her being Asian (Korean, to be exact). While Asians are generally stereotyped as trustworthy (the fraud stories of Kari, Danny Pang, and those Chinese students buying their diplomas in France, all of which surfaced this week, may put a dint in that one, however), and some hipsters do have raging Asian fetishes, this little narrative convenience is completely fatuous. We've seen Asian fetishes rot many things--most notably a man's appeal--but common sense and a healthy dose of skepticism across the board? Continually?
As Gawker's already pointed out, Kari got away with her crimes because of her charm. She gave good email. (Her email signature? "Apologies for brevity and any blunders in spelling; this was sent from a fucking iPhone." Cute cute cute.) She had an adorable haircut. She knew how to use the word "bloviate," and she probably had the "right" record collection, as in "correct," "current," and "cool." More importantly, she used sex to get what she wanted. She made it known that she liked to give "handjobs with her mouth" and to "throw (a guy's) proverbial hot dog down her hallway." Maybe her being Asian sweetened that deal with her young, male victims (read: eager participants in said-sex), but it didn't seal it. The deal was already closed at that point.
Closed on a handjob instead of a handshake, most likely.