Why Did Twitter Verify an Obvious Cormac McCarthy Parody Account?

People really want to believe the 88-year-old author spends his time making jokes online about his publicist.

Aug 2 2021, 6:15pm

Cormac McCarthy is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and the author of influential books like The Road, Blood Meridian or The Evening Redness in the West, and No Country for Old Men. But according to Twitter as recently as this morning, the 88-year-old New Mexico resident is also a shitposter, writing tweets at @CormacMcCrthy like, “What has happened to my country in the last four years that caused McMuffins to cost four dollars now.” Anyone familiar with McCarthy’s profound, devastating prose will realize this is an obvious parody, although over 121,000 people favorited a recent post from the account. To make matters worse, Twitter, bizarrely, verified the page over the weekend.

An error occurred while retrieving the Tweet. It might have been deleted.

It’s not McCarthy. While you might have seen a viral tweet over the weekend purportedly from the guy who wrote The Border Trilogy that said, “My publicist is on my case about my infrequent use of this infernal website. He says engagement is down and so are metrics and something something who cares. There. I wrote a tweet. Are you happy now Terry,” it is indeed a joke. McCarthy doesn’t even have a publicist named Terry. “I can confirm that this is definitely not a genuine Cormac McCarthy account,” said a representative for McCarthy’s literary agent in a statement to VICE. “Fake account, cheers,” said a publicist from Knopf, McCarthy’s publisher. As of press time, Twitter had taken away @CormacMcCrthy’s blue checkmark, but how the hell did a joke account get verified?  

Twitter owned up to the mistake in a statement. “The account referenced was verified by mistake, and that has since been reversed,” a spokesperson said. “The account will also be required to adhere to Twitter’s parody, newsfeed, commentary, and fan account policy.” According to Twitter’s policies on parody and fan accounts, this means @CormacMcCrthy will have to change its bio and account name to signal that it’s a parody. The spokesperson did not elaborate on how or why the account was verified in the first place. 

An error occurred while retrieving the Tweet. It might have been deleted.

Strangely, this is not the first time Twitter has been duped by a fake Cormac McCarthy account. In 2012, a 42-year-old Scottish man named Michael Crossan started tweeting as @CormacCMarthy, which fooled Margaret Atwood and even Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey, who warmly welcomed the account to the social media platform. After McCarthy’s publisher revealed that McCarthy was not responsible and didn’t even own a computer, Twitter suspended the account. “Cormac has a renowned reclusive nature," said Crossan of his fake account in an interview with The Atlantic. “I think people wished it real and went with the wish.”  Perhaps he's right and this latest parody account suggests even Twitter itself wanted to believe the geriatric author spends his time making jokes online about his publicist.

When McCarthy wrote in The Road, “There is no God and we are his prophets,” he definitely wasn’t thinking about Twitter. But the proliferation of internet bullshit and Twitter itself falling for it is proof that the quote applies to that website and the people who use it. 


Tagged:

Twitter, The Road, cormac mccarthy, blood meridian, debunked, parody accounts, Twitter Verification

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