|Is it just the Bear, or does this look familiar?|
UPDATE 2: BREAKING -- ESAG calls Vatican hoax claim untrue, threatens legal action.
Maureen Mullarkey has written that the Vatican G-Spot Conference is a hoax. You can read the details at her "Studio Matters" blog, in the Bear's opinion always an essential daily blog stop anyway. (Permanently linked in the right-hand column.)
The Bear thinks she may be a little hard on herself. After all, why wouldn't there be a Vatican G-Spot Conference? They rented out space to Porsche, after all. In any case, it was too fat a pony for the Bear to resist going after, too. Overall, the bloggers still understand this pontificate better than the legacy media.
We've earned our "fake but accurate" moment, if anyone recalls the the Bush National Guard hoax.
So, the good news is that the Vatican has not descended to shilling for G-Spot enhancement.
The bad news is that now the Bear will never discover the untapped potential of his G-Spot. Assuming Bears have one.
UPDATE 3: Oakes Spaulding of Mahound's Paradise raises a good point in the comments section. Was it really a hoax? (He has done the best work on this, whereas the Bear originally played it for laughs.)
At one time the European Society of Aesthetic Surgery (ESAG) definitely advertised the venue for its "1st World Congress" as the Patristic Institute. The Patristic Institute, under the curial Congregation of Catholic Education, does generally advertise its conference facilities, so there is nothing inherently improbable about the Institute hosting the conference.
However, all references to the Institute as a venue have been scrubbed from the (quite slick) ESAG website. (The site features discussions of a wide variety of feminine enhancement procedures, so viewer discretion advised.) The venue for the ESAG conference is now listed only as "Rome, Italy."
As preserved at Mahound's Paradise, the original promotional material said:
The social event will take place in the Vatican City, participants will have the chance to visit the entire city of the Vatican and reach places not everybody can. Delegates will have the chance to attend the general audience of Pope Francisco, the Mass and to visit the Vatican gardens.All that's gone now, except for the image of St. Peter's basilica prominently featured on their promotional PDF.
The Bear has inquired of ESAG, but doubts they will feel obligated to reply. [But see.]
Based on the above, the Bear would not call this a hoax, but a rare triumph of common sense at the Vatican, marred by a coverup. If this is the case, this is a far bigger deal than the original conference story because the Patristic Institute, which is supervised by a curial congregation, would be caught in an outright lie. Worse, it would show a willingness to damage the credibility of a respected blogger by saying that she had been gulled, and had reported untrustworthy information.
As Oakes asks, was ESAG's website hacked? Who were the hoaxers? (An odd target, thinks the Bear.) Why would ESAG scrub all references to the Institute without comment? On the other hand, the Bear can imagine all sorts of reasons for ESAG to keep quiet if the Vatican backed out.
The whole thing looks like ESAG secured a respectable venue for their unusual conference which the Vatican later realized was generating the kind of PR it didn't need. ESAG was disinvited. ESAG is now searching for an alternative venue in Rome.
On the other hand, the experienced journalist Maureen Mullarkey is the one who received the letter from the Patristic Institute. For whatever reasons, she accepted the claim of hoax and apologized.
So, what do you think? Do you buy the improbable hoax claim? Or do you think that's a cover story for a lapse in judgment? The Bear admits that much of this is speculation. However, the hoax claim smells fishy. And there's still that image of St. Peter's on their PDF, which perhaps they neglected to alter.
If the Bear's instincts are right, it isn't Maureen Mullarkey that owes an apology. Somebody needs to apologize to her.