How Did The Term ‘Catfish’ Come to Mean Internet Imposter?
One time I was watching Catfish: The TV Show on MTV and my boyfriend asked, "Ok, so I know being catfished means someone is pretending to be someone else online, but why?"
Really, it doesn't seem to make sense. I mean, catfish aren't really known for being deceptive or sneaky.
I drew a blank. So, I went to my Google machine.
Nev Schulman is the host of Catfish: The TV Show on MTV, but he was also the subject of a 2010 documentary called, you guessed it, Catfish. He was in an online relationship with a woman named 'Megan' that turned out to actually be Angela, a middle-aged woman with a husband and kids. She went so far as to make dozens of fake Facebook pages just to make 'Megan' look more real. It was a lot, you guys.
Now, even though, I saw the documentary back in the day, I still couldn't remember where 'catfish' came from.
Well, according to Yahoo! Entertainment, "Its moniker originated from a metaphorical anecdote Angela’s husband Vince used to describe her in the doc. He says that when live codfish were shipped in vats from Alaska to China, they were paired with catfish to keep them active and thus maintain the quality of the fish. Angela, then, is his catfish: She makes the lives of those around her interesting. By extension she “catfishes” Nev. (Vince’s history lesson, according to the Boston Globe, is, rather fittingly, a myth itself, circulated by fiction writers Henry Nevinson and Charles Marriott in 1913.)"
I guess I was in too much shock from Angela's crazy story unfolding to remember where the actual name came from.
So, there you have it. The story behind liars online being called 'catfish' turns out to be a fictional story too! It just lies on top of fiction!
Props to Nev and the others involved for taking an unfortunate circumstance and turning it into a long-running series on MTV. Catfish: The TV Show is in its 8th season, and I just can't stop watching.
After seeing all the crazy stories unravel on Catfish: The TV Show, Angela's story from the documentary, doesn't even seem that insane anymore.
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