The Culture

“Cormac McCarthy” Twitter Account Debunked in Record Time

But “@cormaccmccarthy” still has more than 3,200 followers.

To go by Kinky Friedman’s formulation, Cormac McCarthy must be a real cowboy, because Cormac McCarthy doesn’t tweet. But for the better part of Monday, the Twitterverse was wondering (and hoping) otherwise.

An account belonging to “@CormacCMcCarthy” came to life at 4:29 a.m. on Monday morning with an “@” message to fellow author Margaret Atwood. Atwood, who would later explain that it took three months to get her own Twitter acount “verified,” took it at face value:

Hey, stranger things have happened. Like, say, Margaret Atwood writing 7,464 tweets (she’s actually quite eloquent about its value). Or Cormac McCarthy penning an original screenplay.

On my own Twitter, I suggested to magazine writer Jason Fagone that the odds of it actually being McCarthy was about the same as the odds of a Ron Paul presidency. He replied, “if a famous recluse really did join Twitter, he would spend the first couple of weeks just f-cking with people though, right?”

“McCarthy” had his own take on the subject, and with a pretty decent turn of phrase to boot: “How do I verify myself? Is this a must? Let the doubters doubt and walk past. I prefer that.”

The Huffington Post played it straight but also hedged their bets, with a story headlined, “Cormac McCarthy apparently joins Twitter, Gets Abuse.” HuffPo recounted McCarthy’s fame for still using a typewriter, which turned out to be a salient detail when publishing journalist Sarah Weinman got the scoop, via a tweet from one of McCarthy’s publishers:

To be fair, the tweets were coming from an Android mobile phone not a computer, but even that seems something of a stretch. For one thing, have you ever tried to get a 3G signal in the mountains of New Mexico? Impossible.

Jason Boog of Galley Cat helped spread the word from there, prompting “McCarthy” to dig in and stand his ground (but with a peevishness that clearly says “imposter”):

Larry McMurtry: Perhaps it’s your time?