By Legba Carrefour
Anyone who hangs around activist scenes for long enough gets used to a certain kind of type: People to avoid. The kind of people who are either wingnuts, oogles, or just kind of awkward and dorky. Missy was one of those people and hung around the fringes of protests in DC. She showed up around 2009 and was one of those people with whom regulars in the activist scene never got all that close: A little too awkward and weird, a lanky lesbian (she once claimed to be “the most lesbian lesbian who ever lesbianed”) who claimed to be a member of an anarcha-feminist collective, so obscure “you probably never heard of us,” and showed up to demos with non-sequitur homemade signs. She faded into the background as just one more weirdo.
Missy was a special kind of weirdo. Last week, it was revealed that she was an undercover cop named Nicole Rizzi, assigned by the Metropolitan Police Department to show up to a smörgåsbord of protests, acting as participant observer and occasional snitch. Rizzi was undone the same way Anthony Weiner was undone–an undying love of all things social media. Activists hanging out in a bar almost accidentally connected Missy to Rizzi’s
Twitter, and a torrent unleashed.
Through posts on Twitter (where her profile simply ran the Bukowski quote “I don’t like jail. They have all the wrong kinds of bars in there”), yFrog, Tumblr, WordPress, LiveJournal, and a half dozen other sites, Rizzi would make references to herself as an undercover cop (probably violating the cardinal rule of being an undercover cop: not telling people you’re an undercover cop) in between more mundane things like posting pictures of herself going to the Hustler Club, complaining about accidentally hitting on straight girls, her problems peeing in front of relatives, and complaints about her job as an undercover cop.
Oh. And fan fiction. Lots and lots of fan fiction.
Rizzi, it turns out, had a third identity, that of Snufftastic (or Snuff for short), a voracious writer of novella length fanfic, covering over a decade of work and probably somewhere in the range of tens of thousands of words. She got her start with X-Files fanfiction back in the days of dial-up, and continued right on through the soap opera Guiding Light and Law & Order: SVU. But her crowning achievement seems to have been a moderate amount of fame as a writer of Rizzoli & Isles lesbian slashfic. Snuff was known enough to warrant an hour long appearance on Slasher Fans Radio.
Rizzoli & Isles is the story of Boston police officer Jane Rizzoli (Angie Harmon) and her partnership/friendship with medical examiner Maura Isles (Sasha Alexander). Rizzoli is a bit of a tomboy and Harmon brings a delicate, low rasp to the role and dresses in whatever seems to be sitting around, while Isles favors an impeccable femme wardrobe, and both are awkward around men, but entirely comfortable with each other. That relationship has launched an entire community of people obsessing over a lesbian subtext between the two and fans, called Rizzles, have spat out a metric fuckton of stories featuring the two hooking up in some way. It’s a dynamic of which the showrunners and actors aren’t unaware and promos regularly play up the angle. The lesbian fandom is so intense that when Angie Harmon asked for fans to think of a male character for her to fall in love with, some in the fan fiction community called her a homophobe.
Snuff clearly identified her life as a gay cop with that of the sort-of-maybe gay cops on TV and found her voice writing fiction that one commenter on a fanfic message board described as basically about Snuff herself. Come On In My Kitchen is probably her best known work, and by her own admission on an hour and a half radio appearance, most controversial. She plays with an alternative universe (AU in the parlance of the fanfic world, itself controversial for its deviation from canon of the original) of Rizzoli & Isles, in which she explores a fairly dark side of domination and submission between the two, as well as giving the pair a somehow miracle baby boy. The writing is from the pack-as-many-adjectives-into-any-given-sentence school of authorship, along with making every single character speak like a narrator. Doggerel or not, there’s reams of the stuff. Come On In My Kitchen, was at 14,000 words and 21 chapters (all vanished at this point. Rizzi has deleted as much of Snuff’s work as possible), and she
wrote other works called Interference, The Courtship of Maura Isles, and Let’s Eff It Out.
If you Google my name hard enough, you can find a chunk of embarrassing posts I made when I was 16 to Sailor Moon fanfiction listservs (you shut your fucking mouth, I was 16-god-damn-years-old and Sailor Jupiter had huge boobs and Tuxedo Mask made for a great cosplay costume and yes, I did cosplay). That humiliation is tempered by the fact that if you Google anyone hard enough, you’ll turn up something along the lines of all caps posts to Craigslist Missed Connections. It’s easy to make fun of Nicole Rizzi’s life as Snuff, but you have to feel bad for her. She clearly had a lot of invested in Snuff, and Snuff effectively committed suicide last week, leaving behind a Google cache treasure trove of painful social media updates
for us to mine for cheap laughs.
Missy was the same thing. At least 4 years of investment in a persona that established personal relationships that could only exist as Missy, suddenly all gone in a puff of smoke and betrayal. It would be nice to say that Missy was an elaborately worn tapestry headed for some inevitable romantic tragedy. But really, Missy was a paper thin fanfic of her own, she unraveled in a mess of plot holes and awkwardness, and she died because of Snuff’s very public life. Snuff told Slasher Fans Radio, “I hope [my older fanfic] is gone by now, but nothing ever dies on the Internet” and it’s the same with Missy. No matter how badly she was written and no matter how hard Rizzi hits the delete button, Missy the Snitch is going to live forever.