The Man Behind The Brilliant Media Hoax Of "I, Libertine"
Shepherd inspired fierce loyalty in his listeners who would tune in to listen to him in the middle of the night. These listeners embraced his term for them, "night people," and under his direction they would execute one of the biggest and most bizarre media hoaxes of the 20th century. The hoax was meant as a strike against their opposite: "day people," that is, against phoniness and squareness—all those 50s words—as well as a joke on New York pretension. In our time of memes, virality, and reality blurring, the hoax Shepherd dreamt up seems extremely modern and prescient in its contours—as does the fact that, eventually, it got out of his control.