BANGKOK – Staff writers at NotTheNation, whose identities remain undisclosed, were surprised to learn Saturday that at least one of them was actually a recently deceased Australian journalist names Craig Knowles.
The startling revelation came shortly after Saturday’s Wat Klong Toey Nok funeral service for Knowles, who passed away in early October from an unknown complication from illness. Following the cremation ceremony, guests were given copies of a booklet called “Craig’s List,’ featuring selected writings from Knowles’ prolific, multi-decade career as a journalist, traveler, and social observer.
One page of the booklet, a copy of which was obtained by NTN, contained an entire reprinted article titled NGO Worker Regrets Supporting Suu Kyi After Losing Good Burmese Nanny, published in NotTheNation in 2011.
“I remember writing that article quite distinctly,” said the author, an NTN writer. “Imagine my shock to discover that, apparently, I am Craig Knowles. And I am dead.”
According to reports from the funeral and its after-party at Tuba bar, numerous other articles published in NotTheNation were also fondly recalled by Knowles’ friends and associates as “some of his funniest stories,” and typical of his wit which will be sorely missed.
“I guess I’m proud to have written some of Craig’s best work,” said the actual author of the articles, who as of press time, is not dead. “Good for him, I guess.”
The “Craig’s List” booklet was reportedly assembled by several of Craig’s closest friends, including former Nation Multimedia Group employee and best-selling author Andrew Biggs.
“I assumed everyone knew,” said Biggs. “I mean, he was the most likely candidate I could think of, and I know everyone in Bangkok, so it had to be him. Never thought it could be otherwise.”
Several of Knowles’ other friends agreed with Biggs, claiming that Knowles’ involvement in NTN was “a given” within their social circles, reinforced by Knowles’ repeated and adamant denials that he was in any way involved with the news website.
“Craig would always say ‘it’s not me, I swear’ – which is exactly the kind of thing he would say to cover up his great work at NotTheNation,” said friend Phil Cornwel-Smith, apparently unaware that Knowles was telling the truth.
“He was so humble. He never once accepted credit for all those hilarious articles,” he added. “A true satirist.”
The NTN writers whose works have been officially attributed to Knowles spent the remainder of the weekend acclimating themselves to the reality that they were now collectively regarded as a dead Australian journalist they didn’t know.
“I suppose that’s the price of anonymity,” said one writer. “People just create their own reality.”
“Still,” he added,” it feels really weird to be dead. And Australian.”
Others took a more accommodating approach, noting that Craig Knowles was apparently an avid NTN supporter and advocate, if not an actual participant.
“He seemed like a genuinely cool guy, with a good sense of humor,” noted another NTN writer. “I guess there are worse people to be erroneously identified as.”
“And I suppose if we ever get arrested for lese-majeste, we could just blame the dead guy,” he added.
However, the writer of the article reprinted in “Craig’s List” still took issue with the hasty presumptuousness of Knowles’ friends, many of whom are professional journalists.
“As I recall, one of the first people who publicly declared that Craig was behind NotTheNation was Andrew MacGregor Marshall,” he noted, referring to an old Facebook posting in which Marshall, angry with NTN’s satirization of his towering hypocrisy, had named Knowles as NotTheNation.
“I mean, if Andrew Marshall insists something is 100% true, shouldn’t we all know that it’s premature speculation? Come on, people.”