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Suicide Artist Fakes Death, Defrauds Patrons
April 23, 2202

NEW YORK CITY--The recent arrest of former suicide artist Bran McGeady has galvanized suspicions in the suicide art world that the genre has become too popular to be effectively monitored for fraud and forgery. The recently celebrated McGeady was discovered by NEA officers during a routine serial-number trace of pawned audio and video equipment in Fairfield Outer-Borough. "Apparently he pretty desperately needed to raise some funds," explains Sergeant McNee Tracey. "It looks like his replacement identity wasn't well-capitalized, so he pawned some of the Endowment equipment he had taken into hiding with him."

Patrons of the McGeady Suicide Cooperative are universally scandalized to discover that McGeady is still alive and that the performance they sponsored was a forgery. "I'm shocked," exclaims Aiken Petral III, one of the key shareholders in the Cooperative. "We dedicated billions of dollars to our sponsorship of Bran, to the parties, the successful finance career we arranged for him, the best education, the extravagant lifestyle...all of the potential we put into that kid, I just can't believe that he wouldn't end it all as we had contractually arranged."

NEA officials are quick to point out that this is the first known case of fraud in the still young industry. "We don't want suicide art to get a bad reputation in the market," explains NEA spokesman Henry Chuff. "There's still lots of protection for those thinking about investing in a suicide artist. SACA [the Suicide Artists' Certification Agency] offers a relatively inexpensive way to insure the authenticity of your artist's work. In fact, McGeady was fully bonded by SACA, guaranteeing nearly 100% reimbursement for shareholders."

The NEA has good reason to want to reassure public confidence in suicide art. In the seventeen short years since Cynthia Fern's legendary performance pioneered the genre, suicide art and suicide artists have generated more revenue attributable to artistic endeavor than the sum of all arts spending for the past 350 years. "The financial success of suicide art is really unprecedented in the art world," explains Columbia University Professor Reginald Coale. "It's something on an industrial scale, and it came not a minute too late for art. Technical advances in media have always altered the form and cultural meaning of art, but no significantly marketable value filled the vacuum left when artisanship and genius were made redundant by digital and nano-reproductive media. It's ironic in a way: the last thing that artists have to offer us is suicide."

Debate about the value of suicide art continues, despite the tremendous economic growth surrounding it. "The popular success of suicide art isn't really much of a mystery," contends Times critic Denise Pruple. "Medical technologies have made death a scarce commodity. Production, information, and transportation technology has given us efficiency on scales unimaginable even sixty years ago. Like the potlatches of old, suicide art announces an abundance so great that, to declare its value, it must be wasted. So, suicide art coops sponsor for these artists lives and careers of extravagant wealth and social status precisely in order to see them wasted. It makes perfect sense."

"I don't care about the money," complains McGeady Cooperative shareholder Vincent Eggs. "I found Bran's suicide very moving. The hush in the theater as he breathed his last breath; that was incredibly intense. To find out now that it was all a lie really hurts. I don't know if they can, but I'm encouraging the prosecution to treat this as a capital offense. That's the only thing that will make what he did all right."

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