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The Elizabeth Holmes Trial Started This Morning So Let's Take A Second To Appreciate Her Extremely Fake Deep Robot Voice

Gilbert Carrasquillo. Getty Images.

This has been a fascination of mine for a while now.  2019 to be exact:

Like every blog I ever look up in the archives, it's completely erased, but the gist of it was: I'm obsessed with the idea someone can be a big enough sociopath that they purposely use a fake deep voice. And I mean sociopath literally — according to that video + approximately 7 minutes of Googling I just did, one of the hallmark traits of sociopathic behavior is intentionally altering your voice, usually deeper, to seem more trustworthy. That's how they get you in the van/convince you to pay $165 million for what is essentially a cardboard box with "BLOOD TEST" written in crayon on the top. 

Me, however— I was much more curious about what her plan was for the remaining like, 70 years of her life. And that's assuming her next fake invention isn't a Fountain of Youth machine or something, in which case, we could be looking at an indeterminate (infinite?) amount of time. So you have to imagine that going in, the plan is to just do this…forever? I don't see any other way outside of faking a car accident concussion, like those people who hit their heads and wake up speaking fluent French — hit your head and wake up with a normal human voice instead of the half-cyborg half-mouth-breather-with-sinusitis mishmash you were working with before. 

So it was either that, or commit and never quit. I think she was going with the latter for a while there, but she just wasn't very good at it — there's the video above, then a whole bunch of anecdotes from people saying she slipped up constantly, "especially when drinking." 

Former co-workers of Holmes told The Dropout, a new podcast about Theranos’s downfall, that Holmes occasionally “fell out of character” and exposed her real, higher voice — particularly after drinking. (Holmes’s family recently denied these claims to TMZ, insisting her voice is naturally low, just like her grandmother’s.)

In the new Theranos HBO documentary, “The Inventor,” Holmes’ baritone is on full, strange display. There is a moment in which the camera person filming Holmes for an earlier interview segment asks her what her favorite Star Wars sound is (?), and she says Yoda. The cameraman then asks her to do Yoda’s voice, and for a moment, I held my breath. She pauses, and then, in the same deep mumble, recites: “Do or do not, there is no try.”  

[Source: The Cut]

(I think the fact that she even drank alcohol, period, is the best evidence for being a psycho that's out there. I can't imagine the anxiety of having my entire life and career centered on a meticiulously curated and maintained presentation of myself, centered around an extremely specific unnatural personality trait…then getting hammered. I can't remember to bring my wallet out — I'm supposed to remember to speak and act like a robot Steve Jobs?)

Justin Sullivan. Getty Images.

Jeff Chiu. Shutterstock Images.

And that's not even counting the stress that comes up when it's time to make plans — what if your friends want to do club night and the venue has a strict dress code that prohibits mock turtlenecks?  

God, living a lie sounds like one big neverending panic attack.

To be fair to Elizabeth…she wasn't wrong in her reasoning: there's a reason that for a while there she had amassed a small fortune that could buy her unlimited supplies of all the anxiety meds on the market. 

“This whole [Holmes] situation, the image manipulation, dressing like Steve Jobs, trying to sound a particular way — it sounds like an awful lot went into facade,” she says. Given the many millions of dollars invested in Holmes’ non-functioning blood box, her effort was … worth it, at least for a time. O’Connor says the research backs the effort behind Holmes’s baritone, too: “Some of the research we’ve worked on shows that when men and women deliberately lower their voices, it’s actually successful,” she says. “They do sound more dominant. They do sound more likely to be someone who’s in a position of power.”

[-Jillian O’Connor, an assistant professor of psychology at Concordia University]

There's just got to be a middle ground between "ditzy blonde" and….whatever this is that she settled on.

I mean the levels of psycopathy we're talking about here.  Which, by the way, is defined as: a personality disorder syndrome characterized by emotional traits such as callousness, lack of remorse, and superficial charm, as well as impulsivity and poor behavioral control.

Trying to think of an example of all these things rolled up neatly into one to make this as brief as possible….oh I know! Being on trial with federal charges for defrauding investors, companies, hospitals, and pharmacies out of their money, and living here in the weeks leading up to it.


@Doratki has an awesome live-tweet thread of the first day of trial if you are as obsessed with following these as I am:

(I don't care how bad you allegedly are, you always have your stans.)