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What If It Wasn’t Ryan Gosling?

Actor Ryan Gosling.
Actor/superhero Ryan Gosling? Photo: Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images, iStockphoto

As much as we would like to believe that actor Ryan Gosling went out of his way to spare the life of a Normal two nights ago, and that we may in fact be witnessing the creation of a new superhero (“The Gosling,” who was bitten by a young goose and now uses his special goose powers to sense when people are in danger?), we have to wonder whether the person who saved Laurie Penny from becoming road kill was actually, you know, Ryan Gosling.

We’re not suggesting that Penny made the whole thing up — even though the story has given her wider name recognition than she could have ever dreamed — just that it’s possible she was mistaken. We’ve tried multiple times to get Gosling’s PR representatives at Slate PR to confirm that this incident happened, and they’ve declined. Katrina Trinko, a reporter for the National Review, tweeted that Gosling’s agency, Artist Management, was only willing to confirm to her that Gosling was indeed in New York City on Tuesday.

So for now, the entire story is based solely on Penny’s account, and that of an anonymous bystander who Penny says declared her a “lucky bitch.” That’s hardly concrete evidence; eyewitnesses are famously unreliable. Remember the old lady in My Cousin Vinny? One second she was all, “Yeah, those two kids are murderers,” and the next second, she couldn’t even see how many fingers Joe Pesci was holding up. (There are also real life examples of this phenomenon, probably.)

It’s not uncommon to spot celebrities around Manhattan, but it’s also not uncommon to spot people who look like celebrities who are just regular, boring people. You might think you saw President Obama, but it was actually just the Bronx’s Louis Ortiz. You might tell friends you passed by Zooey Deschanel at the Brooklyn Flea, but it was actually one of the other 90,000 Brooklyn girls who look exactly like Zooey Deschanel. Gosling isn’t exactly the most unique looking person out there, and in a city of 8 million people, there are probably some white, muscular dudes that resemble him and also don’t want to see someone get crushed by a taxi. 

We understand why Gosling might not want to appear to be seeking credit for his act of everyday common decency, particularly if he really is a superhero. But the world is collectively swooning over Gosling right now, and it deserves to know whether said swooning is warranted. If it wasn’t you, Gosling, just tell us. We can handle it, we’ll be okay. Not immediately, maybe not for a few weeks, but eventually.