Celebrity Stalking for Fun and Profit

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by: Nancy Baym

File under Fun But Creepy Panopticon Effects:

I know we all try to be sophisticated and cool and pretend we are not impressed by mere celebrities when they stroll by us as we go about our daily business, but truth be told, you get just a little giddy, don’t you? Even if you’re not a fan?

I was shopping on Christmas eve and saw both Jerry Seinfeld and Mariah Carey (no, no, not together). Unlike all my friends, I only know the topics of a few episodes of Seinfeld and, unlike most of America, I don’t pay much attention to the trials and tribulations of Mariah Carey (though I worked in a record store when her debut record came out and remember the splash she made very well). But damned if I didn’t mention having seen them to everyone I talked to for weeks and if I wasn’t somehow strangely proud to have seen two such A-list celebrities.

So along comes a website to let people share these brushes with greatness. Oh how happy for those lucky fans. Except, wait a minute, don’t fans sometimes do stuff like, you know, murder their idols? Is letting everyone know where they are each and every day really such a good idea? George Clooney doesn’t think so and has issued this exhortation to fans:

There is a simple way to render these guys useless. Flood their Web site with bogus sightings. Get your clients to get 10 friends to text in fake sightings of any number of stars. A couple hundred conflicting sightings and this Web site is worthless. No need to try to create new laws to restrict free speech. Just make them useless. That’s the fun of it. And then sit back and enjoy the ride. Thanks, George.

Well, apparently his fans listened, except for one little thing, they only seem to have sent in fake George sightings (which are very funny to read through). The site is making the most of it, not just by collecting and displaying these, but by selling a limited edition “George Clooney Stalked Me” t-shirt.

Does this site go too far? Probably, but I can certainly understand the desire for a site where people can say “omigod I just saw [celebrity name here] and he looked totally hot!” or “I saw so and so at the ATM machine and she has really skinny legs!”

Either way, I think Clooney’s got the right strategy for fighting back, leave the courts out of it and turn their own tools against them.

Many thanks to Brenna for the tip.

Original Post: http://www.onlinefandom.com/archives/celebrity-stalking-for-fun-and-profit/