If there is one thing I enjoy about this industry, it is the mass love and support that can be found if only one looks hard enough (Or, if you’re just plain lucky enough, whichever comes first). But if there is one thing I despise, it’s the creepy creeper stalking (All haters, naysayers and all those others that cause stagnation, please have a seat. Thank you) [<–I don’t even know if that really fits here, I’ve just always wanted to say it]. Having had an impromptu roundtable discussion recently about this topic with a few colleagues, we were quite shocked to learn we have all experienced what we call the OMG I’M TOTALLY OBSESSED crazy stalkers (Though, in all fairness, I think we’ve all been there and done that. I’ve waited at many a stage door, and written I don’t know how many fan letters…), silent (and not so silent) creepers, and just outright nut jobs. I now truly understand why some public figures/celebrities just let it all out on the general public from time to time, because more often than not, they probably deserve it. And I commend them for it (The celebrities for going off, not the fans for being jerks. OK just wanted to make sure we’re all on the same page). Recently, while scrolling through Twitter, I came upon a conversation between a fan and a rather well known actress. The fan actually had the nerve to take it upon herself to tell said actress to, “Mind your Ps’ & Q’s whilst tweeting–note your tone–don’t be defensive.” After I picked myself up off the floor from laughing (Really? Who do you think you are telling somehow how they should TWEET?!), I began to think about the deeper issue at play here. (OK so that posted example might not be the best one, but you know what I mean. I see instances like that all the time on social media sites). Most of us have taken out restraining orders (or should) at one time or another. Some have completely deleted all forms of social media. And others have decided to go toe to toe with the wrongdoers (YIKES!). While none of these options could be named as the best road to take, one thing we did agree on (besides that it needs to be stopped) was we absolutely have to make a movie/web-series/play about the situation (I know, that’s not what you thought I was going to say was it?). What better way to deal with what could be seen as a rather intimidating situation than to make fun of it? (My thoughts exactly)
To go back to my scholarly roots for just a second, this reminds me of a book by Judith Mayne titled Cinema & Spectatorship. Part of the text discusses “star-gazing” and the notion of the relationship between the audience (the voyeur) and the subjects (the images/persons on screen). To sum it up as best (and succinctly) as I can without writing a 5,000 page dissertation is, the text provides a fascinating discussion on how viewers perceive and relate to (or not) the representations of the personas they see before them. For example, if one were “obsessed” with the actress Elizabeth Taylor, is that person truly obsessed with THE Elizabeth Taylor, the whole (real) person? Or, is it the (studio) constructed image they believe to be THE Elizabeth Taylor that enthralls them? Are you still with me? Good. I dropped all this incoherent film babble to say, these people (I don’t know why I keep calling them THESE PEOPLE, like they are some kind of alien entity or something…), are so deep into their collective obsession(s), that they don’t even realize who or what they are truly pining after (or the fact that they just look really bloody crazy).
That’s enough film theory for one post, back to the original thread. While during our meeting we may have found our collective tales of terror simultaneously ridiculous and shamefully hilarious, in reality, it’s not an especially funny subject. What is it that makes people feel they have a right to pry and hound and stalk? (Who in the world has this much time to waste?! Perhaps you should be out doing something…You know, like being a good citizen and contributing something to the world besides your un-medicated insanity. Take up a hobby. Knit a sweater. Write a novel. Lift weights. I don’t know, anything. Just be constructive) A better question might be, what is it about cyber-communities and relationships that makes one obsessed about a person, place or thing to the point of madness? Bullying? Violence? I’ve seen people creep on the children of the celebrities they like in order to get closer to them. Screenshot, Photoshop and create actual files and folders and blogs dedicated to obsession and love or hate for someone/something. People that are old enough to know better engaging in simple minded disgusting behavior. They literally create what I like to call “stalking networks” to make sure they can “randomly show up” wherever said celeb/public figure/random person might be (I’ve told plenty of people they should think about body guards…I’m just saying…). Being in Public Relations, this is something I see and deal with often. While crisis management is indeed one of our specialties, stalkers are an entity (and a rather nasty little thing) all to themselves. I should make that a service, “Creeper Obliteration” (for lack of a better phrase).
I think what worries/saddens me most (besides the threat to privacy and safety!) is they are so bloody cunning! They’re like super-ninja extra stealth Hannibal Lecter weirdos (again, total lack of a better word…Maybe). And the innocent people they silently (but, mostly they aren’t so silent) harass are completely unsuspecting and rather trusting. I don’t like sneaky insincere people. I don’t do liars. I hate trickery. While social media was seemingly created to bring us together, it also works to tear us apart (Did that sound as deep as I intended?). It is now so easy to find out the who what when where how and why’s about a person without ever leaving the comfort of our own homes. Gone are the days when stalkers sat on your front porch (Mostly…Mostly these days are gone, but not entirely); now they simply look you up and your whole life-story is at their disposal. That’s a sobering thought. So you creepy creeper stalkers, those of us that have been done wrong by you are TOTALLY calling you out on your bullshiggty (We see the tracking services on all our sites–We see the same ISP addresses from the same areas in alarming numbers all the time. So while you catch yourself trying to be sneaky, believe me, we can see you). <–I don’t even know why that sounds so dark, but, there you go.
Love (and happiness and light and peace in the New Year!)
Everyone here at BCM