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Mephistophelian Site Encourages “Stalking” Celebrities: The Clyde Fitch Report

October 20, 2010

The Brown Tweed Society is pleased to welcome new contributing partner Leonard Jacobs, Editor of The Clyde Fitch Report, who will routinely weigh in with news from the New York theater scene and ongoing arts issues. The following piece ran on that site in August 2010.

I weep not for celebrities. And by that I mean real celebrities — people with actual talent — along with the grotesquely manufactured, over-hyped, pumped-up, pseudo-faux celebrities like those Real Housewivesbitches who aren’t, quite frankly, real housewives and who, in fact, regularly demonstrate that they’re nobody’s bitches at all.

I weep not for celebrities because they wind up with everything everyone wants, beginning with money, unless they manage to piss it all away, in which case I wouldn’t weep for them anyway. They wind up with mass popularity; they get to be the subject of conversation among people they’ll never imagine meeting and who care about them as if they know them intimately. They get fame and Q scores; they get endorsements, assistants and toadying lackeys; they get to force and direct their own cults of personality and enjoy a kowtowing deference that was once reserved for royalty.

Yet many celebrities complain, whine and moan about how very tough life is. Kimberly-Clark, which owns the Kleenex trademark, should only benefit from such free advertising. After all, when you have money, mass popularity, fame, Q scores, endorsements, assistants, toadying lackeys, get to manage your own cult of personality and enjoy a kowtowing deference once reserved for royalty, you have to yield something in return, right? Like, say, privacy, safety, security. How awful for them.

Well, things are set to get infinitely more awful. On Thursday, The Clyde Fitch Report came across a press release from a new company called Top Stalker. Here, dear friends, is the headline and opening graph of the release:

Provocative New Website Lets Fans Virtually ‘Stalk’ Celebrities
‘Fans Love Us, Celebrities Dread Us,’ Says Top Stalker

Celebrities everywhere are having anxiety attacks as Top Stalker (www.topstalker.com) announced today the launch of their new social website that lets anyone upload a photo of their celebrity sighting and instantly share it with millions of other fans around the world. By harnessing the power of a billion camera-phone-enabled fans around the globe, Top Stalker is turning the Paparazzi business on its head with a website that will soon offer more authentic celebrity photos than can be found anywhere else online, in magazines, or on television.

Mmm, can you feel the love tonight? No no, don’t sit there all breathless wondering what additional opportunities for the personal endangerment of other human beings might result from this Snoopville spin class. Not when you can read the second graph of the press release, too:

“It’s no secret that fans everywhere are fascinated with what celebrities are really like in their everyday lives,” said Kate Casey, the Founder of Top Stalker and a self-described celebrity PR debunker. “Top Stalker is the place where you can share your celebrity sightings, post gossip and catch a glimpse of what your favorite celebrity looks like in real-life.”

Sigh. Let’s talk about this.

First, I have always viewed celebrity as a totally Mephistophelian bargain: you want money, mass popularity, fame, Q scores, endorsements, assistants, toadying lackeys, cults of personality and a kind of kowtowing deference? Fine, give up something really, really precious, like your personal privacy and safety. Know that every minute of your life you’re a walking target. Especially when there’s a website out there, not to mention an ADD-inducing iPhone app, whose very name glorifies psychotic pursuit.Ron Galella, eat your heart out. What happened to Princess  Diana was nothing. Check out the “key features” of TopStalker.com:

  • Upload celebrity photos and describe your sighting with names, dates and locations
  • Check out the most popular photos within the community, updated hourly
  • See a real-time stream of photos for your favorite celebrities with dates and maps
  • Share gossip about your favorite celebrities by posting comments on any photo
  • Receive awards for your status and accomplishments as a celebrity “stalker”
  • Share photos and gossip to Facebook, Twitter, and dozens of other social media websites

Read more…

Visit Leonard Jacobs and The Clyde Fitch Report daily for for more posts on arts, theater and politics. Follow the Clyde Fitch Report on Twitter at @clydefitch.

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