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Not too long ago in Western culture it seemed we had this mostly unwritten rule that when a performer was at work, we didn't rush the stage to be with them or follow them around, unless of course they asked us to. Well, in this Internet age the act of rushing the stage and stalking has become all too commonplace, with the latest victim being American Idol star Adam Lambert; pop culture icon Britney Spears faced the same incident just two weeks before.
And the act of stage rushing isn't limited to popular singers on television; a duo named Matt & Kim from Brooklyn were rushed at the annual multimedia event "South by Southwest" (or SXSW) in March.
Who's next, Susan Boyle?
In Spears' case the stage crasher, 20 year-old Kyle King, was a man who was whisked off and arrested by security after Britney let out a scream. By contrast, Lambert laughed the whole deal off - you can hear him - as authorities carried the shirtless woman (not topless as some reports have it) off and away from Lambert. Matt of Matt & Kim said "I don't know if anyone else woke up this morning feeling like they'd been in a brawl," ... "I woke up with a limp!"
I'm sure there are other examples of rushing the stage, but as it seems to be a form of stalking, I wonder if it's not a kind of new reaction by some to the new fame of others. All of the examples have people between the age of 20 and 30 who are doing the stalking, which means they're part of a generation that gets most of its media online -- they're hyper-engaged in media. Moreover, and now I'm spinning a theory as I've not found a study on this behavior in the Internet age, I wonder if those who stalk performers and media content creators in some way feel close to them because of the Internet, and want to complete the desire to "reach out and touch them."
And I'm not claiming their impulse is always harmless. Just ask American Idol host Paula Abdul, who was stalked by a contestant who eventually killed herself outside Abdul's home. Jamie Foxx fought off his stalker last month (what is it with April and March?) as he was in Philadelphia filming a movie.
Some people want to do harm to the simple video-blogger. I use as one example Melissa Compagnucci, a video-blogger who caught Internet fame after CNN discovered her for the CNN / YouTube Democratic Debate in 2007, and even flew her out to be part of the event itself with Anderson Cooper. But after the CNN spotlight, her vlogging attracted a stranger who took to taking pictures of where she lived at the time, just to let her know that he or she knew where she lived!
In Mel's case she just stopped posting vlogs for a few months, which is what I told her not to do. But now, she's back and is working for Ford Motor Company with the very cool gig of driving around the new Ford Fiesta for six months! I'm very happy she's "in the mix" as they say. But as to why people try to scare Melissa (or for that matter me) or any vlogger I don't know. I do know it's more common than it should be , and at least one vlogger was murdered , Asia McGowan last month, and by a nut case who reportedly "scorned Black women, discussed suicide, and decried atheists" and then killed himself.
And I get the same kind of messages she was complaining about; I just don't answer them.
No, I'm not comparing myself to Adam Lambert or Britney Spears, but Asia McGowan, yes. I am writing about those who feel it's necessary to "hate on" someone just because they dare have a media presence. I personally think the local police should have a protection list for entertainers, journalists, bloggers, and vloggers, so they know who we are and we have someone internally to call where we can report someone before its too late. I fear this is getting way out of hand. We've seen the loss of Chauncey Bailey who was gunned down in the line of journalist duty and Asia McGowan for sharing her view on the issues of the day. I don't want to ask who's next and I believe the same mentality that rushes someone like Adam Lambert or Britney Spears would do this to a journalist or a vlogger.