We’re all stalkers now. We are virtual stalkers, for we can obsessively track the joys and mishaps of celebrities via the 24/7 news cycle.
Fascination with celebrity has been around for a long time, of course. But the advent of movies and television significantly changed the dynamics of fame. Television brought the famous into our homes. We began to develop a sense of intimacy with the people who appeared regularly on screen. It was a faux intimacy and a bogus proximity to the stars, but it was compelling nonetheless. It satisfied the stalker’s need to be close to the object of his or her fascination.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).