Submitted for publication by Linda.
There is a print media journalist by the name of Rod Dreher. He is with the Dallas Morning News as an editor and columnist on the issues of religion and spirituality. He is politically and religiously conservative. By the way, I am neither.
He wrote a book published in about 2006 entitled "Crunchy Conservative" which explains how his conservative religious views have shaped his views on preserving the environment, eating locally grown produce, etc. Click here to view Wikipedia article.
There was a group of people who didn't like the ideas that Dreher discussed and they started a blog. They blogged for almost 2 years and made it a point to dissect word for word his columns in the Dallas Morning News and his entries and comments on his blog . Not only did they post on their blog, but they also flooded his blog almost continually with disruptive comments.
Disagreeing with Dreher isn't a big deal. As a newspaper journalist and author, he is used to people disagreeing with him. But a few of the commenters grew more intense. They became familiar with his whereabouts, his home address, and more vociferous in their criticisms of him.
Some of the commenters repeatedly called his employer demanding that he be removed from his position. Some sent creepy emails and left nasty phone messages about his opinions. He started to feel uneasy and probably a little threatened. Keep in mind, Dreher was not a man who had been convicted of or even accused of a crime. He simply had ideas that were different from the persons that blogged against him.
One of the more fervent individuals was repeatedly banned from his website, but came back somehow through other IP addresses. He did this over and over and over and over again.
That same man, who did not even personally know Dreher, wrote to Dreher's catholic parish priest to inquire about his religious affiliation. HUH? A perfect stranger wrote to this man's parish priest to find if he was still a catholic in good standing.
Why? This cyber-citizen claimed that because Dreher was a public figure, the public deserved to know. He made it his mission to get the information and disseminate it to his gossip hungry fellow bloggers.
The public deserved to know about this newspaper journalist's church membership and possible conversion? Says who?
Dreher wrote in his web column about his conversion to the orthodox religion and he explained that he was doing this earlier than he had intended: "But now I am forced to reveal all early. Why? Because a certain malicious reader, a perfect stranger and petty little Catholic Prufrock named Jonathan Carpenter, who is unhealthily preoccupied with me nearly to the point of cyberstalking, troubled himself to write a letter to a priest at my parish asking about my ecclesial affiliation -- and when he received his answer, undertook to publicize it. " Click here to view
I became familiar with the matter because I googled Dreher's name to find out more information about his book. I happened upon his blog and the comment boxes were filled with people dissecting his every word looking for any and all inconsistencies with what he had written or spoken previously.
I couldn't believe it. I don't share this man's political or religious persuasions, but this kind of obsession was almost unbelievable to me. So I researched the controversy. I did not research Dreher's whereabouts, his wife's family, his church address, the number of times he had attended services, etc. I researched the controversy.
By the way, I also did not research the address, employer, family members of the blogger obsessed with Rod Dreher. Truthfully, I couldn't believe the stalker like behavior that these people displayed and how they justified it. And then as inexplicably as they started ... they stopped.
The situation with the Gs is eerily similar. You've got a few people who are OBSESSED with the Gs. They dissect every move they make and every word they say. Perfect strangers assign motive and intent to everything G. And some of these perfect strangers go further. They research personal information about the Gs such as their church, their previous employers, their future activities, etc. They take pictures of the front of their home and they post them like trophies on the internet.
Why? Maybe it is as simple as ... because they can. The internet and public records laws have made a lot of information that had previously been unavailable suddenly available. Screen names and pseudo-names provide the cloak of anonymity and embolden some bloggers in their quest for personal information about public figures. Acquiring this information makes some people feel powerful and important even if only for a moment.
Undoubtedly, this group's obsession with the Gs will cease. Either the show will end or the interest that these bloggers have in the Gs will simply wane. But one has to wonder when? And of course, who will be next.