Flutterby™! : Crowdsourcing Stalking

Next unread comment / Catchup all unread comments User Account Info | Logout | XML/Pilot/etc versions | Long version (with comments) | Weblog archives | Site Map | | Browse Topics

Crowdsourcing Stalking

2012-04-25 15:52:20.415396+00 by petronius 6 comments

A very odd story from Wired Magazine: The stalking of Dan Lee. Lee is a Korean hiphop artist, who became very popular there and was starting to get a following in North America. Then an internet vendetta arose, with thousands claiming that his degrees from Stanford were faked, and that he was a draft dodger. When Stanford confirmed that he was a graduate, Korean bloggers claimed that some other Dan Lee actually graduated, and they began finding other people in the US named Dan lee and demanding they confess. The upshot is that Lee had his career destroyed and his life threatened, sending him into isolation.

The strange part of this story (among many strange parts) is that the impetus behind the campaign is coming from two main sources, Lee's cousin who apparently is furious that Dan was a slacker in high school and now is more successful; and a Korean-American blogger who lives in Chicago who also is convinced that Lee came by his acclaim unfairly. Its like the Hatfield/McCoy feud conducted by Tiger Mothers/Fathers. In the US most hiphopers try to hide their middleclass roots, in Korea they trumpet them.

[ related topics: Children and growing up Music Art & Culture Net Culture Education ]

comments in descending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2012-05-01 23:10:43.385349+00 by: Dan Lyke

There was a Pixarian I knew of that name who died in 2005.

#Comment Re: made: 2012-05-01 21:49:53.745799+00 by: papa0so

Glad my name isn't Dan Lee, although i think I know someone who does have that name. It sounds like it would be a pretty popular name too.

#Comment Re: made: 2012-04-27 17:13:21.198969+00 by: Dan Lyke

Yeah, the $10k to say something that proves nothing... there are all sorts of ethical shades in there, from the Cheney/Bush "not our fault if GOP supporters thought that there was a connection between Osama bin Laden and Iraq" to lies by omission to, hey, free money. And especially if it's something particularly ludicrous, like, "what sort of gullible moron would you have to be to think that my saying I never saw Stephen Colbert on campus proves anything?", yeah, I might have trouble turning down ten grand.

I'm sure if we dig a bit we can find all sorts of non-political... well... I don't know about conspiracy theory, but remember Richard Gere and... uh... was it hamsters or gerbils? There's all sorts of stuff that's "common knowledge" that I can come up with that's just bizarre and completely doesn't mesh with reality, but is widely held.

Something I've recently become very aware of is how appeals to scientific authority in casual discussion often start out "didn't they recently find that...", appealing both to the mysterious "they" authority, and then citing some summary of a paper that may or may not have been reproduced, and may or may not prove what it was summarized to say in the popular press, and is accompanied with no notion of error margins, and by the time that hits the third or fourth person the web of "someone I trust" has moved it from "mildly suggested in one small study of rats" to "true across all organisms, humans to birds".

I suspect that even more so we do this in situations where the appeal of someone is related to how our peer groups view that someone, which has to be a huge driving factor in rap celebrity.

#Comment Re: made: 2012-04-26 20:26:47.703958+00 by: petronius

I also liked your comment about "This is coming from someone I trust, so it must be right". Sometimes that works, and sometimes not. Try Googling "Karl Rove's Nazi Grandfather" and you will get 171,000 hits on how Karl's grandfather was named Roverer, was a highly placed nazi official, and got the construction contract for Birkinau concentration camp. In at least one comment section somebody says that since this got so many hits it must be true.

Of course, it isn't. It all stems from one leftie blog that got bad info, but it was just too juicy to pass up. The Rove family is from Norway, and the man Karl thought of as his grandfather was born in Milwaukee. It gets even murkier when you discover that the Rove who raised Karl was not his biological father; Karl does not know who that person was. But this story hung around for years, the only difference from the Lee affair was that it never got into the mainstream.

#Comment Re: made: 2012-04-26 18:06:28.249642+00 by: petronius

Your point about the resemblance to Trooferism and other crotchets is a telling one. I wonder if Koreans are given to theories that Kim Jong whichever is actually a ROK puppet and the like. I can't remember any non-political conspiracy theory in the US that had the same legs as the Dan Lee case. Even the Trig Palin birth claims were only believed by Andrew Sullivan.

One interesting sideshow is the part about the Stanford grad who was paid $10,000 to swear he never saw Lee on campus. I wonder if I would sign a paper swearing that I never once saw Stephen Colbert on the Northwestern University campus. Its true, since we attended the school 14 years apart. I also wonder which Lee conspiricist was so invested that he would pay such a sum.

#Comment Re: made: 2012-04-25 17:38:47.447615+00 by: Dan Lyke

Holy shit, it's like Seungmin Cho managed to tap into a WTC building 7/fake moon landing conspiracy meme and ride that to destroy this poor guy.

Also an interesting addition to looking at how social media memes propagate based on partial data. "this is coming from someone I trust, so it must be right", and 140 characters blow around the world in seconds.