West Wing Web War!
July 3, 2001 9:36 PM   Subscribe

West Wing Web War! Mickey Kaus shows you how to personally bother Aaron Sorkin and get him to reply to you. This particular pissing match is about writers' credits and compensation, but I'm posting it because it highlights one of the truly unique things about the net/web: It provides a way for celebrities to come out and interact with their fans (or foes) without giving up any of their privacy. Have you ever found yourself keyboard to keyboard with a Big Name? Or know where any of them hang out?
posted by aaron (18 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've been in chat rooms with guests like Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Collective Soul, etc, but those are all scheduled chats. Nigel Dick, the music video director (Def Leppard, Britney Spears, 2gether, Guns 'N' Roses) is really accessible via his website. Nels Israelson (Photographer, famous for various album covers) was nice enough to answer a few questions via email.
posted by riffola at 10:34 PM on July 3, 2001

i think when celebrities make themselves so available that is sort of takes away the mistique of being a celebrity. the celebrity turns in to an every day guy next door cool kinda guy. i think from a business standpoint it's in their best interest to be one step away and not so close to the fan. i'm sure there will be arguements for and against that statement (ie, kevin smith answers e-mails and message board posts and is popular but when you look at his popularity versus will smith i don't think there is a comparison). personally, i could care elss about celebrities. what makes their thoughts or opinions more valid than anyone else? just b/c they make movies or have a ton of money doesn't make them any wiser or make their opinion more valid.
posted by suprfli at 11:18 PM on July 3, 2001

Suprfli, your post reminded me of Ben Affleck's site because he used to post on the boards there and answer fans' questions. That reminded me that a while back it seemed to have disappeared, which led me to check again right now. Ah those crazy stars, what kooky web shenanigans will they come up with next?
posted by megnut at 11:29 PM on July 3, 2001

wow, meg, but ben's site does not have a flash intro! is ben bucking the system? or are women simply happy that ben is bucking something?
posted by moz at 11:30 PM on July 3, 2001

Have you ever found yourself keyboard to keyboard with a Big Name?

I once answered a question about a Mac filesystem problem for the late Douglas Adams. He used to regularly participate in Usenet.
posted by kindall at 12:08 AM on July 4, 2001

There was a time when scheduled chats didn't contain a high wall between the celebrity and the fans. I remember Pavement appearing in CompuServe's Rocknet Forum in the early '90s and it was just a few dozen (if that) people typing to them. No moderation.

Another good old CompuServe chat was the Lou Reed conference. Lou seemed to type the shortest possible answers (probably annoying many) and then hundreds of questions scrolled by during the open discussion period.

In an interview, Coolio talked about how he liked playing networked games. He apparently would use the nickname "Coolio" and tell other players that he indeed was Coolio - they would just laugh it off with a "oh, there's the guy who thinks he coolio."

So. Whatever. Not trying to encourage celebrity worshipping here, but the decline of the non-structered chat is interesting to look at.
posted by gluechunk at 12:14 AM on July 4, 2001

i've exchanged (single) emails with melissa from the real world new orleans, and paul lukas, author of rad zine beer frame and even radder book inconspicuous consumption.

my sister used to exchange email with the band goldfinger.

(sorry for lack of links, btw, but i'm way wasted. happy independce day, americans!)
posted by sugarfish at 12:33 AM on July 4, 2001

Todd McFarlane regularly answers questions about his comic books and toy lines on the spawn.com message boards.

In all honesty, though, I don't recommend visiting, as the boards are filled with idiotic 13-year-olds.

(Please note: I'm not generalizing all 13-year-olds as idiots. I'm saying that the 13-year-olds on the Spawn boards are idiots.)
posted by toddshot at 12:39 AM on July 4, 2001

Ben Folds wrote "I love you" on my forehead once.
It happened in real life, but it was still neat.

kindall, you're my new hero by the way.
posted by dong_resin at 12:41 AM on July 4, 2001

Sue Grafton, the bestselling mystery author, regularly participates in a discussion forum on her site and she replied to a post I made there a while back.
posted by mw at 6:06 AM on July 4, 2001

I once exchanged an email with James Gleick. He was asking about time perception and ADD.

I've found that almost anyone will make nice with you if they need free technical support.
posted by mecran01 at 7:27 AM on July 4, 2001

Asia Carrera is reported to be a big fan of Unreal Tournament and routinely plays it online, presumably using a pseudonym (so as to prevent being swarmed by horny fanboys). She's also quite the computer freak.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 8:25 AM on July 4, 2001

one word: kottke ;)
posted by Optamystic at 12:20 PM on July 4, 2001

I remember reading posts in some alt.* usenet newsgroup from Billy Idol (posting via his Well account) around fall 1993. He was working on his album "Cyberpunk," supposedly doing research. Too bad Google doesn't have that stuff, I wish I could read it now. Anybody know of a site that has really old Usenet posts? The days when the Usenet had a livable signal to noise ratio. -sigh-
posted by internal at 2:13 PM on July 4, 2001

Ever occured to anyone that some of 'us' could maybe already be "Big Names"..

Sometimes it's nice to talk to people without them kissing your ass..
posted by Leonard at 2:19 PM on July 4, 2001

kindall, you're my new hero by the way.

Two down, 9073 to go.
posted by kindall at 3:10 PM on July 4, 2001

Chatroom with Suzanne Vega (back in, um, 95? when internet chats were not that common), when I asked her about the creative opportunities of having a record producer for a husband. (Who then left her for Vonda fucking Shepard, proving that both his musical and personal tastes still belong in the 80s.)

Email from lots of people, actually. Iain Pears emailed me after I pointed out the liberties he'd taken in An Instance of the Fingerpost. Long before AHWOSG, Dave Eggers offered me a special gift if I took a lifetime sub to McSweeney's, on account of my surname. Messages from obscure writers and musicians, most of whom really love the net. (Bowlie was a confirmation of how it works, turning lonely indiekids into thriving communities.) I've corresponded with plenty of "famous" academics, too, in a professional capacity: and I actually prefer it to the conference season.
posted by holgate at 3:25 PM on July 4, 2001

The celebrity I'm most pleased for having received an email from is Doctor Walter Alvarez, who kindly responded to my fan email. (He was instrumental in developing the "meteor strike" theory of dinosaur extinction. It's called the "Alvarez theory" after him and his father.)
posted by Steven Den Beste at 7:04 PM on July 4, 2001

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