the legacy of the blair witch

I was just reading that the SciFi Channel has been caught in a lie. Apparently, they claimed to have a disturbing expose about writer/director M. Night Shyamalan, which they were going to air without his approval. The piece, which promised to delve into his motivations for creating supernatural thrillers, like The Sixth Sense, was, however, itself a piece of clever fiction. Not only was it made with Shyamalans full consent, but a great deal of the narrative hinged on an event in his youth, the death of a boy roughly his own age, which never happened. Of course, all of this was done to tie in with the release of his new film, The Village. It was just, in the words of SciFi Channel spokesperson, guerilla marketing gone too far. I don’t suppose there will be any repercusions.

This reminded me of something I wrote about a few months ago, the European Volvo ad campaign which centered around a mysterious anomaly in the tiny town of Dalaro, Sweden. According to the ad, a great many people in Dalaro, without any warning, just decided to purchase the same new Volvo model on the same day. (It was something like 40 people in a town of about one thousand.) Of course, that too never happened. The fellow hired by Volvo to film the ad went back days later to find his interview subjects, the people who had purportedly bought these Volvos, now Volvo-less and unwilling to talk. (Of course, his undercover expose of the fraud may have itself been part of the campaign.)

So, buyer beware. Quite often, in the post-Blair Witch world, things arent as they appear.

While were on the subject of reality, I also happened across an interesting story this morning on Jenna Lewis, formerly of Survivor fame. It would seem that Ms. Lewis, quite coincidentally, had a sex tape surface on the heels of her appearance on the highly-rated reunion show, Survivor All-Stars. Some people now think that Lewis herself might be behind the marketing of the tape, which shows her and her model/husband making love on their honeymoon night. (Her lawyers have shut down several sites that have been selling copies of the original, but inexplicably not the site that first offered it for sale, a site that was registered within a few days of her quickie marriage.) Lewis, of course, claims to be furious that such a thing could happen and is now shopping her story of outrage to every media outlet willing to hear her out.

This, Im sure, is the kind of thing that we can expect to see more and more of in the future, as more and more people are churned through the Reality TV machine. Fame isnt something to be given up easily. I suspect that in the coming years, there will be an epidemic of desperate people trying to remain relevant and cash in on their pseudo-celebrity. We are creating an entire class of Kato Kaelins.

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