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Regarding the stalking ...

Reminds me of a recent "Hidden Brain" episode - about "Secret Friends" - people of whom others believe to be friends but aren't. The show implied it's fairly easy for the Human Brain to develop a belief those whom are seen or heard often are friends, even if not known personally.

Tim mentions feeling that he is a tribal leader of millions of people. And, he definitely has the attention of those people. People who trust him. And, from an anthropological (and perhaps biological) perspective, I wonder if people stalk him because they really believe him to be their tribal leader Maybe those people really do look at him like he's a friend.

I know our Westernized cultures cherish individuality and independence, but I also wonder if people who decide to enter (and stay within) the limelight have a Human responsibility to be a leader and friend. I know, that's a crazy thought.

I don't think it's a crazy thought at all - being famous gives a person some kind of power, and I think some responsibility comes with that.

However, if a famous person behaves in a way that doesn't seem to be fulfilling that responsibility I think the best we can do is ignore them - trying to enforce our idea of responsibility in this area seems unlikely to be a net positive.

I've heard of podcasts being described as "friend simulators" because of this phenomenon

That is very interesting. I follow a number of "Just Talking" podcasts and I have come to consider the members as my friends. Some of them really are, but others are just purely because I listen to their podcast.

Feels weird to realize this.

I think this is exactly the right way to understand celebrities: our primitive brain thinks it understands who these people are, how they relate to things we care about (shows, books, issues, movements), and identifies them as "familiar", and "known".

And on the other side, this looks utterly bizzarro to the celebrity, because not only don't they know the fan, but it should be obvious to the fan they know absolutely nothing fundamental (or very little) about the celebrity as a human being.

It is a really crazy set of circumstances. The culture of celebrity is completely crazy.

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