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How Was A Virginia Man Able To Trick People At A Mall Into Thinking That He Was Famous?

Submitted by on April 14, 2012 – 1:36 pm2 Comments

If this story proves anything, it’s this: Anyone can be famous. We know, we know. You’ve already learned that from folks like Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton. But, trust us: If a Virginia man named “Thomas Elliot” can become “famous,” then anyone can do it.

Until last Saturday, Elliot was just an average Joe working for a Richmond, Va. company called Chill Hill Media. They specialize in things like art, cinematography, and writing. But, they also apparently specialize in the art of deception. So, Thomas and a few friends decided to visit the MacArthur Center in Norfolk, Va. to hold a little social experiment.

Basically, Thomas walked through the mall and had his friends act like he was famous and treat him like a celebrity. Within just a few minutes, other people at the mall saw this happening and quickly started to ask his friends who he was. His friends explained to them that he was “Thomas Elliot” (those are his real first and middles names) and that he’d appeared in Hunger Games and some of the Spider-Man movies. And, wouldn’t you know, people believed him. Soon, he was snapping pictures with his “fans,” holding peoples’ children, and even getting entire stores to close down so that he could go shopping. The mall cops even fell for his prank and provided him with extra security so that he could walk comfortably through the mall. And those who were there tweeted about their experience and wrote about how excited they were to meet Thomas Elliot…even though they didn’t really know who he was.

So, what does this say about our society? Well, as I said earlier, that anyone can be famous. It also proves that, as a society, we’ve become obsessed not just with celebrities but also with the idea of meeting celebrities. And, finally, it shows just how gullible we can be sometimes. In this case, “Thomas Elliot” was just conducting a social experiment. But, what if he’d convinced someone out there to pay him to sit somewhere for an hour and sign autographs? What if he’d gotten a club to hire him to host a party for an evening? What if he’d used his “fame” for something other than just trying to prove a point?

We’re a nation that’s become a little too into the idea of “celebrity.” And we need to scale it back just a little bit. Because, at this point, anyone can be famous. Or, at the very least, pretend like they’re famous and reap the benefits. And that’s pretty sad. Wouldn’t you agree?

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