Affleck Online
Humility hunting in the world of Ben
Published July 27, 1999 in Dirt

It's impossible to visit any fan site -- no matter how big a fan you are of its celebrity/band/porn star -- and not wonder a bit about the person who built it. Is it simply a crush-stricken teen with too much free time and too many free megs of Geocities server space? Or is it some obsessive fanatic collector freak destined to become the next Mark David Chapman?

See also...
... by David Merline
... in the Dirt section
... from July 27, 1999

The latter would be the obvious assumption to make about, the beautifully designed, unconscionably thorough, 100 percent official Ben Affleck fan site. The truth, however, is far more disturbing: The crush-stricken obsessive fanatic behind this site is none other than Mr. Good Will Hunting himself.

Admittedly, it's no big shock to discover some over-hyped Hollywood pretty boy has an ego the size of Jennifer Lopez's ass, but what's troubling is having to actually see it in action. (I'm talking about Ben's ego here -- Jennifer's ass is always a pleasure to watch.) Affleck's image may be that of a laid-back, gen-x, "un-Hollywood" celeb, but judging by the depth and breadth of this site, our boy Ben is in fact the most shameless self-promoter since Pat Paulsen. It features photos of Ben, articles about Ben, links to no fewer than 20 other Ben sites, Ben-themed bulletin boards, and a store chock full of Benorabilia including autographs, screenplays, stills, videos, etc.

Of course, officially-sanctioned fan sites are not unusual, but what really makes this a work of self-aggrandizing genius is the semi-regular presence of almighty Ben himself. The "Ben Affleck WWWBoard" is the site's heart and soul, a place where Ben's army of fans can chat about Ben, ask Ben questions, and generally just hang out and bask in the radiant glow of Bendom.

Ben even pops up occasionally on some of the unofficial Ben sites just to say "Hey." But it's when Ben communicates directly with his own site's fans that it moves to the highest level of absurdity. The thrill of watching these vapid, humorless exchanges belongs to the "who is more a fool" spectator-sport variety one normally associates with The Jerry Springer Show or Crossfire.

Typical exchange:

Fan: Do you watch Dawson's Creek?

Ben: Never seen it.

Fan: What are the causes you believe in most?

Ben: Human rights, liberty from oppression and equality.

Fan: I would like to say that maybe me and you can go to dinner one day. I have read a lot of interviews you have done and we have a lot in common.

Ben: Hmmm. Thanks, I think....

The only way this site could possibly be more self-indulgent is if it sent wads of actual Affleck sperm spewing forth through your monitor. And given the speed of technological innovations and Ben's seemingly insatiable hunger for contact with his fans, I wouldn't entirely rule that possibility out.

David Merline is a freelance writer/graphic artist and is on the editorial staff of Motorbooty magazine.