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"The Streisand Effect" or "The Unintentionally Hilarious Result of Streisand's Most Legendary Tantrum"
OH HAI STREISAND's HOUSE!
In 2003 as part of an ongoing effort by the California Coastal Records Project to document the very serious cliffside and beach-erosion occurring up and down the Caifornia coast, a photographer named Kenneth Adelman took an aerial photo of Barbra Streisand's Malibu home. (Let us pause here to clarify that the house he photographed is in fact the same home featured in Streisand's book "My Passion for Design." Ok, carry on)
Mr. Adelman also took 12,000 other pictures of the coastline, beaches, and residences perched precariously on the cliffs from the Oregon coast down to Mexico, as part of an ongoing effort from the late 1980's to present day to document, monitor, and hopefully stop the terrible erosion problems occurring throughout the state. These photos were then uploaded into the publicly available but largely unknown site to be used mainly by scientists, civil engineers, and environmental researchers, the California Coastal Records Site. Streisand then sued him for $50,000,000.00.
Guys, pour yourselves a cocktail because this is about to get really, really good.
An image is worth a thousand words, or in this case, fifty million dollars.
Claiming that Mr. Adelman's photos would show people how to "gain access" to her home, (Yes, the same home she relentlessly photographed in her own book, "My Passion for Design") Streisand slapped the lawsuit on Mr. Adleman personally. At the time of said lawsuit, the photo in question shown above had been viewed exactly 6 times. 4 by research scientists focusing largely on the malibu cliffs, and twice by her attorneys. Her demands were for her house, perched on a cliff that is rapidly eroding, in a section of California that is plagued by wildfire, drought, and landslide issues, to be removed from the database, and she be paid $50,000,000.00 for damages.
Immediately upon learning of the lawsuit, the media picked up on this ridiculous and hilarious claim and the photo in question was then viewed over a million times by the public. Stories exploded online, in print, and all over the late-night news, with Streisand rightfully being the punchline to her own joke. La Streisand, Queen of Zero Self-Awareness and having long abandoned her legendary sense of humor, to put it mildly--lost her shit.
What began as Streisand's greatest tamtrum (and she's had many) ended up becoming a widely-used data and analysis term. "How long is it going to take before lawyers realize that the simple act of trying to repress something they don't like online is likely to make it so that something that most people would never, ever see (like a photo of a urinal in some random beach resort) is now seen by many more people? Let's call it the Streisand Effect."
Christopher Daniels is the current Managing Director of GLM Theatre and a bright shining light upon the stage.