“Happy birthday @Eminem,” Sawa wrote on Twitter. “Sincerely yours, Stan, Ps. We should be together, too.”
For those who don’t know (seriously, why don’t you know?), Sawa played Eminem’s No. 1 fan in the official music video for the rapper’s 2000 song “Stan” featuring Dido. In the video, an obsessive fan, named Stan, becomes more and more deranged as each letter he writes to Eminem goes unanswered until he gets drunk and drives his car off a bridge while his pregnant girlfriend (Dido) is tied up in the trunk. Eminem eventually writes him a letter, but it’s too late — he’s already heard about Stan’s death on the news.
The song and music video — directed by Dr. Dre — for “Stan” were highly regarded as a searing look at the dark side of celebrity worship and toxic fandom, which may have only gotten worse in the years since the video came out. The word “stan” has since become synonymous for an obsessive fan, originating from the Eminem track and further popularized in the 2001 Nas song “Ether” with the lyric “You a fan, a phony, a fake, a p—y, a Stan.” The word was even added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary earlier this year as both a noun and a verb.
So here we are, nearly two decades later, and Stan is still wishing Eminem a happy birthday, even after his death, to remind us that it’s not so bad. It’s not so bad.
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