Stalking Conan: A Boston Daily Psychological Evaluation*
We’ve been trying to wrap our minds around the news that a Stoneham priest was arrested for stalking talk-show host Conan O’Brien all morning, but we don’t feel like we’re any closer to understanding what went through Rev. David Ajemian’s mind. In the constellation of Hollywood’s beautiful stars, why would anyone choose the awkward Brookline native to harass? In an effort to understand, we did a Google search and came up with a list of medically dubious sources to get some insight into the mind of a stalker.
Let’s start with the obvious. Rev. Ajemian is clearly nuts. Not only did he choose an unusual victim, but the letters he wrote are deeply disturbing.
“This is your priest stalker again, the one who has been tracking you through space and time. . . I paid $250 to fly down to NYC yesterday just to have a spot in the audience, in the dimming hope that you might finally acknowledge me.”
. . . Ajemian allegedly demanded from O’Brien a “public confession before I even consider giving you absolution.”
Here’s a confession: Stalking is even creepier when accompanied with religious imagery.
So what is the psychology of a stalker, anyway? Here’s what one of our Google sources tells us:
Unfortunately, there is no single psychological or behavioral profile for stalkers. In fact, many experts believe that every stalker is different, making it very difficult not only to categorize their behavior, but doubly difficult to devise effective strategies to cope with such behavior.
Well, that doesn’t bode too well for our quest to better understand the “priest stalker.” But another site tells us that he could fall into one of three categories.
. . . [W]e have broken down types of stalkers into three broad categories: Intimate partner stalkers, delusional stalkers and vengeful stalkers.
Since it’s unclear if O’Brien and Ajemian ever met, we’ll assume that this case falls into the “delusional” category.
The typical profile of delusional stalkers is that of an unmarried and socially immature loner, who is unable to establish or sustain close relationships with others. They rarely date and have had few, if any, sexual relationships.
Well, a Catholic priest certainly is unmarried, and has had presumably few sexual relationships. If the clergy sex abuse fiasco wasn’t enough to get the church to rethink that policy, maybe the threat to one of America’s favorite comedians will.
Since at the same time they are both threatened by and yearn for closeness, they often pick victims who are unattainable in some way; perhaps she is married, or has been the stalker’s therapist, clergyman, doctor or teacher. . . . [T]he kindness shown by the soon-to-be victim, the only person who has ever treated the stalker with warmth, is blown out of proportion into a delusion of intimacy.
That would certainly explain why people choose to stalk late night talk show hosts. While the host makes jokes and try to get dirt from their celebrity guests, the viewer always feels like they’re in on the joke with him. So we were wrong to think that Conan’s appeal to Ajemian was physical—he just felt that O’Brien liked him. Thank you, Internet, for showing us the light. We don’t know how people made completely unfounded psychological conclusions before Al Gore invented you.
*Just in case you were wondering, no we don’t have a degree in anything related to psychology. We felt like we should point that out since not everyone gets our jokes. Ron Paul supporters, we’re looking at you. Wait, since we are Ron Paul supporters, maybe we’re actually looking at us. Weird.