I often find it a good reminder to myself that the word fan is short for fanatic.
We soften the blow of how unhealthy the behavior is by shortening the word and then it’s only one letter away from fun.
I understand fanaticism as I was once a fan of the NFL team the Raiders. A fan base with a legacy of its own or should I say there is no mystique behind the fact that Raider fans are fanatical about the fact they are Raider fans.
I gave up professional sports years ago. It doesn’t make sense to me to pay grown men millions of dollars to play children’s games or beat the shit out of each other to include boxing and mixed martial arts.
I like a good chunk of music from a lot of various artists however I am not a fan of any band or artist. I have better things to do with my life than follow a band all over social media like an obsessed stalker needing to know their every move and what they had for lunch and stuff like that.
The one time I did meet a legitimate rock star, I insulted him. I find the idea of being a fan one that limits the idea of who I am and can be. To be a fanatic is synonymous with being a zealot, extremist, militant (my personal favorite) and devotee.
Does anyone have pleasant images that these words conjure in their head?
Yet due to shortening the word fanatic to fan we have taken the images and the sting out of just how psychotic the behavior can look.
We encourage fandom.
We reward fandom.
We have events centered around fandom or in technical terms, fanaticism.
People who attend conventions for this that or the other have been known to lose touch with reality in their obsession over a comic book or a film or a TV show or a character in a comic book or a film or a TV show.
Ask Joss Whedon if Firefly fans are indeed fanatical about being Firefly fans. For that matter ask any of the cast from the show about the shows fans and their total unrelenting crusade to somehow one day bring the show back on the air after it got only one season and a movie.
No one should ever allow a work of fiction to take up this much of their life and their identity.
Ask successful musicians and those in film and TV what it is like to have a superfan.
Part of the problem for the ones who are adored by the fans is when someday the numbers dwindle and all that energetic adoration they rode comes to an end and withdrawals kick in with no way to get that fix. It’s why so many in the entertainment industry deal with depression at the end of their careers as they become less adored and the fans have moved on to someone else.
Fanaticism under the name fandom does more damage than people think about because hey guess what, there is a shit ton of money to made off fandom. Conventions, clothing lines, dolls, coffee mugs and the list never ends.
The only piece of clothing from a band I have ever owned was an Iron Maiden shirt I got at a concert and an Iron Maiden beanie that had the coolest skull and crossbones design on it I had ever seen. Iron Maiden is electric classical music with it’s complexity of musical arrangement. They are a thinking human’s band.
I dig their shit however I have no idea what the fuck the band is doing right now nor do I care.
Why live vicariously through a band or an actor/actress or whatever when you can be living your own life?
In the song Don’t Damn Me by Guns N Roses the line that fits here is:
Your only validation is living your own life
Vicarious existence is a fucking waste of time
Words so wise I break my own don’t quote other people rule.
The only thing in life I am a fanatic or a zealot or militant about is being me and retaining my ability to be an individual who sees the value of working at synergy. The only thing in life I am ever really a devotee of is the woman I happen to be involved with when I have one I am involved with.
I have often said that being in love and being a stalker is a fine line and that line is where they sign the restraining order against you.
I guess on some level society decided as long as money could be made, it’s fandom and if there isn’t any money to made its fanaticism. Same behavior only using one term allows anyone to act like a stalker and you can be part of the crowd of stalkers who join you in your fandom.
I’m not a fan.
I am definitely not a superfan.