Friday, January 24, 2014

We are all Fangirls

There's a funny thing I've noticed about people being fans of something (music, books, a writer, an actor, really whatever).  There's a camp of folks who are fangirls (or fanboys) who are thought of as crazy, rabid, obsessed, prone to swooning and flailing about with excitement.  Some people really embrace the notion and are proud of the term.  Others use it in the pejorative to put down some of the more vocal fans.

I have seen fans act like real douches to people, that's kind of a given.  But I have also seen people be truly kind and generous and thoughtful just because they like a person/song/TV show/movie etc.  I really bristle at the notion that being a passionate fan (as long as you're not an asshat about it) makes you weird or lame or stupid.  It's unfortunate that we create this weird feeling that we shouldn't tell people that we love something they have done, or that we should tone down the language and be less effusive in our praise lest people think we're crazy.  I know that feeling has made me stop from telling others I think they did something I liked or wrote something that spoke to me because I didn't want to seem like some sort of fawning dope.

So, to myself, and anyone else reading this I offer this video of Tegan and Sara "fangirling" a little over Pink and her music (and the fact that she's not gay, yet).  Tegan and Sara have a huge following but that doesn't make them immune to falling in love with a song or an artist just like us regular folks.  So, I hope this weekend you will have a quiet couple of days and that maybe you'll let yourself get swept up and fawn (just a little bit) over something or someone who really made an impression.

1 comment:

  1. I've been thinking all day about what constitutes a fan, and I've come to the conclusion that you're deemed to be a fan if you're thought to love something just a little bit too much. The general public seems to feel that it's a little bit uncool to be too enthusiastic about anything. One of the things that I'm a fan of is DOCTOR WHO....not just the modern, hi-tech, glossy, glamorous show, but the original, cheap, low-tech, "Yes, I know that it's bubblewrap painted green, but let's pretend that it's an alien parasite" show.

    For most people it is a 45 minute show on once a week, but fans want more. They want to know what the writer thought about the show, whether the director enjoyed it, whether the actors found it fun. They want to write about the characters; putting them into new adventures, or showing the sort of intimate, emotional stories that the TV show doesn't have time to do. They have some sort of claim on the characters and situations. They have become, to use a phrase that I read some years ago, Cultural Poachers. We take things that others have created and use them for ourselves, to reflect our own interests and obsessions.

    Are we mad? I prefer to think that we have kept in touch with that rather childlike capacity for joy in the silliest things. Another of my fan loves is Sherlock Holmes. As much as I love the new shows, I'm actually talking about the original stories. These bring together an enormous number of different people. I've met retired Naval Officers, students of forensic science, middle-aged librarians, and numerous others who are united in their crazy love for these 56 short stories and 4 novels. You meet someone whom you apparently have nothing in common, and mention, let's say, Isadore Persano. The non-fan will look puzzled, but the fan will say "The well known journalist and duellist who was found stark staring mad, with a matchbox in front of him which contained a remarkable worm said to be unknown to science". The you know that you are in the presence of a friend.

    The Sherlock Holmes thing also makes a point about creativity. If you check your local bookshop you will find loads of Holmes pastiches. Yes, they're written for money, but in the end the people who wrote them were often driven by a genuine desire to continue the series. Writers of fan-fiction are looked down on by some reviewers, but they are the opposite of the average, passive consumer. They don't want to simply consume, they want to create. Surely that is something to be fostered. And as the case of DOCTOR WHO shows, the fans of yesterday have become the professionals of today. Three cheers for fandom. Long may it continue.