Monday, June 02, 2008

Totally Devoted

Is there anything that you love so much that you have lost all objectivity.? That you would defend to the death, defying all reason and can hear no other side of an argument to?

I don't mean things like "freedom of speech", "democracy" or anything else that we go to war over. I mean is there something that you are a fan of, but that, if you are honest, it has gone beyond that into obsession, fanatism?

The reason I've been pondering this is that in my little bit of freelance writing that I do, I made the mistake of mentioning a certain pop star and the site has since been bombarded with abusive comments and I wouldn't be surprised a death threat was imminent. I'm not going to mention the pop star's name here as it is obvious that these people receive notifications whenever and wherever he is mentioned on the web. All I said was that he was past his best and then the fanatics appeared quoting figures of record sales (since when has that been a mark of quality?) and alternating their messages of hate for me, with their messages of love for him (is he really going to be reading?).

What inspires such blind devotion?

I've given this some thought and there really isn't anything that I feel that passionately about (perhaps I'm missing out?). There are lot of things I love, but not to that extent. Actually, I even feel uncomfortable using the word "love". I love my family, the OH and my friends - feelings I have for a band, television programme, painting or book, aren't the same.

I really like the television programme "The Wire". There was an article in "Sight and Sound" about it recently that wasn't entirely glowing. I agreed with some of their less positive comments (namely the final season wasn't as good as the past ones), other criticisms I didn't agree with, but I've not written to the magazine to complain.

Musically, the band I've liked most consistently for the longest would be Primal Scream, but I will admit that whilst I like their last album, it wasn't as good as their second album, there is at least one album that I don't like at all and a few years back they went through a phase of being dreadful live. I realise they aren't to everyone's taste and I don't now expect to receive abusive comments from other fans on account of these opinions.

Differences of opinion, varying tastes make the world more interesting. And these fanatics are entitled to their opinions too. But its the lack of intelligent, adult debate, the lack of being able to see that someone might disagree with them that I find so hard to understand.


Roses said...

Ummm....I feel that way about Boy, but not that strongly about anything/one else. And certainly not a 'celebrity'. You've now got me really curious. How about some hints? Go on is he British, from the 60s, pop band, rock? an ex-Btl?

I can't imagine some of the golden oldies currently 'reformed', come out of retirement or simply not going away, having fans that send abusive e-mails. They soo need to get a life. Yes they do.

SandDancer said...

Glad I'm not the only non-obsessive. I agree that most bands don't attract this sort of following but this person does and I was sort of aware of it before so was fairly cautious in what I wrote.

Anyway some clues, getting progressively more obvious.

He's American
He started in the 70s
In a band
With his family (you should get it by now)
He lived on a ranch with a chimp
Jarvis Cocker isn't a fan

and the comment that caused the controversy was that he isn't as good as he used to be.

M said...

He isn't. Definitely.

SandDancer said...

No, he's not. I'm struggling to remember how his last few hits went, I can vaguely remember a few of the videos but not the songs. Whereas his stuff from 70s and 80s stands the test of time.

Roses said...


I can see the fans are as loony as him.

It's such a shame that one so talented could end up going down the toilet. When you see the footage of him with his brothers and in the Billy Jean video, he has such energy, such an open smile.

He's turned into a washed, weirdo has-been. And I think I'm being charitable now.

Mellifluous Dark said...

I think some people need to have blind devotion in something to make their own life seem worthwhile. It's the thin end of the fanaticism wedge.

Acknowledging people's weaknesses and still loving (or liking) them is surely more human – and means more – than persistently saying that the sun shines out of X's behind and pretending they are perfect? What is it they are afraid of? It's odd.

SandDancer said...

Roses - don't hold back there! I hate to think what the response would have been if I'd written that.

MD - it definitely does come across as them compensating for a lack of something else in their lives. Almost as if this fandom was a replacement for religion, as it was as if I'd committed blasphenmy and insulted their god.

Miss Forthright said...

I have heard actually that Wacko fans are really, really obsessive. I don't get obsession to that degree. I've had crushes in my time (Kiefer Sutherland, Ronnie O Sullivan, Robbie Williams circa 1993) but I've never got so obsessed... actually, when I was a Take That fan I was like that, but that was just teenage lunacy!

Josie M. said...

Hi SandDancer_

Blind devotion seems to evolve out of nowhere. Music - I still cannot part with my POISON CD, Looked What the Cat Dragged In...Clothing - I recently bought a pair of "jelly" plastic shoes because I used to wear them as I listened to my POISON CD back my glam rock days.

Keep up the great posts.