Fandom as an Occasional Logic Bypass

Wanderers, we’ve mentioned some of the weirder things fans sometimes do, before. From the really serious things, like impersonating people online, to the just mildly annoying things like tweeting people to tell them they should date their co-stars. Those things, we decided, were not cool. We do not like to do those things, because they make people we admire feel awkward. What we didn’t mention was how completely irrational those things were. If you want to get to meet someone, you have to skip a little bit of the thinking process to decide that the most expedient way to do that is to pose as someone they already sort of know – and it takes a little bit of a weird logic to reach the conclusion that you have any right to tell a stranger who they should be taking to the pictures on a Friday night.

There are other fan-behaviours that aren’t as harmful, but are just as… I don’t want to say ‘a bit nuts’ but, well, I’m having trouble following the logic. And, let’s be honest here… I’ve had a few of these logic bypasses myself. I think most of us have done something or other a bit crazy in the name of fandom. So don’t think I’m judging you, but here are the things that, in the cold light of day, don’t make a lot of sense – even to people in fandom.

Firstly, there was a bit of a trend a few years back for people in the limelight talking about how it can be quite lonely being famous. More recently, a couple of celebrities have commented on the difficulties of dating, just in passing. This – and I know it’s tempting – does not mean ‘I need a non-famous friend, send me your number in fanmail’. However sweet a letter you attach, they’re not going to call you. They have friends, and even if they didn’t, they’re not going to call some random to cry about how utterly famous they are. It’s not worth it; if you’re going to send them fanmail, keep it to how awesome you think they are. That’s a pretty solid, logical bit of fanmail right there.

Secondly, it’s probably not worth sending letter after letter – or just one really long letter – asking them to come to your country/city on a holiday. I’ve seen people rattling around the internet complaining that their favourite celebrity has been spotted in cafes in loads of random little towns, so they’re going to write and demand that he or she come to check out the sights of their hometown. With a list of local attractions to lure them in. OK, this one’s fine if you’re hoping they’ll do a tour and stop at your town – asking John Green to stop in and do a book signing is probably reasonable enough, for example – but if you just want them to come and conveniently be there for you to bump into, slam the brakes on for a second. The only person who springs to mind who routinely visits towns just so the townspeople can say they were there is the Queen of England. Unless your celebrity is a head of state, it’s likely they’re not going to visit a town without good reason. If they do visit your town without a work commitment lined up, they are probably on holiday, and I don’t think anyone chooses their holidays based on where people want to interrupt them the most.

Thirdly, there’s assuming you know someone because you’ve seen them on the TV. This one almost makes sense, because you’ve seen them a lot, visually speaking, but not quite. If someone’s on TV, they are either acting – in which case you’re not really seeing them at all, just their face – or trying to present the best possible version of themselves. I’m not saying the people you admire aren’t every bit as fantastic and lovely as they seem on the telly, but they’re probably fantastic and lovely in subtly different ways. If you meet your favourite celebrity, remember to treat them with as much courtesy and respect as you would anyone else you were meeting for the first time (and don’t jump straight in with in-jokes).

The last thing that doesn’t really make sense to me is when fandoms start tearing themselves apart, or fans start damaging themselves in the name of fandom. We’ve all seen some nasty things go on in various fandoms, I’m sure, and basically when someone says you should do something because you are a fan of whatever or whoever you’re a fan of, you need to run it through a quick check or two. Firstly – be safe, be sensible, be yourself. If someone’s trying to get you to do something you wouldn’t otherwise be comfortable with, listen to your instincts and don’t do it. Secondly, think about your fandom. Think about all the joy it’s brought you. If you do or say what you’re about to do or say, is it going to sour your enjoyment of that fandom? If the answer is yes, you need to think very carefully about whether it’s worth it. In most cases, it’s probably not.

So, now you know some of the main logic traps. I know I’ve fallen into at least one of them in the past, and I’m sure there are others. Basically, Wanderers, just think before you act, OK? And maybe, if you see that somebody else is about to have a logic bypass, have a word with them or show them this article. Together, we can beat this weird fan-madness and have a jolly good time being fans as fans were meant to be.

Eleanor Musgrove (should probably get off her high horse now)

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This entry was posted in Fandom As..., Issue Sixteen and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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