Today I need to share about my fear of Uber Fans.
Well, NEED is probably too strong a word, but… I’ve been thinking about the topic for a wee bit and today seemed like the day to write about it.
Let me define a few terms- fan, noun, a person who enjoys a performance, band, movie, TV show, actor, book, etc., may even cosplay or go to midnight screenings, whatever; uber fan- fan… increased 100fold, this is the .0001% of fans that give fans a bad name due to their obsession. These are not the definitions found in Websters, they are my own. But think about it- they fit.
Now, I’m a fan. You know that, you read the site. And in the comfort of my own home, alone in the dark- it is possible that I may have uber fan moments. However, that’s it. They don’t come out once I go out into the world. Partially because I’ve seen some uber fangirls and, frankly, they scare me. They also leave me wondering- where the heck do they get the money for this? I’m clearly in the wrong profession because I couldn’t do an tenth of the events they do, and I don’t pay full price most of the time for things.
The TwiHards are a perfect example of Uber Fans. Especially if you consider this example- the Twilight fans camped out days before SDCC 2012 (even worse- days before the Twilight panel!) and one fan actually ended up being hit by a car and killed. I don’t remember the details (and I’m too lazy to look it up) but instead of this tragedy waking all of these people up and sending them back to their families… they kept camping out and causing a nuisance. Now, I tried to read the books and see the films (well, I saw the first one)- it did nothing for me. I have many friends who love them. That’s fine, to each their own. But when the loss of another human being doesn’t shake you from your fandom craving… there’s something a little wrong. (For the record- everyone I knew was deeply disturbed)(None of my Twilight friends were there, either).
Here’s another one… I’ve sat at tables helping guests in various capacities off and on over the last decade. It’s fun. And if you’re at a con- it’s a neat way to experience the other side of the event. I often have had the opportunity to sit and watch over things, observing fans. In recent years, fans’ll come up and ask me when the celeb’ll be back etc. We’ll chat. We’ll laugh. It’s good fun. But when no one is around, I get to watch. As a psychologist, people watching is ingrained into my behavior- it’s one way we learn about others. And I understand wanting to see your favorite celebrity- even stopping by on a daily basis at an event. What doesn’t make sense is doing every photo op (at $50-$100 a pop!), and getting multiple autographs, and paying extra for every little thing that is available. See? A) how do people afford this? B) why don’t they adopt me since they seem to have tons of extra cash? I’m confused… how many different things does one person need that are signed by a single person? And really, how many pics do you need with someone you aren’t related to? Alright, fine. It’s fun. I have pics with celebs- most are posted on the site. And I have a binder of autographs. It’s fun. I love going to events with friends and getting to meet our favorite people. I love have that one moment.
But except for one person… that one moment is all it is and I move on. That particular celeb… well, it’s a different situation. Anyways…
Most of the people who are repeaters are fine, too. This is their thing- like the people that are big Star Wars fans to the point where their homes are full. Or something. They like an actor, a character, a show- whatever- and whatever it is, they want to experience all of it.
Here’s where it goes wrong- when there’s a delusional view. An example of this happened to me about a year and a half ago. I have a locked facebook account- if I don’t know you, you can’t friend me. But because of certain videos up on my personal youtube page or pictures I’ll post from events on other pages, some uber fans have found me. Now… I don’t normally friend people whose only connection to me is through fandom- I have in the past and it’s been amazing (witness my connection to my bestie), but others have gone bad- so I’m weary of these people and I’ll politely let them know that I don’t friend strangers to my personal page. They’ll argue their own awesomeness and sometimes I’ll consent. This has been the case of a few that have ended up being awesome and are still around. But others… well, to say they ended up being batshit crazy is an insult to batshit. Not to go into details but I had one person begin messaging me to chat (which is fine) discussing the celeb connection (also fine) and how his new wife was evil (okay, you can have your opinions, she seemed fine to me) and that “her” kids (i.e. the celebs children) were in danger because of the new wife (OK… wait… what now?) and it went on and on. Mind you, this fan had never met the celeb in question. Had absolutely no connection to him other than being a fan of his performances. Yet referred to his kids as her own. And went on about why she was a better partner than the new wife- who the celeb happily fawns over (still) and giggles & blushes when talking about and refers to as his soulmate. It was beyond fantasy land… and into full on delusion. And the fan wonders why I unfriended her…
Does anyone else have this situation in their world? Or is it just me? I’m not sure if this post says anything about the positives of fans/fandoms… I should probably touch on that. Now. But I don’t need to because this was actually beautifully talked about in a recent guest post by our pal Lee. Read that. And cry.