Love’s sickness, or how to be a fan

I posted this post on a fan page first; now I decided to put it here instead. After all, it’s personal stuff, and most likely, of no huge particular interest for a fan base anyhow.

One thing beforehand: I am no one who likes to judge others’ behaviour. I like to reflect however, and invite others to do the same. Large parts of this post I wrote over a year back, so it is not aimed at anyone in particular, just if the question should arise. I never published it then, yet now, I will.

Absence diminishes mediocre passions and increases great ones, as the wind extinguishes candles and fans fires.
– Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Generally speaking, being a fan is a one-directional and unrequited kind of love. Maybe that’s why fans like to find similar minds, to not feel too weird and lonely, to have someone to share the madness. This again creates instant closeness, but also competition. Maybe it is in parts due to the fact that fandom is so akin to love that people get extremely personal on the topic of their object of desire, very quickly.

Being a fan might be a special case of love, in a way, but it is love none the less. In mutual relationships, the person in question gets over the initial state of being lovestruck quite quickly – that lovely state when nothing else seems to matter but the beloved one. If unrequited, that state either quickly fades, or turns into a solid lovesickness.

This is what Wikipedia, the font of all knowledge, has to say about this condition:

  • A rapid heartbeat and other common effects of great excitement may occur upon seeing the lover, more so than usual.
  • Confusion may result from anxiety around the lover. Stuttering, staring and clumsiness are all aspects of this symptom.
  • Sexual arousal, desperation and extreme desire are symptoms that can build into an obsession with the lover.

Let them who are free of all three cast the first stone.

Let’s assume you were an artist. You might like the attention you are getting, but you tend to keep in mind one thing about your fans: They might think they know more about you then you do in turn, but they have no real connection to you; they don’t know anything about the person you really are, and after all, you need that sober and relaxed state of mind. You need exactly that, because you are a performer.

You don’t have a problem with them, as there’s no problem at all. Between you and them there are oceans, lifestyles, your manager, the persons who really are your friends, and, if push comes to shove, the law.

Performers like performing. It is more than singing, or acting. You have power over the audience, and a part of it is to inspire fantasies.

My tea’s gone cold, I’m wondering why I got out of bed at all
The morning rain clouds up my window, and I can’t see at all
And even if I could it’ll all be gray, but your picture on my wall
It reminds me that it’s not so bad, it’s not so bad
– Marshal Mathers (Eminem,) “Stan”

Primarily, I think, it’s this one-sidedness that nurtures fantasies. They are better than any reality – no reality will ever spoil them. To be caught in a perpetuated state of lovesickness can be delightful – if you are into that kind of thing – or it can be torture. Another element that adds to the attractiveness is that despite every snippet of information being collected – something I am gladly contributing to – is that what really matters is hidden from public view. What defines us? I think our goals, fears, dreams, memories, and our perceptions can tell a great deal more about us than our actions, achievements, and open failures. Yet, this huge aspect of us we tend to share with very good friends; it won’t go on Wikipedia. Fans tend to like to fill in these blanks, most of the time, without realizing that the way they do this, and what they assume only reveals a great deal about themselves.

May I kiss you then? On this miserable paper? I might as well open the window and kiss the night air. 
– Franz Kafka

Generally speaking, a fan’s fate is to be doomed to be isolated from the person their love is targeted at. Fans might love to dwell on the idea how great it would be to be involved in the everyday life of the person they adore. Largely, however, they are not, and never will be.

Even with the most humanistic approach, it would be right-out impossible for any celebrity to really care about each and every fan of his or hers. Imagine, for a moment, an artist who would really worry about whether all people of his audience are fine, are happy with their hotel, caught their plane, or have enough cough remedy for the cold they brought along with them not to spoil the pianissimo parts of the “Cum Dederit,” or to avoid sneezing into the final bars of “Alto Giove.”

Hatred is blind, as well as love.
– Oscar Wilde

Kierkegaard already noted that hate is in fact failed love. What people do out of bitterness, frustrated love, or hate, should also be mentioned here: There is an offence called slander. Some YouTube commenters should read up on it.

If you relax a little, I’m glad I inspire you.
– Marshal Mathers (Eminem,) “Stan”

So what’s the point? As I said before, I won’t judge. If in the bittersweet mix, the bitterness is getting the upper hand, take a break, would be my advice. I tried to be held-back about my own feelings in this post, as everyone is different, and how I am feeling myself is no reference or help for anyone else. So, just a brief note at the end: Just as our other admins, I’m investing time in our fanpage, whereof Facebook is the most time-consuming, and whenever I feel it is too much, I’m taking a conscious break. I value a certain distance on the topic, that allows me to be reflected, and to give others and their comments the care and attention they deserve.

For me, PJ is a voice, a face, and a person I never grow tired of, that never ceases to be fascinating. I think that is what could be called inspiration.

 

 

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