A fan and a fandom is a strange creation if you think about it. I have no idea what happened before the concept of celebrity – in let’s say the year 1593 did people stalk the head of their church or worship a specific knight in the same way? Did they hang a tapestry of a Lord or Lady in their home and fawn over their graven image? I have no idea, maybe people have always needed someone “higher” or “better” than them to idolise, maybe it’s something within the human psyche to brown-nose within a hierarchical structure. Regardless of what occurred in the past however, these days regular people can’t function without kissing celebrity arse. I’m not talking about your average, everyday fan (the kind of person who likes a certain singer or actor and waits patiently for their next album or film because they liked their last one) I’m talking about people who follow a famous person around, queue all night just to see their hero briefly walk past and ignore them, people who watch the same concert in multiple venues, scream and shout whenever they see their idol, tattoo themselves with their likeness, fill a room with their merchandise – the type of person to consume any and everything that a celebrity has to offer, regardless of whether they need it or deep down even like it.
This type of behaviour is very strange indeed, and to me this setup also feels like a hustle, I mean these people are peddling their product and in some ways they’re a product too, or at least a brand, and that being the case, they’re selling themselves to us. They’re literally making you pull out your hard-earned cash and spend it on them, they’ve basically got these fans and fandoms not only by the heart and mind, but also by their pockets.
Once you’re fixated by a celebrity, you’ll not only buy their movie or album, but these main products then act like a gateway drug for further crap – once they hook you in, more and more goods are sold to you. The media starts by building up the status of someone, he or she becomes more famous and in turn gains more fans, the marketers and advertisers see this growing fanbase, and suddenly you see the celeb on TV telling you to buy some overpriced perfume. Fans aren’t content with just liking a celebrity, they want to look, smell, dress, and even act like them, and they’ll fall over themselves just to purchase a celebrity-approved product. All this is just a clever, money-making exercise – for the celebrities, for the corporations, for everybody except the regular guy or gal – we just keep working dead-end jobs to keep this capitalist construct chugging along. This scenario has us losing and them winning, fans need to realise that this scheme is just an elongated advert and a famous person is just the salesperson or greeter.
With fans and fandoms, their actions go above and beyond merely enjoying a celebrity and their product, all because these idiots think they have some personal connection or affinity with them – they basically feel connected to someone just because they’ve watched them on screen or heard them through speakers. But, if you take a step back from the flashing lights and the blaring audio and look at this construct impartially, what really is the difference between someone watching Kanye on the TV and then flying across the globe to see him live at a concert, and someone watching a beheading video by ISIS, getting a warm fuzzy feeling in their tummy, and then flying to Syria to meet them? In either scenario, it’s the person watching the screen that’s getting exploited, it doesn’t matter whether it’s Kanye Kardashian–West or Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi – these people don’t care about you but they can’t really function without your support. On a side issue, it’s strange that the same media tells you to love one of these people but hate the other despite there being no discernible difference between the idolatry that surrounds them. The media calls the followers of terrorism “fanatics” but they call followers of celebs “fans”, but the word “fan” is an abbreviation of “fanatic”, if the English language can’t decipher between the two, why should we? So whether it’s ISIS or Hollywood, they both want your mind, your soul, and your attention, the only difference between I.S. and Tinseltown is one wants your life and the other wants your money, but both are undeserving of either.
Regardless of the figurehead, it’s your attention and consumption that fuels these industries. If it wasn’t for the ordinary folk these people wouldn’t exist. People need to realise, we pay to listen to their music, we pay to watch their films, we pay to watch them perform or pay to watch them play sports. Our money and our attention makes them rich and famous, so at what point do you think they’re helping you out? They make a film you may enjoy, they make an album you may listen to, but they didn’t make it personally for you. These artistic commodities are made either because these stars feel they have a calling, some talent, or because they crave fame and money. The first two kinds of celeb couldn’t give a toss whether you buy their product or not – they would have made it regardless of your approval, but the latter only wants your cash – either way they couldn’t give a fuck about you, so at what point do you feel personally or spiritually connected to these people?
Fans need to ask themselves – has the celebrity that you oh so adore ever come to your house and helped you out? Have they ever paid your bills, fed your kids, or leant you moral support when you were ill or depressed? No, celebrities aren’t your friends, they’re not your family, they’re there to get famous and get your money, money that you work hard to make. Face it, aside from your wallet, they couldn’t give a fuck about you.
So why do people not only follow certain celebrities but also form fandoms? Not content with following a celeb on their own, these witless tits then join other like-minded nitwits so that they can feel even more homogeneous and less like individuals. A fandom is very much like sports fans – seeking other grovellers and forming a crappy community, even going so far as to dress alike. A fandom is basically a bunch of football supporters that support a celebrity, but both these collectives are ultimately pointless. Being fixated with a sports team or a sports star and hating a rival team and their fans, even coming to blows over the differing design or colours on your team’s shirt is another odd situation. Does this not sound like a gang to you? Again, if you take a step back, can you tell the difference between the Bloods and Crips and Man U and Man City? And yet again the media will vilify one and almost deify the other.
Acting aggressively over something as arbitrary as a colour is quite obviously strange, but people act similarly when it comes to celebrities too. Take a celebrity feud for example, people will side with one and begin to hate the other. Take a look at the various “Rap Battles” over the years such as Jay-Z vs. Nas or Canibus vs. LL Cool J, during the height of each “battle” each of their fans hated the rival celebrity and detested their fanbase all because of a few words. But true to arse-kissing form, when the feud was over a few years later and the celebs quashed the beef, their sheep-like fans also followed their idol’s actions and made-up. This is the dumbest frigging thing I’ve ever seen, in all likeliness these so-called feuds were a marketing ploy, basically a musical version of a rigged general election, and people actually fell for it. But again, apart from wasting your time and energy attacking your opposition’s fans, what are you getting out of it? I mean what are you, a dog? You attack whoever a celeb tells you to, fight their battles for them – what the hell are you getting out of it?
Fans are essentially a celeb’s attack dog – say something about their false idol on social media or online, and it isn’t the celebrity themselves that retort, just some weird sycophantic fan who takes some personal offence in something that has absolutely nothing to do with them. If someone points out a flaw in their idol, highlights them being racist, sexist, or homophobic, fans ignore the problem and bark at you like you’ve wandered onto their pissing ground. Nobody has a discussion about the matter, they call criticisers “haters” and more often than not hurl abuse at them. All the while the celebrity in question receives more attention, and inadvertently obtains more fame and money.
Before anyone comments, yes I have a sister-site titled What Went Right With where I praise various celebrities who I feel deserve it, but I’m just making everybody aware of the things that I enjoy and that are usually underrated, I’m not getting fanatical about any of it. It’s just entertainment, if it entertains – great, if it doesn’t – fuck it. And, if someone told me that one of the people I’ve written a flattering article about is actually a twat, then fuck them too. While I’m at it, I’ll point out that I’ve bought as many LP’s, CD’s, DVD’s, Blu-ray’s, tickets, and downloads as anybody else out there. But, as soon as an actor or singer makes something shite, I stop buying their product – it’s that simple. If a soft drink changed its ingredients and began to taste crap, would you continue to buy it and would you continue to drink it? No, but for some reason, just because the product is a person, morons the world over stick with a celeb and defend them, even when they’re literally not worth buying into.
This blind admiration of an inferior product is an even weirder situation. When a fan or fandom clings to a celebrity even after they’ve become mediocre, it looks even stranger to an onlooker. Take Prince for example, you can think he’s talented, you can think something like “Purple Rain” is a classic album, but once the guy starts making shitty albums, starts giving copies of his sub-par CD’s away with right-wing newspapers like the Daily Mail, what kind of moron remains his fan? It’s even worse when these celebrities pass away, it’s as though these people become saints – any crap they’ve made gets brushed aside and everybody starts acting like their entire discography or filmography was flawless, and we all know that’s complete bullshit – Michael Jackson, David Bowie, John Lennon, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, Elvis, Notorious Big, and Tupac included. A celebrity should only be praised when they’re making something praiseworthy, they’re a commodity after all, so why buy into something inferior?
It is possible to love the art but feel ambivalence towards the artist, and more importantly, when the art becomes lacklustre, also hating the art – you have to be able to differentiate between what’s worthy of acclaim and what’s not. Yes, that’s objective, but you must admit that nobody has ever produced a classic album again and again or a flawless film over and over, some things are good, others are bad, a sane person can tell the difference and they feel fine with acknowledging that fact, a fan on the other hand can’t tell the difference, everything their idol shits out regardless of the stink they’ll act like it’s freshly cut roses.
So let me reiterate, these celebrities are not your friends, they’re not your family – you and I have paid to get these people where they are. If they’re famous, rich, or both, it’s because of us – the public. You can pretend you have some affinity with these celebrities, but as humans we’re either connected to everybody on the planet or nobody, you can’t step over a homeless person and yet run towards a celebrity. That’s the bigger hustle – you ignore the world around you and focus on the world of fame. And, as the real world lies in ruins we turn a blind eye and focus on the fake world of broadcast and print. I can almost guarantee that while you read this, there’s several celeb-obsessed people within a miles radius of you who are eating the cheapest fast-food, they owe back rent, and yet they’ve spent over a hundred quid on Beats By Dre headphones so some fake-gangsta and assaulter of women can become a billionaire. People’s priorities are all fucked up these days.
Fan The Flames.