Ain’t always black and white…who cares anyway?

This is one of those days where I’m having difficulty settling on a specific topic. There are a few things swirling in my head. Seeds of an idea mostly, and I’m just not quite sure where those seeds will end up…or begin their journey.

The one sort of “umbrella” topic, so to speak – is that of opinion. I think it’s the one thing that is never short in supply within the Duran Duran fan “community”. (Not just the paid one, but rather the one that all of us as fans belong.) We all have big, passionate opinions about this band, and I think that to some degree – myself certainly included – we all have trouble accepting the fact that others probably have a completely different opinion from our own! I’ll admit it, sometimes I wander around online, completely mystified as to how others can see things so incredibly differently. I desperately try to see the other side, to remain open-minded, but a lot of times, it’s really tough. Sometimes the best I can do is absolutely nothing (and sometimes I even fail at that!!). I fight the urge to speak out, to type in a radical response or to cry out on Twitter…and the best part is that it’s all for the love of a band.

We’re all insane, aren’t we?

Just last week a new group popped up on Facebook, commemorating that DDM has now been around for ten years. At first, I really had to sit down and count the years.  I thought for sure they were mistaken. I joined DDM as quickly as it was announced, but I never really got involved on the boards. They were too busy, too populated, and I couldn’t keep up. I didn’t feel comfortable and I had a difficult time “meeting” people. So I steered clear. Others though, they loved the place and I certainly don’t blame them. We all find our “home” online in one fashion or another. It wasn’t very long before I started hearing of drama (or Durama as it might be affectionately named), and once in a while my own board would hear full stories of the in-fighting on DDM. We would sit back and be amused and sometimes we would even come to our own conclusions over whatever topic was being argued. (Yes, we were probably Monday Morning Quarterbacking. I can’t apologize. So be it.) In any case, the boards at DDM soon came to be known for drama…or for people having passionate opinions about this band and whatever else came along. When the Facebook group came up in my News Feed, I won’t lie – the very first thing I did was message Amanda with the link and ask “I wonder how long it’ll be until there’s fighting?”

I didn’t have to wait long. In fact, I think I gave it a week and it happened within the first five days.  Nice.

It doesn’t really matter what the arguing was about – some might disagree – but the larger point here is that it’s all just opinion and experiences. We each come to this table, the “Duran Duran” table, with a host of our own thoughts, opinions, expectations and experiences. I’m right there with the rest of you. I have my own opinions about the band, what I expect from them, what I’m willing to put up with, and what I think should be deal breakers. Some people expect them to treat everyone kindly all the time. Some expect them to simply play the shows for which they’ve contracted themselves to play (novel concept really), others believe that there should never be any expectations at all, and still others believe that yes, the band is perfect as is and might be appalled at any suggestion otherwise. Regardless, each of us feels passionately about our opinion. We are fans, and for the most part we’re probably not just casual fans. We are fans that have plenty invested here – not just monetarily, but certainly emotionally as well. We feel passionately about this band. So, when we come together to discuss something that one or more of us feel passionately about, fireworks can and usually do, happen.

What is important to remember, and I am just as much guilty of this as anyone else, is that none of us are necessarily wrong. For example, I have no doubt that there are people out there that have had wonderful interactions with the band every single time they’ve seen them. I wholeheartedly believe anyone who says that to me, and I also believe it has nothing to do with size, shape or whatever else is being mentioned. On the other hand, I have zero doubts that there are people out there who have had less-than-wonderful moments with them as well.  I’ve seen some of this with my own eyes – so yes, I know it to also be true. I also believe that those moments, positive or negative, shape how we feel about the band on a personal level. It is absolutely possible to love the music and not necessarily feel great about the people who perform it. Those feelings do not necessarily determine your fandom, although some may disagree. I just know plenty of fans, good fans, who go to the shows, love the music, and leave the rest to others…and that’s OK.

I remember back to the Unstaged show at the Mayan Theater here in Los Angeles. I thought it was an outstanding show. I had a great time, I had some interaction with my favorite up there on stage…and I came out of that show happy to be a fan. I felt it was among their better shows. I came home, mentioned how I felt online, only to be told by several people that the show was crap. I was completely appalled and furious that people could possibly feel that way about the show I’d raved about. Perception is everything. I had a great time that night and while I’d like to believe I’m really unbiased (hardly!), I am not. Other people might have been in the back or they were at home, hearing something much different than I heard in front of the band. Maybe those folks had gone to better shows in the past. Maybe I was commenting more on my interaction with the band than I was the quality of the show. Who knows? I just know that none of us were really wrong to feel the way we did even though at the time I felt they were fighting words. Perception is everything, and like I said – I’m just as much at fault as anyone else in this area.

So I keep trying. I keep reminding myself that my experiences are only my own, and that my perception is just that – MY perception. It might not be 100% correct.  It takes all of us to make up this fandom, and that alone is something to truly awe. It’s “just” a band, and yet there is so much passion. That passion connects us all. Keep that in mind while you’re wielding those words, ready to strike.

One thing I do know for certain is that fans want to be able to have a safe arena to discuss these things. They want to feel as though their opinion counts, and that even if they come to the table with completely different experiences, from different areas of the world – that their words, their thoughts, and their feelings will not only be tolerated, but will be respected.  That’s really important. I don’t always agree with everything people comment back here on the blog, but I strive to remain respectful (and sometimes I fail miserably). It isn’t always easy, but the payoff is worth the effort – especially when people come to Amanda and I and urge us to keep going and to possibly consider starting a message board and/or a central hub for fans.

That last part is a tall order, but one I’m kicking around in my head.


4 thoughts on “Ain’t always black and white…who cares anyway?”

  1. I'd be very cautious with the idea of starting a message board Rhonda. We see how fast DDM10 went from 'hey, good to see you' to 'hey, your opinion sucks, mine is obviously the right one'. I left DDM message boards because of all the Durama, but my membership is still in tact, ya know, in case of a show or something crazy like that. But I'm much more content with the great group of ladies I hang out with on FB in our group and where there is no Durama. I must admit though, I do enjoy going into the DDM10 group to watch the sparks fly. It's been awhile since I've seen a good knock down, drag out internet argument.

    Great topic!

  2. As you can see, I have not started a message board. 😀

    I was actually considering more along the lines of a centralized hub thing for all of the Duran sites….a message board would require moderation that I don't think I have time to do on top of everything else, and I wouldn't allow it to become the cesspool that seems to happen elsewhere. The funny thing is, I belonged to a message board for a long time prior to blogging, and we just didn't have the trouble that other places had. It was understood that if you were gonna come and “play”, you followed the rules of the sandbox or else you'd be kicked out by the rest of us who WANTED to follow the rules. It worked. I have no idea why.

    The bottom line here for me is that Amanda and I have worked very hard on Daily Duranie. If we started something else, you could expect the same type of time, effort and quality to follow. We really do want to grow this blog into something. I just don't know what yet – I'm waiting for the universe to tell me what needs to happen next. 🙂 -R

  3. O yes, the DDM is 10 years old. I can remember I didn't want to join because I thought we're all equals and we had the right to share the same things… and also didn't want to 'coz I was kind of afraid to post my opinions on the Forum!
    However hot, insane, crazy, our fan community is I love it and I have found the company of dear, awesome peeps (You, for example!) but I am used to lie a little whenever I'm asked for my ideas on hot topics 'coz I know the possible B Side effects of my words.
    Our fandom actually is like a Yin-Ylang thing (hope the spelling was correct): our loyal support is melt with our passion in defending our own opinions.

  4. I like this one. I am in that group and a DDM member since the first year, though technically my membership lapsed this January. When I signed up in Oktober 2003, I did not own a computer yet. I knew nothing of the site. I just signed on so I could get e-mails (through my mum's addy) in case a tour was announced. It was over a year before I got a computer. But I kept my membership and I discovered the forums when I went in search of someone to talk to when Wes Died. I was very upset and needed someone to discuss it with. A search led me to the forums and since I was a member, I was able to sign on and read. I was immediately drawn in. I discovered a community. I found people who understood what I was going through and my complete obsession with this band of Brits. That was January 2005. I wondered why I couldn't have had that sort of place to connect with people for the last 23 1/2 years I had been a fan. It made me realize just how badly it sucked I didn't have a computer sooner!

    Anyway, I am a bit off topic here. Back to the FB group and the DDM Durama. I also try to understand things from different perspectives. I realize we have different faves. I also realize some are more vocal about the things they do that annoy them, like Simon's stupid facial hair, lol. I just do not understand those fans who seem to think that if you criticize someone you must not really love them. Seriously? You should see the things my hubby and I have said about each other @ times over the course of a 24 year marriage (on the 12th of this month, by the way). And with Simon I have loved him for about 31 plus years. I think as a fan of the band that long, if I have personally seen him do or say something I disagree with, I have a right to say how I feel about it. Same with the choices they make as a band. I know it is ENTIRELY their right to create what they want and market it how they see fit, but that does not mean I do not occasionally think they have made some HORRIBLE mistakes in the choices they have made in marketing or timing or whatever. I am NO LESS OF A FAN for expressing those ideas. Just as I am no less a patriotic American if I have some very vocal things to say about the way the government runs things. That is my point, basically. WE ALL HAVE OPINIONS. and a right to them. I am willing to agree to disagree with people so long as they RESPECT me. I mean I have friends who HATE Warren. I LOVE Warren. I am fine with their choices. I can't say anything about it other than please just be respectful of things I post on my own page and when you are speaking about him. No need to be rude. We CAN all get along. We all just need to be adults about it all.

We (Amanda and Rhonda) appreciate discussion and differences of opinion. We respectfully ask that you fully read the blog before bitching us out. If you're only here to take us down a notch, note that we moderate replies (meaning we're not printing rude comments). Thanks a bunch!

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