My family has spent a lot of time together, virtually, since this pandemic began. On Friday, I mentioned about how we have been completing a daily challenge on music, movies or TV. We have also had movie discussions. One person throws out a movie and we all watch it. Then, we plan a get together to discuss. Yes, we chat about what was good, bad, etc. on top of analyzing little details, much like what Rhonda and I have done with everything Duran related. This past week, we watched the movie, Juliet Naked. I looked forward to this one as I had read the book. In fact, I blogged about it here. To summarize the book and movie, it is about a woman whose boyfriend is a huge fan of singer, Tucker Crowe. He is such a mega fan that he runs a website about his fandom. (Can you imagine? How crazy are people like that?! 😉 ) Anyway, after hearing a copy of unreleased demos, the big fan’s girlfriend wrote an anonymous review on the website, arguing that the songs were terrible. Tucker, himself, responded to her, privately, leading to an email relationship between the two.
In the movie, the big fan is presented in a really horrible light. He is self-centered, obsessive and inconsiderate. His fandom is such that viewers are supposed to view it as strange, at best, and awful, at worst. I watched the movie with my parents and my mother could not hold back about how much she hated him. Yet, I recognized that he was fitting the fan stereotype, leading me to have a bit of sympathy for him. In the movie, it was clear that the girlfriend could not relate or understand his fandom. This led me to think about more than just the movie. How important is it to have people in your life that understands fandom, in general, and your fandom, specifically?
Almost every time that I have found myself diving deep into a fan community, I have sought out fellow fans. I think back to the late 90s when I could not get enough of the show, Roswell. I quickly found my way to message boards where I could talk to other fans about every element of the show. Soon enough, it wasn’t enough to just chat online. I longed to meet other fans in person and did. Then, of course, with Duran, I also sought out message boards as well, which led me to attend the Duran Duran Fans Convention in New Orleans in 2004 where I met Rhonda and others. In those situations, I sought out other fans. I wanted to have people in my life that *got* it. Fandom was such a big part of my existence that I needed people like me in my circle. Interestingly enough, I think my family, for the most part, gets fandom. My brother is a huge comic book fan and I was raised as a big White Sox fan due to my parents. They get what it is like to be a fan. Yet, with both Duran and Roswell, I needed more than just understanding. I needed fellow fans who felt like I did.
On the flip side, though, I didn’t cut anyone in my life who wasn’t a fan. I think, though, I have been lucky in that no one has rejected me due to my fandom. While I’m not sure that people really understand my love for Duran, for instance, I don’t feel like people judge me for it either. I, sometimes, get teased but no one accuses me of being weird or obsessive as a result. I’m not sure how I would feel or react if someone did express the idea that something was wrong with me for being a big fan. Would I need to cut people off if they did? Maybe. I think it is one thing to not have people totally get it and something much worse if they hated this aspect of myself. Overall, I feel pretty lucky.
What about the rest of you? First of all, do you have people in your life that totally get your fandom? Did you seek them out or were you lucky enough to have them in your life already? Do you have people in your life who maybe do not understand your specific fandom but understand fandom, in general? Do you have people who don’t really get it but appreciate that fandom matters to you? Do you have people surrounding you who don’t get it and think it is wrong that you are a big fan? How do you navigate it through this? How much does this all matter to you?