Taboo Subjects and Other Observations

A large part of fandom is talking about one’s idols, one’s interest.  In Duranland, the conversations should surround Duran Duran’s music, their videos, their DVDs, their live performances, their interviews, their merchandise, and other things directly related to the band and what projects they are involved in.  Of course, in a fandom as long-lasting as ours, sometimes, our discussions have moved beyond things directly connected to the band is doing.  Some of the discussions that I put into that not-so-directly related category include those surrounding the fan club, presales, band members’ politics, promotion, commercial success, band members’ personal lives, awards and other forms of recognition, and more.  Of course, we also talk about our fan community as well.  Over the years, I have come to discover that there are certain trends to these discussions.  I wanted to acknowledge what I have observed and also wanted to ask why some trends exist because it seems to me that there are subjects that we, as a fandom, don’t really tackle or don’t tackle head on.

The discussions surrounding topics directly related to what the band produces tend to get some discussion but not as much as one would think.  For example, here on the blog, our reviews of different songs or videos gets some views and some comments but they are not the most popular, not even when we were discussing the latest album.  On message boards, the discussions related to direct production of the band seem to involve more men than other topics and seem to include more people with a musical background or more musical knowledge.  I can understand why people with more musical knowledge would contribute more to discussions than those people without that same background.  Obviously, people will contribute more to discussions when they feel comfortable and confident with the topic.  Why does there seem to be more men who discuss Duran’s music?  Plus, these types of discussions seem to occur more often on message boards rather than on twitter.  Is this just the nature of the format?  Do these discussions happen less on twitter due to the 140 character limit?  Or does it have more to do with the fans who frequent message boards over twitter and vice versa? 

As far as discussions connected to the band, from my observations, the amount of discussion and the people participating really does seem to vary based on topic.  Topics like recognition and commercial success tend to be ones that people who discuss the music a lot are interested in.  Yet, discussions relating to the fan club and presales tend to include more women and more people on twitter and facebook.  When I go to message boards outside of the DDM one, it seems like presales aren’t happening at all or that people aren’t even going to shows.  It seems like there are completely different worlds between the message boards and the social networking sites.  Why?  I do understand that many people were on message boards and have left.  When asked, most will say that they didn’t like the drama.  What was that drama like?  What was it focused on?  Was it focused on disagreements about the music or disagreements about commercial success?  Was it simply that the two groups of people focused on different discussions and got sick of seeing the other group focus on the topics that they were uninterested in.  Let me give you an example.  It seems to me that there are posters (people who post) on message boards who constantly ask about album sales.  That is very important to them.  If you don’t care about that, I suppose it could be annoying.  Of course, the person focused on commercial success might get sick of threads about the fan club. 

Beyond the topics directly related the band and the ones indirectly to the band are the topics about us, about the fandom itself.  In this blog, we have brought up subjects that we assume would get a lot of people talking and they don’t or the responses are ones that appear to agree with us.  Why?  Again, I provide an example.  The other day, Rhonda posted a blog in reference to a blog from Nick Rhodes’s ex-wife.  In Julie Anne’s blog, she talked about how fans demanded constant attention from Nick that directly impacted time that they had as a family and pondered why people needed so many autographs and photos with/from the band.  The responses that we got on our blog all agreed with Rhonda’s points as well as Julie Anne’s.  Yet, I know that there are fans who think that it would be okay to approach a band member out in public when he isn’t working.  I also know that there are fans who have a ton of pictures and autographs.  Why didn’t those people defend their views and/or actions in our blog?  Why don’t they explain why they think that the band should be approachable at all times or why they do need so many pictures or autographs?  I’m asking without judgement, by the way.  I’m truly curious.

Then, of course, there are all of the discussions surrounding how we, fans, treat other fans.  The reaction, usually, to any discussion about fan drama or social status is to declare that people are immature, or jealous.  Then, they suggest that the fans grow up.  The questions that tend to pop up are, “Why does this exist in this fandom?  Does it happen in all fandoms?”  Everyone is quick to blame and no one seems willing to take ownership of his/her behavior.  Why is that?  It seems to me that the “drama” that seems to happen in fandom takes at least 2 people.  I will openly admit that I have had people in the fandom who I, at one point, called a “friend” and no longer do.  I’m not innocent here either.  In the situations I have been involved in, for me, most of them were directly related to some of the topics I mentioned here in this blog.  The truth is that we all have a philosophy of sorts when it comes to fandom whether we know it or not.  We all have opinions about meeting the band.  We all have opinions about how many shows people should or should not go to.  We all have opinions about what people should know the band and we have thoughts about what people should own or not own.  Yet, instead of having very difficult discussion about what we think a fan should be like, we keep it to ourselves and then judge other fans when they don’t do what you would do.  So, why don’t we have that discussion?  Why is so hard to talk about this?  I’m sure that we don’t because we are worried about being judged.  Maybe, for some, there is concern that they can’t really defend their positions or philosophy.  I fear, though, that until these topics become less taboo, drama and hurt feelings will continue and our fan community will not be as united as it could be.

-A

7 thoughts on “Taboo Subjects and Other Observations”

  1. Great blog, Amanda. Gives even me something to think about!

    I truly think that part of the reason no one comments on the blog(s) I write about how much we require/demand of the band is because people are afraid to admit their feelings so publicly. No one wants to be judged – and truthfully, that's something *I* need to work on. I don't want people to be afraid to disagree with me, because the whole point of this blog is to allow things to be discussed.

    We all want an open forum without judgment. It's difficult to put into practice, but I certainly try and will keep doing so. No one wants a virtual mirror to be held up to their own actions, yet sometimes – that's what needs to happen. Even for myself, it's very difficult to just put it out there that I feel cheated that I've never had that “moment” with any of them. Sure I can be jealous over seeing pictures of friends with the band. Sure I wish that I'd had that front row seat. Yes, I wish I'd hung out with any ONE of them in a hotel bar. I can't pretend that none of that interest me. OF COURSE IT DOES. I'm a fan!! That said, I've kind of learned from personal experience that if I only focus on that aspect – I'm going to end up both really disappointed, and bitter. So I don't. If it happens it happens, but otherwise – I'm much better off expecting a good show and nothing else.

    There are lots of taboo subjects within fandom and I think Amanda has only touched on a select few here. We both want people to feel comfortable posting their feelings here.

    I'm more than happy with confronting the fact that the band doesn't know who in the hell I am verses anybody else in the crowd. It's hard being ignored or unnoticed because I'm perfectly normal and probably boring. I admit that I've become somewhat jaded about ever getting my moment immortalized on “film” (Ok, a digital file…) with any one of them, and the more I write about what it takes to run a successful fan community the more I know that theirs is sucking wind BIG TIME.

    If that's taboo, then well….I guess I'm not afraid to stick my neck out. Surprise surprise. 😀 -R

  2. Thank you! I absolutely agree that people don't want to be judged, but it happens anyway. People are always watching what we (the fans) are saying and doing. People are judging all the time. It just might not be open on a blog or a board or a social networking site.

    No one is perfect. Goodness knows that I'm not. I'm just trying to figure out a way to fix this problem within the fan community as it sends many people away.

    -A

  3. Perhaps I am too new to fan communities to have a sense of what is “taboo”. The last time I belonged to a fan club was through my my Tiger Beat magazine subscriptions. Hmmmm, let's see….Sean Cassidy for sure, I know there were others but that was too many years ago young ladies.

    I am new enough to here and the other place to be in a place to observe and participate. My observations there and even in some tweets to band members is that fans want attention from the band members. There is a caste system of sorts over there, where the number of posts, the number of pictures, whatever it is, to quote Depeche Mode, “everything counts in large amounts.” It is highly competitive “dog eat dog” [Adam Ant] culture and no one will admit it. No reason to do so.

    I see it for what it is and I don't care. The definition of a fan is subjective, not open to judgement imho, as it is MY definition of how I am a fan. No one can say I'm not a fan because of what I don't have in comparison to what they do have. “Cause I got my own way…..” remember?

    So Rhonda, I'll DISAGREE with you. I have no preconceived notions like the ones you mentioned. Nada.

    Did I get bent out of shape this week about ticketing? You betcha! I got sucked right in to the hype, then crashed and burned in defeat once I learned the truth about the other place and unkept promises or unrealistic expectations. Depends on how you look at it. Lesson learned though. “Won't get fooled again” — well, I wouldn't be human if that were the case 😉

    Enough said. I'm craving some pretzel M&M's big time and they taste awesome if they've been in the freezer.

    Glad Walmart is next door and open 24 hours. Gonna scoot. TTFN
    Deb

  4. Social status is definitely one of the taboo subjects I was referring to. Again, though, it isn't always so cut and dry. It isn't simply about number of pictures or whatever.

    As for you having preconceived notions, you might not but a lot of people do and they might be judging you for how you define being a fan. Is it unfair? Sure. Is it painful? Yes. This is why I argue that we have these discussions so that at least we stop judging.

    -A

  5. Aw, thanks!!! We try. I do tease on occasion, and I'll argue my point rather passionately if I feel that I should – but we really do try to allow everyone to have their say, even if we think you're crazy. 😀 😀 😀 (kidding)

    -R

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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