Tag Archives: Duran Duran fandom

A Feeling That Runs So Deep That It Scares Me, Too

This past week, month, and year I have been thinking a lot about safety.  As a teacher, I’m very familiar with the idea of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.  If you don’t know about this psychological theory, it is pretty simple.  People have a hierarchy of needs that include physiological, safety, social belonging, esteem, self-actualization and self-transcendence.  Basically, people need to have their physiological needs met first.  This makes sense, right?  People require air, food, water, etc.  If they don’t have those things, the rest of needs cannot happen.  If people have food, water, etc, then they can worry about safety, which includes both physical and emotional safety.

This week featured a test to Duranies sense of emotional safety.  Everything fans believed about Duran was called into question with this accusation of sexual assault.  (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’ll refer you to this blog post here.)  I think I can speak for a lot of fans when I say that Duran has provided me with an emotional safety net of sorts.  It is the “place” I go when I’m feeling stressed, overwhelmed, sad or whatever.  The examples that immediately pop into my head are numerous.  I remember listening to Ordinary World over and over again to deal with my overwhelming loneliness when I first moved to my city over 20 years ago.  Before the Rain played in the background as I hugged my mother as we waited for my grandma to take her last breath at Christmas in 2010.  For years, Duran has provided the catalyst to countless friendships, parties and trips.  I felt confident in my fandom as I knew that the band members, while human and imperfect, are also good guys.  They do the right thing when it counts.  So, when something comes out that questions that assumption, it hurts.  It causes pain and confusion.  It makes my emotional safety net feel a little less strong, a little less secure.

Since the allegation came out and statements were made both by Simon and Katy, that emotional safety net has been slowly repairing itself.  It is easy to begin to assume that this woman, for whatever reason, got it wrong.  I want to believe that.  In many ways, I need to believe that.  Yet, something has been eating at me that calls into question my emotional safety.

When the articles first appeared, many fans responded as Rhonda and I did with a complex mix of emotions.  While we wanted to simply  side with Simon, we understood that issues like this are inherently more complex than this even when the allegation is false or appears false.  Emotions tend to ride way higher than an accusation of verbal abuse, for example.  Sexual assault is one that is wrapped around centuries of mistreatment of women as well as individuals’ sense of self-worth on such a fundamental level that there are no words to adequately describe it.  To say that it is a dicey topic is an understatement.

Some fans, though, immediately began to lash out from what I saw.  They didn’t strike out against the situation, the circumstance, the fact that our happy place was violated.  No, some seemed to focus their anger on the woman, the accuser.  Now, I understand why.  These fans love Simon and want to stick up for him, no matter what.  They wanted her to know that they believe him to be a stand-up, honorable guy.  I get that.  I really do.  We have often talked about Duranland feels like a family in that we don’t always get along but we always have each other’s backs and definitely have the band’s back.  It is the idea that Duranies can criticize the band because of our extra special Duranie card but others without that card cannot.  They are simply not allowed.

While I understand the psychological need to stand up for one’s family member, one’s hero, in this case, I struggle with some of what I saw.  It wasn’t always just, “I’m sorry, woman, but I think you misinterpreted what happened or I don’t think your story is true because Simon is a great guy,” I saw insults.  Name calling.  Harassment.  It was just defending as it sure felt like attacking.  Yes, I’m sure many of you say that she deserved it.  But does she?  Assuming that she made up this story for whatever reason, what purpose does it serve to say these things?  Let’s say that she did it for money.  Would people harassing her, calling her names, or trying to prove that she is a terrible person really stop that?  If she did it for attention, wouldn’t/couldn’t these types of reactions reinforce that?  What’s the goal?  Hoping that she would take it back?  Even if she did, would that be the same thing has having a time machine to go back to before it even came out.  I don’t think so.  Okay.  Maybe you still think that this particular woman still deserved each and every negative statement to or about her.  I wonder, though, what it does for others.

What message does it send to (real) victims?  To me, it sends tells them that it is best not to come forward.  Why?  It reminds them that this could and probably would happen to them.  Why would anyone want that?

Then, I think about the message it sends to me about my emotional safety net.  There have been times when individual fans or people have done or said something against Rhonda and/or myself that have made this fan community feel a little less safe to me.  Yet, I could always dismiss those moments to a few individual people.  I could remind myself that the majority of fans in the community don’t act like this or feel like that.  Now, I’m not so sure.  This situation has left me feel shaken.  It isn’t just because someone I admire was accused of doing something really awful.  No, I can dismiss that as one woman making a ridiculous allegation.  What is harder to dismiss is the venom I saw from fellow fans.  It made me fear for my emotional safety in this community as well as others.  Could fans turn that rage on me?  On other people?  Yes, I know that people could argue that this woman’s crime was so bad and that I would never do something like that.  While that is true, where is the line of what is deserving of that treatment?  Who decides it?

Maybe my internal make up is different than others.  Yes, maybe I am “soft” or that I feel too much.  I can acknowledge that.  To me, though, two wrongs don’t make a right.  It didn’t take back the accusation or make the situation better.  Not really.  Maybe typing an insult or calling her name made some feel better at the moment but it only made me feel worse.  Support Simon.  Love him up.  I’m down with that.  Send him tweets or messages.  Thank Katy for her defense.  It just seems to be the more productive and healing way to go.

-A

I’ve Seen You on TV: Duran Duran on BBC Four

Watch anything good lately?  Do anything fun?  I did!  Yesterday, I was able to catch the two new specials on Duran Duran that aired on BBC Four.  Thanks to friends who pointed me to tvcatchup.com I was able to watch!  I had to watch while the shows aired, which was fine.  Luckily, I had time to do so.  As I watched, Rhonda did as well, which allowed us to exchange our reactions via Twitter and text messages.  If you haven’t had to chance to watch, I recommend heading over to Duran Duran Argentina’s Facebook page here as both videos can be found there!

When thinking about this blog, I pondered which direction should I go.  Should I review the shows themselves?  I could even though I didn’t watch for that purpose.  No, I wanted to just enjoy.  That doesn’t mean that I didn’t take notice to various things like neither Warren nor Dom weren’t mentioned or that whole albums were left out.  Yet, I didn’t want to let those things bother me.  Therefore, I don’t think I want to review the shows in that way.  I could at a later time but…not right now.  I would want to rewatch them first before, anyways.

Clearly, the focus of the blog has to be something else.  After I got done watching yesterday, I tried to get back to my to do list but I found myself thinking about how much has changed and what hasn’t.  When we started this blog, we had this idea that we would celebrate fandom, work to understand it as well as do the same with Duran Duran and our fan community.  This meant that we were critical at times, held up mirrors to ourselves and fellow fans, etc.  Looking back, fandom felt super important to me.  It was at the top of my list. Now, I cannot say the same.  It has nothing to do with Duran Duran or even fandom.  No, it has more to do with my life and circumstances out of my control.  My priorities have changed, which has caused my relationship with fandom to shift.

When fandom was essential, I felt like I had the freedom, the time, the ability to be a critical thinker, to be someone who loves to analyze what I saw, heard and read.  Now, fandom needs to do something different for me.  It must be the source of joy, fun, and love.  As Rhonda and I watched the shows yesterday, both of us were reminded of why we love this band so much.  When I watch shows that capture the band’s history, not only do I get to hear so much great music but I’m also reminded of their history, which in many ways feels like mine.  As the band talked about Ordinary World, for example, I instantly thought back to when that song captured my attention and meant the world to me as I adjusted to a significant change.  When the reunion came up, Rhonda right away pointed that this is when our story started.  All of this fills my heart with a joy that I struggle to describe.

Then, of course, the history of the band was followed with the band members sharing their influences.  Before that show started, I didn’t know if I was going to like it.  I worried it would be them introducing something and then watching that something for awhile.  I figured that the band would be talking only for a couple of minutes.  Instead, it was like watching a conversation between them, reminding me of the clear friendship between them.  Likewise, it showed their personal sides rather than the famous, rock star sides.  I loved it.

What did all of this tell me?  Some things have not changed.  I love Duran Duran as much as I ever have.  The best time is sharing that love with friends even if it is just through social media or text messaging.  That said, because of where I am at, fandom, Duran Duran needs to stay in that “joy only” box.  I cannot see myself getting upset about any little detail that might have annoyed me or made me question this, that or the next before.  No, Duran is just going to be my fun, happy place.

-A

Does Fandom Need Feeding?

The other day I received a text message from someone whom I once considered a very close friend.  In recent years, we contact each other only a few times a year despite living in the same city.  This got me thinking about friendship.

This local friend was someone I used to be in daily or almost daily contact with.  When talked frequently, we got along well.  We got together a lot for either something major like traveling to a show or simply running errands together.  Now, though, I have a hard time imagining all of that.  When we talk now, we struggle to converse.  It feels like it is hard to understand where the other is coming from while we force ourselves to communicate.  It makes me miss the old times when we talked all the time.  Likewise, I miss the friendship.  I wish that I didn’t feel so distant from her now.  At some point, we stopped speaking so often and now we suffer for it.  Our friendship needed to be fed in order to be maintained.  I think we needed it to understand each other.

Then, of course, there are other friendships like one I have with a friend from high school.  We don’t see each other often and don’t talk much, especially since she lives in Sweden now.  That said, whenever we get together, it takes no time at all before we are right back to where we always were.  If I had to guess, I think part of the deal is that we never really communicated.  We hung out more.  Basically, we got together to have fun, not to share deep thoughts.  Does not mean that there isn’t an emotional connection there, but it is different when that relationship matters a lot to you, which is more of the situation for the first friend.

In thinking about all of this, I began to wonder if the same thing is true for fandom.  Is Duran like the first friend in that the band means a ton to me and needs to be fed frequently?  Or is it more like the second when I don’t have to speak to that often but when I seek it out, I have a ton of fun?

In many ways, I feel like I have assumed that fandom is like the first friend.  After all, this is part of the reason I do this blog and the question of the day.  I want my fandom to be part of my day-to-day existence.  Am I worried that if I don’t spend time on it every day that my affection will decrease?  Looking back to the last time the band was in between albums, I wrote a lot of blogs about how I worried that if the band didn’t speed up the process, they would lose fans because I worried that the fandom did need to be fed frequently in order to be maintained.

Yet, could it really be more like the second friend in which it doesn’t need constant attention, but when I can get to it, it is a ton of fun?  This could very well be the case.  After all, all it takes is for me to think about a show to get all excited and to put fandom first.  That said, even if it is more like the second type of friend, I really would like both.  I need the fun and excitement from the second friend but the companionship from the first.  I like having the constant presence of those who matter in my daily lives even if the affection could remain without it.

What about the rest of you?  How do you view fandom?  Is it something that you need to feed to keep it alive or does it just take a little fun to restore the love?

-A

You’re Going to Find Out

On Monday, Rhonda wrote a blog highlighting her biggest personal moment with Duran Duran.  (If you didn’t read it, go here.)  Since then, I, too, took time to think about mine.  Is mine like Rhonda’s in that my moment is a return to the fandom?  Is it the time that I met Rhonda and other fans?  Maybe it was something like one of the trips to the UK.  Like Rhonda, I think that I could choose any of those and would be right on in doing so.  Yet, I tend to think of my fandom journey to be in parts and each part has a big moment.  Thus, I have to decide which part matters most to me.

Part one of my fandom definitely has to be fandom as a kid.  This is when I fell in love with the band in the first place.  In thinking about that time, the big moment has to be when I fell in love with the Reflex.  It pushed me from casual fan to Duranie.  If that hadn’t happened, I doubt I would have still been a fan today.  Therefore, that is definitely a worthy moment.  Biggest personal one, though?  I’m not sure.

The next part of my fandom surrounds the reunion and returning to being a loud and proud Duranie.  I know that I have talked about this a lot on here but it is worth sharing a little again.  Around the time of the reunion, I found myself overwhelmed with the beginning of my teaching career with grad school on top of that.  To say that I didn’t have a lot of extra time would be an understatement of epic proportions.  I heard rumblings of a reunion but put blinders on as I kept telling myself that I didn’t care.  Interestingly enough, as I finished grad school, I found myself watching the silly TV show, Roswell, religiously.  I appreciated the escape with it and the outsider as hero theme.  My lonely self sought out others who were as into the show as I was.  This lead me to message boards and eventually to meeting other Midwestern fans.

One of these fellow fans mentioned Duran Duran in passing one day.  That is all it took.  I had free time by then as I had finally gotten that Master’s Degree and needed something to obsess over.  My Roswell internet searches turned to Duran Duran ones and to Duranies, which eventually led me here.  That moment, that one mention certainly was a big moment in terms of my Duran fandom.  The biggest?  I am sure that I could make the case for that, for sure.  While that one comment got me back to Duran, I’m not sure I would vote for it as the biggest.  Stick with me here because my biggest moment, I think, will explain why this one didn’t matter as much.

After that reminder, I found Duran message boards and made the decision to attend that Duran fans convention in 2004 in New Orleans.  This, of course, is the event in which I met Rhonda and so many other fans whom I’m lucky enough to call my friends.  From there, this led to going on tour, seeing a bunch of concerts and so much more as part three of my fandom.  I might even say that this led to so much fun that I’m still getting over it.  Yet, despite all that, I’m still not sure that I would pick the convention as the biggest.

In 2008, my fandom took a turn for the fourth segment of my fandom journey.  It ceased being nothing but fun.  I noticed fans behaving in ways that made me curious.  Heck, I found myself doing things and thinking things that normally I wouldn’t.  At first, I tried to ignore observation of myself and others and just have fun, which wasn’t always easy for a variety of reasons (Red Carpet Massacre division, anyone?).  At the end of 2008, Rhonda and I decided to go to a few shows in the Northeast.  During that tour, I lost a friendship as this person made some decisions that felt like she  placed fandom over friendship.  I was hurt.  Friendships mean the world to me.  As someone who struggled (and struggles) to make friends, I appreciate each friend.  When I have strong, loyal friendships, I feel stronger and more confident in everything I do.  When it feels like I don’t matter or don’t matter much to a friend, it feels like being stabbed in the gut.

I had a choice then.  One option could have been to walk away from fandom.  After all, a lot of the fun had left with the Astronaut era.  If I had chosen that, then, I think the biggest moment with Duran would have been attending that convention.  Yet, I chose something different.  I sought out understanding.  I wanted to “get” or comprehend this former friend of mine.  I needed to understand myself, too.  The idea was simple.  If I could understand fans better, then I could figure out how to make it fun again.  This decision, of course, has led Rhonda and myself to research fandom for years.  We have written about our experiences and our research with the goal of one day getting something out there.  The moment that Rhonda and I came up with the idea of researching and writing about fandom took my fandom to a new level.  It led to this blog, much research and more.  Frankly, it increased whatever commitment I had to Duran.  I cannot see just walking away now or ever.

-A

If You Leave a Light On For Me

Some people might describe me as intense.  When I am into something, I dive deep no matter how much it seems to others that I’m drowning.  I don’t have a half speed.  It is either all or nothing.  One can see this aspect of my personality in everything I do.  When I’m focused on teaching, I’m really attentive on whatever needs to be done.  At work, I rarely even take a minute or two to think about much else.  When I’m working on a political action, it is all I can think about.  I start dreaming about it.  Then, when I’m on tour, I won’t let work or politics invade my fun.

Lately, fandom has been on the back burner.  Part of this, of course, is because it is quiet in Duranland.  The other part is that I have been in the work and politics zone, not thinking much about Duran.  Yet, even when I have narrowed my focus, it doesn’t take much to bring me right back to my Duran fandom.  I have had a few moments like this in the last couple of weeks that I just have to share.

The first return to Duran fandom was last Friday.  A week ago, I found myself at work sitting around a circle with my colleagues having a structured discussion as part of the school’s professional development day.  Usually, these discussions center around some topic related to education.  Instead, though, the questions this time were more personal.  For example, everyone had to share a passion of theirs.  Another question had to do with a time in which you made “lemonade out of lemons.”  As soon the question was asked of the group, I chuckled remembering a certain trip to the UK in the spring of 2011.  This, of course, was the UK trip of non-shows.  Rhonda and I had traveled there to see four shows with a couple of friends.  Instead, all of those shows were canceled.  We had a choice then.  Be upset or make the best out of a crappy situation.  Instead of being angry, we used the time to see some sites, to walk around Birmingham to get a real sense of the band’s history and more.  I think we even wrote a blog with the title of making lemonade out of lemons.  I, for one, am glad that we pushed ourselves to make lemonade out of lemons.  Did I share this story to the group at work?  You better believe I did!

A second example of a moment that recently brought me back to thinking about Duranland was last Monday.  Rhonda wrote a little blog to celebrate my birthday, which was super kind of her.  The blog featured a ton of memories and experiences that we have shared together in this fandom.  I laughed and/or smiled with every example.  It reminded me of all of the truly great times that we have shared together and have shared in the name of fandom.  Rhonda definitely picked out some amazing examples and even better is the fact that we could probably come up with about fifty more examples.  Of course, the best part is that we aren’t done with this fandom yet.  I would like to make more memories in the future!

Speaking of touring, as I drove home from work yesterday the song “Last Night in the City” came up in the shuffle.  Like the other two moments, this song instantly reminded me of being a Duranie, of the best part of being one, which is going on tour.  I remember when I was trying to bond with the Paper Gods album.  This was the song that did it.  It isn’t because it is my favorite on the album (even though I enjoy it).  No, it is because I connected with the lyrics.  To me, it describes life on tour perfectly.  After all, how many times have we been up all night partying after a show?  Being on tour is always our time.  It is where we get connected.

As I sit here on a Saturday morning about to head out to a political meeting, I’m thankful that I have moments like the ones I described here.  As much as I love my job and being involved, politically, fandom provides the fun that gives me the energy to do the rest.  This blog keeps my fandom alive.  Heck, even the daily questions help remind me of this aspect of my life.  I’m thankful that I have something that keeps bringing me back to Duran fandom.

-A

“Terrifying and Fascinating”

I made a promise to myself to take a couple of concentrated hours every weekend to work on my fandom projects.  Last weekend, I went to a coffee shop, made myself comfortable and got to work.  I thought that being away from home helped me to stayed focused.  Unfortunately, this weekend, the weather is not cooperating.  It is April 14th.  Spring should have sprung.  Yet, here I am with a winter weather advisory that features freezing rain, ice, wind, and snow (reports vary from 2-5 inches to 6-9 depending on the temperature).  Great.  So, I’m not leaving my house.  Despite that, I’m keeping to my plan.

I decided to focus on fandom research before blogging for two reasons.  One, it is easy enough to put the blog first which often means the rest gets pushed aside.  Two, and more importantly, I had no idea what to write about.  I hoped that working on related projects might spark a topic.  Indeed, it has!

I had been searching YouTube for just the right video to showcase both Duran Duran and their fans.  Sounds easy, right?  Not really.  I still really haven’t found something perfect but I did run across this video here:

I am sure that most of you will recognize these video clips as they are clips from Sing Blue Silver.  Most notably, they are generally clips in which fans, female fans, are screaming.  While that might be interesting enough, the description of the video read, “Fascinating and terrifying. This is a video I edited of various girls going absolutely NUTS for Duran Duran. This footage was filmed between Nov 1983 and April 1984, during their massive world-wide tour. For context, this was all filmed before The Reflex single was even released in April 1984. The video for that song was filmed near the end of the tour in March 1984 at Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens. I was barely a toddler at the time but I have clear-as-day memories of girls in my neighborhood having a similar, almost venomous passion for this band.”

Fascinating and terrifying?  What exactly is terrifying about this?  I’m not sure I’m following.  Then, the creator describes the passion for the band as “venomous” passion.  Venomous as in poisonous?  Hm…None of the comments on the video seemed bothered by the description but I have to admit that it doesn’t sit well with me.

Are screaming female fans terrifying?  Is there something scary about that group?  If so, what?  Do they have the capability of biting or stinging as the term venomous assumes?  Now, I admit that I definitely could have been one of those screaming fans in 1984 as my best friend and I at the time did plenty of that so maybe I’m taking it personally.  Yet, is there really something wrong with screaming for a band you like?  What about when you are a kid?  A teenager?  An adult woman?

The fact that the screamers on the clips were mostly (almost all?  All?) women and girls really makes me suspicious about the description.  Is this somehow putting down women and girls or it is really just about putting down the level of excitement?  Based on my research about fans and fandom, I’m well-aware that fans get a bad reputation of being hysterical and crazy but describing a group of fans who are mostly women as “hysterical”, “terrifying” and “venomous” seems like a step beyond that.

What do you all think?

-A

Can’t Tell the Real from Reflection

I wonder how many Duran Duran lyrics we have used in blog posts.  We have written a LOT of blog posts so it would be many.  More than many.  Why this lyric?  Why this title?  Simple.  I have started a period of reflection.  I don’t think I would be overstepping to say that Rhonda, too, is reflecting.  This is pretty normal after a big project finishes.

Just to catch people up.  Last weekend, I was at the National Popular Culture Conference, presenting our research on female fandom.  Since then, we have received quite a lot of feedback through Facebook, Twitter, this blog and even our email.  In fact, we have received so much feedback that I haven’t even responded to everyone.  I had hoped to spend time this week doing just that, but it has been an extremely busy one both with work but also plans and appointments.  Needless to say, I’m feeling pretty tired.  Despite being so busy, I have begun to think about next steps and where to go from here.  Rhonda and I have begun some initial conversations as well.  I know that I cannot possible take all weekend to reflect  due to other responsibilities, but I do plan to take at least a couple of concentrated hours for this purpose.

So what exactly will I be thinking about?  First, I want to think about where Rhonda and I should go as far as our book/research projects.  Funny enough, we suffer, in some ways, from having too many possible angles to pursue.  Of course, I will take into consideration all of the responses we got back on the presentation.  Overall, we received lots of positive feedback, including from experts at the conference.  Beyond that, I will think about what we are most interested in and passionate about as well as what might be most important to share in today’s climate and society.

Second, we need to think about how this blog will fit into the picture.  In some ways, the blog has served its initial purpose.  Thus, what is its purpose now?  What should it be?  How do we best fit this with our other projects?  Which one is being prioritized?  I know that there are dedicated readers (which we are extremely grateful for) and I know that new readers find us all the time. For that reason, among others, we plan to continue the blog in some way, shape or form.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, how does all of this fit into our fandom?  This is an area that we have struggled to figure out for years.  Yes, we are fans.  We love Duran.  There is no denying of that. Yet, we are more than that.  We chose to also study fandom as academics, as researchers because we wanted to understand ourselves and other fans.  Some people love us when we are fans and hate us when we are academics and vice versa.  Yet, we recognize that we are both and want to continue being both.  The question then is how to both well at the same time.

One thing I know, for sure, my recent presentation has had one very significant affect.  It kick started my brain.  Time is now needed to process it all.

-A

 

Presentation Video: Uniqueness of Competition in Female Dominated Fandoms

I am tired.  The last few days were pretty mentally and emotionally exhausting  that also included a very long drive home.  While I need time to process everything regarding the conference, I do know a few things already.  First, I feel confident that I gave the presentation well and that I was thoroughly prepared.  Second, I did receive some useful and not-as-useful feedback, though all coming from good intentions.  That said, I am left wondering if it was worth it in terms of the time, stress and money.  I hoped to feel super accomplished and motivated and that did not happen.  I know that I did learn from the experience, though.

On that note, I know a lot of people wanted to see the presentation.  I recorded me practicing it from my hotel room.  That means that this does not adequately show what it was like to see the real presentation but I do share the ideas and as much of the visuals as could fit on the screen.

-A

 

Step Out Into the Future

This is it.  Today is the day.  I’m sure by now you are all sick to death of me talking about my presentation or presenting at this Popular Culture Conference.  I have a few things that I want to comment on before I head downstairs to the room in which I will present.

First of all, I want to thank all of you.  So many of you have helped me/us with this project that I definitely need to acknowledge that and offer my gratitude.  This past week, when I needed images of whatever, all I needed to do was hop on social media.  I would ask for this, that or the next thing and you all posted exactly what I needed.  If I wasn’t feeling supported, this would have done it.  So, I thank each and every one of you that shared a photo or two or ten of your collections or your live crowd shots.  I ended up with more than I need.  That said, having choices was so nice.

Second, beyond the sharing of photos, I also want to thank people for all of the supportive comments.  You all have such confidence in us/me that I’m overwhelmed.  I am not sure what I did to deserve this but I appreciate it beyond words.  I can only hope that I will live up to these expectations today.  Truly, I want to be able to report back that I did well and that none of you were wrong to have such faith in me.

Now, I know a lot of you are dying to see my presentation.  I did my best to record me practicing yesterday.  While it won’t be the same as watching me give it in person and you can only see part of the visual presentation, I’m hoping to be able to upload it tomorrow when I’m home and share it then.  I do want to warn you all, though.  Rhonda and I don’t beat around the bush and we do not always paint our fandom is the best of light.  That said, we explain what we believe is the cause of our biggest flaw as a fan community.  Our goal, though, was to provide some hope to make our fan community the best place in the world to be.  After all, this week has shown me how awesome, amazing, supportive and loving this community can be and makes me proud to be a Duranie along side all of you.

It has been an interesting experience to be at this conference.  I haven’t had a ton of conversations with others, which I’m a little sad about, but I have pushed myself out of my comfort zone.  If that wasn’t enough, I have definitely learned a lot from many of the presenters I had the pleasure to watch.  I’m thrilled to be able to share our theory with others who will have knowledge and expertise in the field.  I look forward to see what questions and comments people have for us.  Likewise, I’m hoping that the presentation itself will be a moment of growth for me.  As Rhonda and I exchanged tweets yesterday, one thing became clear.  This theory of ours is one that we believe we could expand into something.  The future awaits and I’m ready to step out to meet it.

-A

You Speak to the Crowd

When Rhonda and I started this blog, we promised ourselves that we would never shy away from topics that might create some sort of stir.  Today’s blog is one of those.  Consider this a warning to you (and to me!).

Yesterday, DDHQ posted a few pictures of John Taylor at the March for Our Lives Los Angeles, a march advocating gun control.  I’m certain that DDHQ knew that posting these pictures would get people excited.  Some people might love it and others…not so much.  Normally, I just look at the posts and move on as I rarely read the comments for a variety of reasons.  Yet, something possessed me to look at them yesterday.  On Twitter, the reaction to the photos and John’s participation in the march was generally positive.  Facebook, on the other hand, was a very different story.

Within an hour or so of being posted on Facebook, comments numbered in the hundreds.  Some loved that John demonstrated and others expressed negative reactions ranging from concern to disappointment to anger.  Instead of responding on the thread, I am opting to respond to some of what I saw here.  This way I can address the negative reactions as a whole rather than individual comments.

A number of fans responding to the photos commented on the fact that John Taylor is British and should not have a say.  Indeed, he is British, but, he is also an American citizen now after going through the process of naturalization.  He lives in the United States, pays taxes and votes.  In my opinion, this gives him every right to speak about what takes places in the U.S.

Others did not appreciate him speaking out because he is a celebrity.  Some expressed concern that by doing so, he was in danger of losing fans.  Let me dissect both of those ideas.  First, I don’t really get the idea that famous people should not express their opinions.  Why does having a certain career mean that they should stop having political opinions?  Is it just celebrities who should stop being political?  What other careers should not express political beliefs?  Should I be silent on politics outside of my classroom simply because I’m a teacher?  Should a lawyer because they might challenge or defend laws?  Should judges?  Now, obviously, in the last examples, there are times when politics should be put away.  For instance, I do not push my students to believe like I do.  I push them to be able to defend their opinions with facts and evidence only.  Likewise, judges need to be impartial when hearing cases.  Other than that, teachers, judges, etc. can have political beliefs outside of those specific cases.  John’s job is to write and perform music.  If we compare John’s job to a teacher, for instance, then some might argue he should keep politics out of his job, and thus his music.  What he did yesterday is not about the music.  It is something he did outside of his job.  He didn’t tell people that they had to agree with him, politically, to buy his music.

The other concern that I saw a lot of people express is that John’s political activity might alienate fans.  This idea makes me sad.  Is that really where we are?  Do we really have to agree completely to be a fan?  Do we apply this for our families and friends?  I don’t know about the rest of you but I definitely know people who disagree with me on various issues.  This doesn’t make me like them less.  Perhaps, the key with me is that I separate what someone thinks about this or that issue from that person’s behavior and treatment of others.  I also believe strongly that I’m not going to love everything done by Duran but that this does not diminish my love for the band either.  Goodness, my love ones do or think things that I don’t like and that doesn’t make me love them any less.  Let me give you an example from Duran’s history to explain what I mean.  Was I thrilled that they worked with Timbaland in order to reach a broader audience and get more commercial success?  I was not.  Does this mean that I shouldn’t be a fan anymore?  No.  It means I don’t like this one thing they did and disagreed with their approach.

Some reading this might say that this is easy for me to say.  After all, I was out marching yesterday, too.  I agree with John on this political issue.  While I’m sure that it does make it easier to me, I can think of other bands that I like, musically, that I’m not in alignment with, politically or otherwise.  Again, I can separate the two.

Beyond all of that, I believe strongly that everyone should be able to speak about what they think.  Therefore, I was totally fine with those fans who came on to say how they love John and the band but disagree with him.  What I was not okay with were some of the comments insulting John or bringing up things like his past drug use. Those kind of comments are never necessary.  There was nothing that John did yesterday that deserved mean or insulting comments.  All he did was express his opinion as an American and a human being.  That’s it.

-A