There are no hard and fast rules about what makes someone a fan (other than liking whatever is the object in question), and there really aren’t rules about what one should or shouldn’t do as a fan. Yes, there might be societal rules, or fairly arbitrary boundaries that are enforced by the larger group, but the guidelines aren’t really written. We certainly can’t pull the book of fandom rules off of a shelf and recite from it. None of this is illustrated more clearly than when Duran Duran posts any sort of an update.
The other day, the band posted a photo of them in the studio, indicating that they were back in the creative mode. Reaction from fans, including myself, ran the gamut from giddiness to dubiety. Mentions of #durantime on both the original DDHQ post as well as personal Facebook accounts led to sharp exchanges between fans. Declarations of “How dare someone question the length of time before an album comes out?” along with equal measures of “Why can’t anyone take a joke?” led the charge. I found myself with the smallest of grins, because Duranland wouldn’t feel like home if people weren’t bickering, even over what seemed liked good news.
We’ve been doing this for forty years!
Then there are those who celebrate their fandom by giving the band advice. We’ve been fans for forty years, we know what works, right? “Please go back to the AYNIN formula”, “Make another album like Red Carpet Massacre!”, “Work with Ronson – he gets us!” Everyone seems to know exactly what direction the band should be headed in, with all of the confidence and wisdom that comes with having written and recorded fourteen chart topping albums. Aren’t we all so damn smart?!? Listen, I’ve been there. I’ve done this. I will likely forget myself while in the company of other fans and occasionally slip. To read the advice online in a series of comments though? Yeah, we sound like assholes. We really do. I’d say we’ve gotta stop, but I’m almost sure someone will write in telling me that it’s their RIGHT to say whatever they want. And it is. So I won’t.
You got a right!
What you choose to do with your fandom, and how you choose to BE a fan, is your choice. I will never completely buy into the idea that a “good” fan is never critical, or never pokes fun. I can’t really argue though, with people who only see the sunny side. We all do this “fan” thing so differently. The longer I participate, the more I realize that fandom is as much about learning how to accept differences as it is celebrating common adorations.