We really ARE wired this way!!

I’m sure most of you have read the Wall Street Journal article from Tuesday, “Inside the Brains of Bieber Fans”.  You can read the article here. While I recognize most, if not all of us are well-beyond Justin Bieber at this point, this article could have easily been written thirty years back on Duran fans and been every bit as applicable.  The article even points out that back in the days of Franz Liszt (classical musician from the times of Romanticism during the 1800’s), his fans would throw their garments at him and fight over locks of his hair.  Sound familiar???

We’ve commented many times over the “addiction” Duran Duran seems to have caused many of us over the years, and while my tongue might have been firmly planted in my cheek at the time, it appears I was more correct than I wish to believe.  Hearing those familiar chords of Rio or even Hungry Like the Wolf release dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter involved in pleasure and even addiction.  That rush you feel when Simon does his super-cool karate-style moves at the end of Notorious, or when there’s an especially good JoSi moment on stage, or even when Roger dares to twirl his stick or Nick gives you a good smile?  It’s as intense as the feeling a chocoholic gets when they grab a square of their most favorite treat, and yes, it really IS addictive.  
This is no surprise to the many fans who have stuck by Duran Duran over the years.  There’s no arguing that when we see them live, we leave wanting more…and we chase after that same “high” we’ve experienced prior.  There is a reason why many fans do as many shows as possible on a tour, and that there really is science behind it all.
Can this addiction be harmful?  Like anything in life, moderation is key.  Sadly, I’ve forgotten what moderation actually means.  In this particular article, being on a computer for five or six hours a night following Justin Bieber blogs is given as an example of too much.  If you could only see my blank stare at the moment…  If that weren’t enough, the example of a person mortgaging their home only to go to New York and sleep on a sidewalk in order to facilitate their child’s addiction is also cited as being over the line.  First of all, and in my defense, my house was already mortgaged, thanks.  I will owe Wells Fargo for many more years, thank you.  Secondly, who said this was for my kid???  
The last nail in the coffin comes near the end of the article, when of course there’s a dissenting opinion of what is truly normal.  I don’t know about anyone else, but I tend to be wary of folks who tell me what is normal, especially when they don’t appear to recognize good fun.  In this case, Robert Epstein, author of Teen 2.0: Saving our Children and Families from the Torment of Adolescence, holds the hammer firmly in his grip when he says “Contrary to popular belief, there is nothing even slightly developmentally normal or healthy about ‘Bieber Fever’ and similar teen extremisms.”  
Robert Epstein clearly needs to get a life and find some fun out there before he starts giving advice on how to kill the spirit of our adolescents.  
-R

5 thoughts on “We really ARE wired this way!!”

  1. I don't trust Robert Epstein. 😀 It's like, I honestly don't completely understand people who don't seem to be “fans” of anything. I figure they are missing out on something if they can't be passionately interested in something just because it exists and they like it, not because it holds some “practical use” or can earn them money. And the thing about being a teenager is that teens have the time and the relative lack of “adult responsibilties” where they can be fans without guilt so to speak and teenagers tend to be passionate about a lot of things, it's all the hormones and the fact that they are experiencing things for the first time, etc, so it makes sense that the teenage years are when you are most likely to see “Beatlemania” and “Bieberfever” and whatever it was we had as Duranies. 🙂 What I like, looking back on it, about being a fan of Duran Duran as a teenager is that I think it was something that could truly be mind-expanding. They weren't really “for teenagers”, a lot of us just happened to like them, so it really expanded our experience and introduced us to new ideas and new ways of life, if we wanted it to, not unlike with the Beatles, even if not quite so extreme. With the Beatles it was long hair on men, with the Duran Duran it was make up on men. 🙂 That's a surface thing but really it's indicative of a larger cultural experience.

    Even further back than Franz Liszt, women used to send Lord Byron fan mail with bits of undies wanting to marry him or “save him”. The John Murray Company, his publishers, is still in possession of some of the “fan” letters. 🙂 He even had groupies if you will, let's face it what was Claire Clairmont really, if not a groupie, her sister Mary got herself a poet(Percy Shelley) and she wanted her own poet, Byron was the biggest there was and he was hot, so she did everything she could to meet Byron and sleep with him(didn't turn out so well for her, but that's the risk even today for a groupie, just luckily unwed pregnancy isn't a big deal anymore) and she used the fact that she knew Shelley as an “in” saying she could introduce them.

  2. Right from the start, I could not get enough. I wanted to see every picture, hear every song, and read every article. Once I went to my first show it really WAS aDDiction form that monet on. I cried the next night, knowing they were right here in SoCal and I was @ home while others were seeing them perform. I HAD to have more and actually went all the way to San Diego just to see them again before the tour ended. And I never did that sort of thing. We rarely went anywhere, much less more than 2 hours away. And never for anything like that before. If not for the fact that my ride crapped out on me @ the last minute, I would have gone to 5 shows in 1987. I actually HAD some money back then (living @ home with no real bills) and wanted desperately to see every show possible in CA. I completely understand why people travle to shows. I just wish my circumstances were better so I could do more of it. To me, it is not something you “grow out of”. If anything, it has evolved. Now it is not just about the band, but about the friends and fan community and sharing the experience. I love getting together with those who understand.

  3. “Anonymous” is so right, it is difficult to understand adults who are not passionate about something. Yes, many people will say they are passionate about their family or job. And that is great they are so happy. But seriously… what about the intensely personal, selfish, and *fun* aspect of being a fanatic about, well… anything? Being in central Ohio, myself and many of my friends are passionate Buckeye fans. A good friend is completely obsessed with Buffy. Another is an avid reader of all things YA. And of course my (not so) guilty pleasure is Duran.

    But sadly the overwhelming majority of my friends, family and coworkers do not have any particular hobby or interest or obsession. They just enjoy everyday life. Which is great but…. I kinda want more out of my life. A little escapism never did anyone any harm, right? 🙂

  4. It absolutely did not. Of course, I say that being one half of Daily Duranie, knowing that I spend what might be an inordinate amount of time online each day, both researching and writing about a pop band I happen to enjoy. I'm happy though, and that's what really matters. -R

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