I know that some days it doesn’t seem like it’s possible, but I do like things. I like all kinds of things! I just don’t like all of those all kinds of things. My love is limited and conditional. For instance, I like those ventriloquist dummies, but not really the ventriloquists exactly. It’s a respect that I have, a sort of admiration. Anything I genuinely like, I know that a little can go a long way. I keep a distance between things I like and me — just ask my friends because that also includes them! But my general emotional unavailability is not on trial here.
I’m comfortable with this distance and only on rare occasions do I wonder how the other half lives. The other probably-vast-majority half. I’m talking about the people who like something or someone so much that they can be called a “fan” of it. I know these people are EVERYWHERE. In fact, our most popular article by far and away, every single day, is the one about writing fan mail to celebrities! But what is being a “fan” all about?
The origin of this kind of fan does not link to oscillating fans or old-fashioned hand fans. It is a shortened form of the word “fanatic.” Fanatic devotion to things is INTENSE, did you know? It makes me mildly stressed thinking about the dynamic from either side. Can you IMAGINE holding anyone up high on a pedestal, thinking they were meant to be worshiped? I sure can’t! I can better imagine being fawned over excessively, but as soon as I think of the word “stalker,” the fun stops.
Entertainers & Athletes
This is the most obvious pool of talent that is deemed worthy of having fans. People who have fame apparently get more and more of it. An avalanche of attention that comforts them to know they have because they are egomaniacs. They love it until it trespasses on their property and terrifies them. But they probably think it’s worth it!
Aside from movie and television stars, there are fans for athletes, musicians, serial killers, guys who do “comedy” on Instagram, politicians, stand up comedians, and even makers of moderately successful webcomics! And I don’t understand why for any of them. They are just people performing their jobs. Why don’t plumbers get fans? Or judges or baristas or … whatever jobs people do, I’m not here to write a documentary on human careers. But I am of the opinion that either everyone should have fans, or no one. Either option leads to lessening celebrity status, though, which I like the sound of.
Slightly more confusing, there are “fandoms” out there centering on loving made up characters, either from books, or ones performed by actors and actresses. As far as I know, none of these fandoms revolve around Doofus and Darling, by the way. I am just putting that out there as one more thing that doesn’t make any sense to me. Are we not fictional ENOUGH?
These fan people yearn for the characters to be real, and in their lives. Some of them join groups where they basically talk about the characters like they ARE real, write fanfictional stories about the characters (the fictions are either G or X rated, nothing in between), discuss whether or not the characters would make this decision or that. It’s a whole lot of play-pretend that some people take too seriously. Friendships have been dramatically ended over fictional decisions by fictional characters and I am deeply confused by that, but also drawn to it, because of the drama.
This was a new one for me! The other year, Dollissa and I went to the Zoo and noticed that people, other guests like us, were addressing the animals by name. They were talking to the animals as though they could understand English, or cared that strangers were trying to interact. We were confused by it, but then we realized that these people were acting like crazy fans of these animals! A zookeeper confirmed to us that people travel from other cities to see the animals, and not just the obvious one: Fiona the Little Hippo That Could.
People came from Washington DC to see an African Lion who had moved from there to Cincinnati. They traveled to see him and to talk to him through the glass. When he roared, they said, “Oh there goes John again,” as if they were his friend and had known him for a long time. It made us uncomfortable. We hoped that he knew he was lucky that he didn’t have to hear them talking, like we did.
Okay, okay. I do have sickening, obsessive love for certain things. But mine are entirely understandable and forgivable, unlike the rest of the world’s weird loves!