Tuesday, May 09, 2006

FANATICS!

Everyone is a fan or someone or some thing. No exceptions to this rule.

We have all seen the excesses of such an interest: turn on television during any sports event, attend a conference on a literary figure or for a television show or cult film. It can be as innocous as your local dance group where participants live and breathe dance and engage in backstage battles on a regular basis.

As I have indicated here before, when I lived in New York City I made a living juggle projects and odd jobs in the entertainment field. One of those jobs entailed my working with an actor who also attended conventions celebrating the television show in which he starred. I grew up on this particular show and even though I enjoyed it, I'm not a die-hard fan of the show. During the time Mr. Actor attended the conventions, I relished hearing about how the show was made (as I do any production in any medium)and made friends among the other actors, personnel of the series along with the festival organizers and fans. For this reason, I will still attend the convention when it's held in New York City.

What I have enjoyed most about my involvement in the conventions is people watching. I have not been involved in other fandoms personally; I've read about them and watched videos such as the two volume TREKKIE documentaries. My personal experience in the fandom has been a positive one. The less pleasant experiences are ones that amused more than angered me.

Years before I started working for this actor, I worked as a writer and contributing editor to a popular monthly magazine in Philadelphia in addition to some performing arts publications. I was used to people not liking what I wrote because they disagreed. I was not prepared when I became involved in the fandom that those who might envy me would simply make negative things up about me to bolster the rationale for disliking me in the first place. At first I was rather appalled and hurt by it, however, that passed quickly - mostly because the actor told me that was the name of the game for anyone associated with him. Jealous fans would take the green monster a little farther. Once I understood this, I became rather fascinated with it all no matter how bad it got. I enjoyed observing the whole business even if I was a target.

One of my favorite Dumb Fan experiences goes to a man who is a nurse in a hospital or institution for mentally-challenged individuals. I believe he is quite gifted in his field. However, this man is very jealous of anyone whom he feels has more connections in the fandom than he does. We had been friends until I learned he was calling people on the phone saying that I had to be "watched" because I was "dangerous." I found this funny rather than upsetting. There was, of course, some made up reason for this warning. I learned that he had been very jealous about my relationship with the actor he admired very much. Yes, this was a grown man with talents to offer the world but my "rise" in fandom annoyed him.

Fans who are like this can be fully functional in a job but the emotional intelligence is off the charts below normal. He continues to pursue the actor never stopping to think that all his nonsense (and it was ongoing for awhile) was not told to the actor. The actor knows guy is a jerk and dishonest because of the experiences I had with him. But for whatever reason, it doesn't register with this fan that would be the case. So blindly he goes.

I hadn't thought about all this for a long time until I got a funny email from someone yesterday telling me yet another crazy story about this fan.

He hasn't changed one iota in almost twenty years . . . has not moved on.

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