Mr Guylty is doing the cooking today and I am quickly coming on now with nothing much to say. I was busy all day.
I have to diagnose that I am a somewhat obsessive personality. When I start something, I totally get into it. Rather than just leave it at just *one* RAPS this morning, I went on and started five others. Ridiculous really.
Speaking of “obsessive” – maybe because I am currently watching Outlander (half way through season 2 at this stage – yes, I know I am way late), somehow Sam Heughan’s desperate Twitter post made it on my screen today. Now, no worries, this is not turning into “JamiePleasure” any time soon, but his post gave me pause. It’s somewhat mysterious and vague, yet it seems obvious that he is speaking up against some individuals who have been stalking as well as bullying him. Since I am not a member of that fandom, I don’t know what exactly he is alluding to. But the story kind of makes me reflect a little bit on my own fandom. How much criticism is too much? Where does fandom fun stop and bullying start? Are pithy remarks verging on libel and slander? Are throw-away quips about “tighty briefs” overstepping the mark? Is the content between the lines actually printed bold?
This introspection happens at regular intervals – wondering whether my modus of fangirling has changed, has intensified, has lessened – or has veered into unhealthy obsession. (See above?) I actually think the level of fangirling has been mainly the same for the last year and a half. Whether it is at an unhealthily obsessive level, I can’t very well determine from within. I don’t really think so – but isn’t that what all obsessive people say??? I love his work, I like to support him by a) seeing the things he is in, b) discussing his work online, and c) creating a fun place online where others can join me in following his career. Occasionally he fails to act the way I expected him to, and I get pissed off 😂. The fault there lies with me – not with him – but I don’t believe he should be considered above criticism. If anything, it’s the regular frustration with that unpredictable bloke, that keeps the obsession in check. 😓
Being a fan is great. There is so much joy in following an actor’s career over several years, closely, and with growing expertise. It’s fun to share that with other fans, and build friendships on our common interest. But if the fun ever goes out of it and it becomes a chore or is nothing more than a continuous stream of criticism, then I will know I have to stop it. For now, the fun continues…
15 thoughts on “Introspection Inspection”
I saw this today, too, and shook my head. I am sorry that he’s suffering (although I also don’t know what’s going on there), and my sympathies are with him.
That said, the level of preoccupation a fan has with anything is not sufficient all by itself to raise the charge of “bad fandom,” stalking, bullying, etc. Criticism, no matter how seething or unfair, is not bullying unless it is (a) directed at the object AND (b) seeks to organize groups of people to direct their repeated criticisms at the object. People can criticize all they want. I can’t speak for other people, but what I do is neither illegal nor immoral. When I’m frustrated with Armitage (and there have been long streaks of it) I don’t push it at him, nor do I encourage other people to participate in my frustration or direct it at him. It is purely my free expression and thus MY business, not anyone else’s. It sounds to me from what Heughan said that people are doing illegal things (hacking, e.g., or attempted hacking) and also that they are organized into groups that exist for the purpose of hassling him (immoral imo). I don’t think you’re doing either of those things re: Armitage.
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The news, although I am by no means a fan of SH, really shocked me because it usually takes quite a lot for a celeb to actually write about it. You are absolutely right, of course. Criticism as such does not constitute bullying. It sounded as if there were more than just one person involved so it may be as you say – a concerted effort by a group to direct their criticism at SH directly, as well as hacking etc. I never knew of any instances like that in our fandom. Nevertheless, I guess I started inspecting my own ‘conscience’ just because I have often felt that RA is particularly resistant to having a fandom. He doesn’t really court it nor encourage it, which could mean in conclusion that he is uncomfortable with fandom in general. But no, as much as I occasionally criticise RA, I don’t even think he knows that there are critical voices. So I am resting easy.
I know there’s a long history of public, punitive shipping that has affected him (my position on that has always been that shipping is fine as long as shippers are clear it’s a fantasy and don’t direct it at the celebs — and also that the celebs and their showrunners don’t bait, or queerbait, which has frequently been a problem).
Looking a little closer at this moment, though, it seems that he came under fire for sheltering in Hawai’i (although he got there five days before the Hawaiian governor put the local population on lockdown). To me this gets to one of the central problems with the insistence that there should be no criticism on social media (and why people get angry at celebs and others who insist on that) — really, it was a dick move to go to Hawaii just then. He clearly knew what was happening. He should have stayed where he was, or else gone home. Or like with Evangeline Lilly and her nonsense about how coronavirus was just an excuse for the gov’t to take away people’s rights. It’s really how capitalism works — the only power we have left these days is as consumers — so we take action by criticizing the people who provide the products. So if (e.g.) a thousand people take Lilly to task for her stupidity, is that bullying? Ten thousand? (As long as they’re not organized, I personally don’t think so.) If they are selling allegiance to their personal brand on social media, then don’t they have to accept when people respond negatively to the brand?
Ah, the old question. I ask myself the same now and then. Depending on my mood, I’m more or less critical of myself.
That said, what Heughan alludes to sounds absolutely nuts and way outside of anything I would ever condone, let alone engage in myself. I have one tiny quibble with Heughan‘s phrasing, but I assume he was agitated.
Good for you on the shrining energy. If it floes, it flows.
You know, in a way I actually it is good to consider the old question every once in a while. Just to gauge whether one is still fangirling on an acceptable level – the conscience is clear.
For Heughan to have taken the step to address the issue, really says a lot. Especially if the bullying extends to other people from his circle of friends and family. Those are truly the sides of being famous, that nobody wants.
(Was it the “non” without an E?)
Ode to no Bullies
What kind of fan am I?
Can my words make RA cry?
I would never want to upset the man.
By being a scary obsessed fan.
My criticisms are sweet and kind,
I’m almost sure RA wouldn’t mind.
A bully I would hate to be,
Especially writing poetry.
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LOL – this is wonderful, Kathy. Shame on you, an ethereal wordsmith, creating beauty in words – yet drooling over an innocent man… There’s a contradiction in terms.
Nah, I think we are all fine. I’m sure he can live with (not) reading our criticisms…
I did feel for Sam Heughan when I read his post; he sounds really distressed. Guylty, I think you are so way off bad fan behaviour that I don’t think you have a thing to worry about. Apart from overdosing on home roasted cashews… 😜
He sounded distressed and at a loss. I do sympathise with him. If fandom becomes that intense, it definitely oversteps the marks. (And I am feeling reassured by your words. Also: Won’t be roasting cashews again any time soon. They are just too good.)
Your link was the first I had seen anything of the harassment Sam has had to endure, although I’ve been aware of the single mindedness of those Outlander fans who believe that he and Catriona (his co star) should be together. I feel so sorry for him. Apparently he is friendly and engaged with his fans, but sadly, it seems to be an ugly side of fandom that if the object of the obsessed doesn’t live by their narrative they get really nasty. No wonder Richard keeps so much of himself and his private life under wraps.
You have absolutely no worries about how you behave wrt to Richard. I do understand the introspection, at times questioning how healthy my crush is, but I believe that as long as I have both feet planted firmly in my real life I needn’t be concerned!
It does make me wonder whether RA got an early dose of that kind of intensity – and vanished into his shell forever? Admittedly, the whole celebrity circus is probably horror for anyone who is the slightest bit introverted. But the kind of harrassment that SH alludes to, seems to be on another level.
I feel like you that I am quite grounded in my RL so as to not get completely lost in my fandom activities. BUt well, it’s always good to have a little reflection and check whether things are still healthy and fun.
Weird fan behaviour would happen before the Internet because I have read several autobiographies where actors have written about it. But whereas that would be in retrospect we now hear of it sooner.
Slightly OT Andrew Lloyd Webber has made The Phantom of the Opera freeview to view for 24 hours from 7pm yesterday it is fantastic, it was at the Royal Albert Hall and after the enormous curtain call 4 previous Phantoms sang plus Sarah Brightman one not to be missed and the best thing to come out of the lock down imo. On YouTube.
You are definitely right – there have always been fans, and now the internet makes fans more visible than before. It also has created this fake familiarity with the celebs, especially if they are very active on SM, so it’s a bit of a vicious circle.
I have never seen Phantom of the Opera. This would be the perfect thing to do – I just never seem to have time these days 😱
I adore Outlander (both the TV series and the books). Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe, all the cast, were spot-on casting- for once. I feel really sorry for Sam Heughan, he must be feeling quite isolated too out there in Hawaii, and his tweet did give me pause for thought about my own obsession with Armitage (I’m sure my slathering over his looks wouldn’t be welcome) but generally our fandom is not malicious to him, it’s supportive to him, and to each other much of the time, and its necessary for his career.
It makes you wonder, doesn’t it, how some people got to be like this – unused perhaps to having their whims denied.
I agree with Armidreamer and Kathy’s inspired Ode, I can’t see anything wrong with being supportive, with lots of enthusiasm and good-natured affection thrown in.