Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fan...or Stalker?

My husband has (jokingly...I think) called me a stalker several times in the last couple weeks.  A lady that I was talking to at the show Saturday (and who, coincidentally, wanted ALL the information I knew about the artist in question) said that I was not a stalker, just a well-informed fan.  I like that take on it...but it is right?

In today's world, where do we draw the line?  In a world of twitter, facebook, blogs, tout, etc...when is it too much?  As fans, we have all this access to celebrities that it makes us think we know them.  Sometimes it's hard to remember that we don't.  Not at all.  We only get what they want us to have (or that's all we should be getting), is that what they're really like?  In private?  When the stage lights go out and the microphones are turned off.  We have no way of knowing...just like they don't know us.  The world today, while it seems more connected and personal is actually more anonymous than it has ever been.  Somehow we are simultaneously more in each other's business and more disconnected than ever before.

But still, between Google and YouTube and all this crap, you can freely watch your favorite artists doing hundreds of interviews (assuming that you, unlike me, have high speed internet at your house).  I am a victim of this.  I will google the shit out of people and watch interviews (at work, like normal people) and read articles about them to no end.  I will absorb every detail I can get my little hands on.  Sometimes this affects how I feel about their music.  Don't get me wrong, a charming personality cannot make me like bad music, but if you act like a dick, there's a pretty good chance I won't give your music a fair shake.  The reason that is monumentally unfair is because an interview is not always a fair representation of a person (although, if yo act like a jerk in 10 of them...chances are...).  It could have been a bad day, maybe the interviewER was a dick, maybe it was edited weird.  Who knows.

My current favorite part of this overload of information is getting to see artists off stage.  It is especially cool when they just act like normal people, like someone you can see just having a normal conversation with, being friends with.  That is even more remarkable when you have seen them on stage and they have created magic.  It's like a comic book character's secret identity or something.  But that's also where it gets weird.  Rock stars didn't used to be people that you could be friends with because we very rarely ever saw them being people.  We only saw the guy on stage or in the video - the caped super hero.  The Clark Kent side never came out, they got to hide that part of themselves if they so chose.

So, where does all that rambling leave us?  Where do we draw the line between just interested in someone and stalking them?  (Not in that "hiding in the bushes outside their house" kind of way...but I think you know what I mean.)  It sure doesn't seem creepy when the information is so easily available.  But is it fair?  How weird it must be to do a meet and greet after a show when people come up and call you by your first name like you're friends, and they know where you grew up, where you went to school, who you're married to (or dating), they know so much about you besides just your music...and yet you know nothing about them.  It has almost flipped things around - the celebrities are all exposed and now the fans are the ones shrouded in mystery. 

I think if we want to watch interviews, read articles, whatever, that's cool.  But at the same time, we should understand that the important part is the music.  With all the information available, sometimes it's hard to focus on that.  These are real people, pouring their hearts and souls into this 'product' so that it can pour into our hearts and souls.  We should respect them as such, and remember that we're not friends, we're fans...there is a big difference. 

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