OTW Fannews: Celebrities & Fandom Risks

Drawing of spotlights withtext in the style of the Hollywood sign that reads OTW Fannews Celebrities and Fandom Risks

  • Discussions about celebrity fandom have popped up on various sites, such as The Guardian‘s article about the lessons learned from allegations against Bill Cosby. “Before the internet, when the shroud of celebrity mystique was easier to maintain…fans felt less complicit in continuing to swoon over and patronize icons who were rumored to have done heinous things…But now, with bystanders always on hand to serve as amateur chroniclers and distributors of celebrity missteps and misdeeds, it’s hard to obscure or deny to fans what they’ve seen with their own eyes.”
  • At SB Nation a similar discussion took place over social issues and sports fandom. “At times, hero worship of sports stars, or even teams as a whole, reaches a point where it can be described as something eerily similar to a cult of personality. That’s a culture that can preclude educated opinions on and well-informed public discourse of serious issues involving said star or team. Examples of worst-case scenarios, like those at Steubenville and Penn State, which involve crimes that should still churn stomachs upon reflection, not only harbored such evil acts, but also led to their attempted cover-ups.”
  • The Queen’s University Journal explored why a connection with celebrities seems to exist. “Spitzberg co-authored an article and study titled ‘Fanning the Flames of Fandom: Celebrity Worship, Parasocial Interaction, and Stalking’.” In a 2001 study “[s]eventy-five per cent noted they’ve experienced ‘strong attachments to more than one celebrity’…'[Parasocial interaction is] the idea that we develop relationships with people who we experience in the media, in much the same sort of way that we experience relationships with people in real life.'”
  • Fandom can be risky for many in more physical ways, whether for Russian women in football fandom or Chinese fans in slash fiction fandom. “‘The law doesn’t differentiate between dan mei and gay fiction in any way,’ says a 28-year-old writer who asked not to be identified by name. In his view, crackdowns are a function of political whims, ‘so if the government decides it’s going to crack down on gay-related content, it’ll just cast a wide net and go for dan mei, too.'”

What aspects of fandom have troubled you? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn’t guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

News of Note
  1. Carol Scarlette commented:

    Is there a page on the tensions between ‘real’ writers and fanfiction writers on fanlore?

    • Claudia Rebaza commented:

      We’re checking into this to see if there are some specific links we can give you, and will reply again when we have them.

      Claudia Rebaza
      Co-Chair, OTW Communications

    • Claudia Rebaza commented:

      There isn’t a page specifically on that topic, although one of the editors has discussed working on one. However, while there is no central page for the issue, you may want to look at these:

      1) http://fanlore.org/wiki/Goodreads (though the focus is more on different fan opinions about reviews of fanfic in mainstream places)

      2) http://fanlore.org/wiki/Pull_to_Publish

      3) http://fanlore.org/wiki/Fans_Turned_Pro

      Hope this helps!