Here’s the thing: Sometimes these debates between fans can be entertaining, infuriating, crazy, out-of-whack, and exhausting.
I stepped away from my own blog earlier today because I needed to calm down and assess what it was that had irked me this particular day.
Funny thing is: It’s not even about different posters having their own say or disagreements about the usual things (i.e. the direction David was heading, the level of career he might have, the “wisdom” in taking time off to do a mission, etc.). It was something else.
It’s not even about “policing” each other on the appropriateness of how we should direct our fandom or how we should feel about adoring someone like David.
It was something much more infuriating for me, because it seemed to have been festering for a while on this blog, which has caused fans to either whither away, take time off, or disappear, while a handful keep going back and forth.
I could have kept an ongoing argument but decided to step away. Strange, because if I was getting that annoyed/upset/not even sure how to describe my feelings, I did have some technical options at my disposal: 1) Close Comments 2) Moderate Comments (and then what? Only approve those comments I like and then be trapped in a 24/7 ritual of approving/rejecting comments?) 3) Shut down the blog with a simple “Delete” button in my settings?
Wipe out nearly five years of writing and fascinating drama and interactions? Over the actions of a few?
Nah! That’s too drastic! And, as some have said: that’s just picking up my toys and leaving the sandbox (except, even if that’s what it was, why shouldn’t the little toddler pick up her toys and leave the sandbox when the other kids are making the sandbox “not fun anymore”?).
I guess that’s what was at the core of my anger today: This wasn’t fun anymore!
And as another commenter once noted: It didn’t matter what topic I chose to blog about, invariably the conversation became less about that, less about David, and more about what we were doing wrong as fans.
I realized that I had some thoughts about the current Justin-Bieber-crisis and how I found it interesting that this teen star had been propped up at the expense of David’s own career. What had started out as a good conversation (with different people expressing interest or questioning or even sharing other sources that could corroborate some of my hypotheses) began to enter into different commenters’ shared opinions on how this information either affirmed or made them question their own reasons for following David all these years.
Out of that conversation, an assertion was put forth about what “bad fans” some people seemed to be, and for the first time, I called out someone who was probably not even conscious that the tone in which the criticism had taken was rather dictatorial. I had felt that that type of dictatorial tone (i.e. there is a “correct” way to be a supportive fan, and you’re not correct) was also sexist in its directive, and in calling it out, I was then accused of taking sides and not playing fair.
Both comments were steeped in some kind of “righteous authority” about how we should be comporting ourselves, and I was outraged that anyone could come here on my blog and talk to strangers (mostly) as if they knew how any of us lived our lives (let alone how we feel about David and what he and his music has meant to our lives). There was a tinge of disrespect, which reeked of certain members from a certain gender, age, or class background feeling they have a right to regulate and legitimate others.
I don’t take kindly to others trying to “correct” me and others, especially when in that “correction” is this assumption of righteous authority. There are ways to disagree with each other without disparaging the other. There are ways of disagreeing with me without making accusations about me and how I conduct my blog.
No one is perfect (not even David), but we don’t have to assume the worst about each other either, and it’s unfortunate that any fan who makes a criticism of David is automatically assumed to be disloyal. If you disagree with the assessment, just say so. Present evidence to the contrary, if you have such to provide. But accusations of disloyalty, hysteria (a loaded gender term), and whatever else that allows you to dismiss any of us here as a “good fan” are just not helpful to the dialogue.
I’d rather not Close Comments or Moderate them, and I’m not ready to shut down Soul David, but in the mean time, as we await David’s return, let’s show some basic respect.
And if I bit your head off (because I felt that you had disrespected me), my apologies for showing you my claws. Just know I don’t take kindly to anyone daring to claim “righteous authority” over me and my actions. M’kay?