Daily Archives: June 14, 2009

An Artist’s Life: Fans Want to Know


Last night, I caught Winona Judd on Larry King Live. She basically answered Larry’s question that, yes, fans have a right to an artist’s private life, arguing that, since the artist’s music is such a backdrop to their lives, an artist should be able to give back in return and maintain some transparency.

I’ve been pondering this, especially in the wake of certain discussions about David’s personal life.  Perhaps the issue isn’t about what fans need to know so much as what they want to know.  And what exactly do we want to know?

From what David has revealed about himself, we know he loves Thai food, Jason Mraz, Sara Bareilles, Tamyra Gray, and studying music charts.   We know he’s Mormon, has several female friends, and is addicted to twitter.  We know he isn’t in a serious relationship (at least from what he’s said in the past), and somehow, this has become a subject for speculation.  Do we need to know if he’s dating, or what his sexual preference is? No, we don’t.  But, has that stopped fans from speculating either way? No, of course not.

Since I haven’t gotten any vibe from any recent videos that David is seriously into someone (i.e. when David tweets that he’s hanging out with a “friend,” I don’t assume more than that), I haven’t really speculated one way or another.  Which doesn’t mean anything if David is learning to expertly present himself in covert ways.  However, when it comes to the fans and fan speculations, I must admit to getting a little  queasy about what we consider appropriate and inappropriate discussion.

For example, why is it that on some fan sites, we can speculate about whether or not David is “dating” one of his many female friends, or even make comments that we wish he had a special girl in his life because we want to see him “happy” (really? What part of David does not look like he’s on top of the world right now? Ah! The expectations of compulsory heterosexuality!)?  Yet, as soon as someone alludes to certain discussions that speculate if David might be gay, someone suggests that this is not appropriate or even that this is an offensive subject, that this is somehow invading his privacy and is nobody’s business.

In other words, why is speculating about whether or not there is some “lucky girl” who is making a name for herself as David’s “first kiss” a perfectly fine, even giddy conversation for fans to have, yet as soon as someone speculates if there might be a “lucky guy” in David’s life, pandemonium erupts?  I already know the answer to that question.  Unfortunately, homophobia is such that straight female fans can indulge our fantasies about our favorite artist’s life, but heaven help us if gay fanboys somewhere in cyberspace indulge their own fantasies.

Whenever David feels comfortable enough to share any aspect of his personal life, he will let us know. He’s shown himself to be honest enough to do so.  But, with silence comes speculation, and with each fan is a need to project our own desires onto our idol.  We may not need to know anything about the artist. In fact, most of what we want to know is based mostly on our own projections onto said artist.  Which is perfectly fine and a normal reaction.  So long as fans respect each other’s fantasies and speculations without censuring others.