On Being a “Bad Fan”

Quote from Desertrat:

Several yrs ago on Noting David, parallels between D’s and Pres. Obama ascension were mentioned. I see quite a few parallels right now. Both have been challenged to carryout their goals/agendas in environments not conducive to their personal styles. Some of those who believed in them three years ago have lost confidence. Both periodically looked worn out by the system. Both are fairly loyal to those who helped them get the top. However, once you reach a certain level, those that helped you get there may not have the skills to help you at the higher level.

I’m struck by two things. First is the lovely artwork by Juan (see above), which depicts an illuminated, angelic David, naturally (or photoshop-wise as the case may be) blessed by light as the sun shines down on his blessed goodness and beauty.  “Believe,” the poster dictates, in some kind of Messianic message, which I imagined also confronted the first Christians, who lost Jesus in death but sanctified him as the Christ after resurrection and his eventual ascension into heaven.

Fandoms are very funny in our deifying of our idols.  In how many ways do we glorify and idolize David beyond all human recognition (visually and in words)?

The second is the recent quote from Desertrat (cited above).  After all the glorification and deification, what we may now be witnessing is “loss of faith,” at least for some.  And yet, I’m not sure it’s even that, so much as there has always been a segment of fans (many who feel free enough here on Soul David to express their thoughts) who’ve been able to see the world plainly and honestly (I, for one, was just as exhilarated as so many others by President Obama’s election in 2008 and its historic achievement while also maintaining my eyes wide open knowing that he was going to have a rough go at it: from a failing economy to close-minded Congressmen – and women – who were just not going to agree with his policies, just because he was Democrat and, more importantly, just because he’s black).  And so, for me, there’s no “loss of faith,” as much as a “yep, I knew this ish was gonna happen, please toughen up President Obama and accept that compromise is a stupid idea and be a firm leader instead!”

In much the same way, I see myself (sometimes) and other more realistic/cynical/honest fans saying, “We love ya, David, but please take the bull by the horns and get some professional help! Don’t let your family guide your career!” I wouldn’t call that a “Loss of faith” but a “yep, I knew this ish was gonna happen” when David walked away from both a professional label and professional management.

More than that, David wouldn’t be the first pop artist to have to deal with family vs. the professionals.  Stars like Mark Wahlberg and Fantasia come to mind as folks who were nearly destroyed by well-meaning but parasitic family members who expected their one star relative to support the entire clan.  It happens.  Not saying that David is necessarily in a similar position, but I do understand the anxieties expressed by fans who just can’t see that this is a good setup.

So, when other criticisms come down the pipeline – from the way he dresses to the way his vocals sound – they always seem to stem back to the standard disagreement: “yep, I knew this was gonna happen! Look who’s managing him!”

What gets me, in many of our debates in the fandom, is why some fans, who don’t always see David the way Juan’s art depicts him, then get labeled as “bad fans.”  Is there no room for fans who don’t see the halo around David’s head? Are such fans banished from the fandom if they don’t recite some kind of Nicene Creed?

We believe in David
The Voice, the Angel
Maker of Song and Melody
of all that is heard and unheard.

We believe in one David
no other could rise to his supreme goodness
not Justin Bieber or the next American Idol

He shined on Star Search
was praised, then struggled with vocal paralysis
and lost his incredible Voice

He then rose from awkward puberty
into a New Voice and Body

He was reborn on American Idol
and invited the world to Imagine
a Heaven and Angels
and commanded the Sun
to not go down on Him

He signed to Jive
and Crushed the music charts
and has toured the world over
unleashing his otherworldly Voice

We believe in the Voice
We believe in its virtuous goodness
We believe in its divine beauty

We look for the resurrection of David’s
music career and superstardom
and the life of the world to come

And I’ll admit that I’m given to reciting this creed every now and then, but you know what? Sometimes (gasp!) I see David without a halo.  As do other fans.  And sometimes some fans see more than a “just David.” They see a flawed David.  They see someone who has this great potential but who seems fearful of taking off.  Do such fans then represent “bad fans” because they, like some Christians, don’t accept Jesus as the equivalent of God (and yes, some factions of Christian don’t believe this)?

As always, every community wants to draw the line and close ranks. I guess because I’ve always seen myself as occupying the margins, I’m completely comfortable with attracting a variety of fans who also think outside the box. Where I draw the line is identifying such fans as “bad fans.”

It’s going on three years since following David, and even the most cynical fans are still here posting and commenting. If that doesn’t spell D.E.V.O.T.I.O.N. I don’t know what does.

We’re all GOOD FANS, as far as I’m concerned, because we’re all still here.  Believing in David in our own ways.

Posted on October 19, 2011, in fans. Bookmark the permalink. 26 Comments.

  1. HellOgOrgeOus. I think that you hit the nail on the head, we all critize from time to time even those we love because we want the best for them. I am sure every one here loves David and just wants the very best for him, and that would be to live up to his potential and we all know he has POTENTIAL!

    • “I am sure every one here loves David and just wants the very best for him, and that would be to live up to his potential and we all know he has POTENTIAL!” Could not agree with you more. David has such potential and needs a great team behind him to realize that potential. IMO he does not have that now.

  2. I like the SD community and I wouldn’t classify us as “bad fans”. For me, sometimes the conversation here is too negative and/or anxiety-ridden. But that’s my issue to bear. I admit that i still take criticism of David personally to the point that I get angry over some of the comments that I read. Again, that’s my issue to bear. I cope by not reading all the negativity and waiting for the topic to change.

    • Desertrat, you wrote everything I’ve felt over the past few weeks, so thanks for voicing it. I’ve been sporadic in posting for the reasons you stated.

      Again, I know everyone is different in how they express their worry/disappointment/frustration. I just try to remind myself that superstardom is what I wanted for David. For whatever reasons, i don’t think he ever did.

    • I don’t think anyone is a bad fan. If you continue to support David by buying his music and attending his shows you are a fan. But I do think there are different ways that fans like to act in their fandom. I prefer to just enjoy being a fan of David. I just want to continue to enjoy listening to his music and watching his shows. I enjoy David’s personality so I enjoy when he does a vlog or interviews. Being constantly worried and critical of his choices and his career is not enjoyable for me. Being negative of things that I have no control over is not how I want to be. I don’t want to manage his career but just be a fan. But people feel differently which is okay. There is no right or wrong way to be a fan. People do what they want or feels most comfortable to them.

      I also have to say that I do not think that David is perfect. I don’t hold him up to impossible standards. I think of him as another human being. So, just because I don’t agree with a lot of the things said about him on this site doesn’t mean I disagree because I think he is perfect. Or I disagree because I am not being realistic. It is because I see things differently. We all have different opinions and none of us truly knows David or what is going on behind the scenes so nobody is saying anything that is the truth. It is just an opinion.

  3. Shanny in Australia

    Despite what it often sounds like, I think most of the fans realise David is human and therefore imperfect.
    I also think that being realistic doesn’t necessarily mean a person is able to see the flaws in David or the situation – although it probably does include that -i think being realistic also means we stop projecting our wishes onto the situation and are able to step back enough to let the situation evolve how it will without getting over involved emotionally.
    And personally, I don’t really care about good fan/bad fan labels, I’d rather talk about the issues.

  4. Great post, HG. I think, though, that the tone of the comments, both here and on TDC is constructive. I’m not sure which site was talking about the grey sweater, but the end result of the conversation was that “hey, it’s putting on a show, and part of that is…the dress”. One can always take/read criticism and glean what they may. The same goes for what many perceive as “management issues”. I don’t think that if David were to be reading the comments on either site he would come away with feeling that he’s being put down. I really don’t.
    It’s obvious that the contributors to both sites are coming from a perspective of wanting more for him, not just from him. And, they are certainly coming from a familial perspective. These sites really are like an extended family, with people putting an enormous amount of energy and intensity, daily, into that which is David Archuleta.
    While some of the conversations and tone toward…his management… may come across as “hostile” at times, it would be very short sighted by anyone to not expect that those criticisms are going to come up. At some point, a choice was made, and Jeff has chosen to put himself, although more quietly this time, in that position. Or, chosen to accept that position, whichever way that occured. And, as in any case when boundaries become blurred, in this case between the personal and the professional, other’s reactions are going to, by nature, become more extreme. For lack of a better analogy of blurred\or lack of boundaries, think of incest. How about cannibalism? As usual, I digress and go for shock value. In any case, in the very least, frustration has always led to an intensity of expression. It’s a common reaction.
    As far as criticism of his voice, it’s not really the voice that’s being criticised, I think, but rather the lack of…someone…possibly a manager (back to that mgmt thing)…not thinking clearly that although their “client” does have one of the most beautiful and emotive voices, their client does have a sometimes “fragile” voice that needs to be taken care of, and not neglected.
    When I fly thousands of miles, the impact it has on my body is certainly variable. Sometimes I feel great, and others I feel restless, exhausted, and somewhat crazy. Why would one risk, with the date so far in advance, just flying that far without a period of rest and acclimation, for such a chance to perform in front of many possible new fans, without giving them his trademark “all”. Not to take anything away from him, because I’m sure the crowd was most happy with his performance, and I know he always gives his all. But, we and his management know that his voice was neglected.
    In any case, when I want unicorns and rainbows I go to FOD. But, unicorns are a myth, and have you ever really tried to catch a rainbow?

    • David, I wondered why they left so late too. Maybe it was simply a poor decision or maybe there are/were other factors we just don’t know about. It’s hard to say for sure.

    • Shanny in Australia

      I keep seeing these references to a grey sweater. What is that all about? If someone is willing and able to enlighten me, that is…? Thanks in advance. 🙂

    • I really liked your comments David.

      I felt that they left very late for Japan as well. I think they were trying to save money, pure and simple. I finally watched a few Japan vids today, he still put on a good show, but I agree his voice wasn’t on point. His voice could also have been strained because he hasn’t been singing much so it’s not in shape. One more reason that this break has been too long.

  5. I agree with most of what is being said. Like Desertrat and Astrid, I read and post less when I’m bothered by others’ opinions, even though I support a person’s right to have opinions that differ from mine. I don’t think that my viewpoint is unrealistic — I feel that I have enough real-world problems to deal with, and would rather focus on the many good things David’s voice, music and personality bring to my life.

    For the record, I read at many of the fan sites and I like all of them, but I don’t agree with everything that is posted at ANY of the sites.

  6. HG, loved your post, Thank You for sticking up for us SDers and I laughed out loud at your Nicene Creed……..OMG, soooo funny!

    David: great comments also. Thank You.

    I consider myself a great fan even though I can be critical of his clothes, mgmt, song choices, etc.

  7. tweet from David………

    Going to put a blog up soon!
    1 minute ago

  8. man! i hope people in thailand are okay and safe with the really bad flooding and some people doesnt make it out, that is just terrible. i hope go there next time whenever it safe for him to go there, he might go this month but who knows, he really upset about and suppose girlfriend charice has a show there with david foster in thailand this month too, i guess is going to cancelled as well. david didnt mentioned about the singapore event, i guess that is a rumor??? david had a good heart mentioned about the CMN and going to orlando. i hope he have fun there and hopefully meet the kids, it just break my heart about kids with cancer, it just bring tears in my eyes, they show on tv about them in the hosptial but i cannot watch it because the kids are in pain and fighting for theirs lifes and cannot image what the the parents are going through.

  9. DAvid mentioned going to Orlando for a performance for CMN. here is the info on that:

    Children’s Miracle Awards presented by Delta Air Lines
    Saturday, Oct. 22, 6:30 pm
    The Children’s Miracle Awards, presented by Delta Air Lines, is a formal event that honors outstanding pediatric caregivers at the 170 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Meredith Vieira will serve as the Awards’ emcee, with a vocal performance by David Archuleta, a song by children’s hospital patient Eileen Garrido and a piano recital by Miss America 2011 Teresa Scanlan.


  10. I’m definitely a fan even if sometimes I express negative opinions about D’s career.
    David is even better now than he was on AI when I first saw him. He’s a better singer and a better performer. He improved a lot his interviews skills, he seems more confident as before and I will always like his personality. As long as he’ll sing, I don’t see any reason for me to “loose the faith”. But I feel like the excitement in the fanbase is gone, or at least it’s not what it was. It’s a transitional time for David but it’s also one for the fans. Maybe when David’s “break” will end and that he’ll be ready to release new music, the excitement of the first years will come back. I hope that his current situation is only temporary, I’m waiting for things to move and to hear about his next decisions regarding his career.

    I still think that there is a place for David in the music biz. A place that fits him. He doesn’t have to be the next Buble or the next JB. He doesn’t have to be what we call a mainstream singer to find success. His talent was never denied and it can give him the recognition he needs to keep on sharing his music with as much people as possible. It depends only on him and his motivations to have a long term career, it also means that he should showcase more his strengths (voice, personality, look, natural charm, etc…). He’s already working on defining his sound which is a good thing. But to move forward, he needs IMO to surround himself by a great team of professionals who are capable to make long term plans and to have a real and unique view on how to market him. And it’s about this last point that I have some doubts.

    • I also hope that David will work with great songwriters (and new ones too) who are able to give him another hit song. “Crush” did a lot for him in term of popularity. Now that he’s almost 21 years old, I imagine a song that will showcase his soulful and powerful voice and that will show his growth as a person.

    • cmoi – you hit on something I was thinking as I read HG’s post. When there is a vacuum of information (and a few rumors to boot) people will try to discover what is going on. That means they analyze, evaluate, discuss, imagine, whatever helps them fill the empty spot.

      When David is on tour, there is nary a word about management or labels – it’s all about the performances.

      “Oh, listen to that note!”, “Did you see that little dance?”, “I could listen to that song forever.”

      Those are the phrases and fans who are enthralled. And sure, David needs a break – time to chill, time to think and renew. But long stretches of time with “spot” appearances opens the fandom to the sort of fretting and mental gyrations we see now.

      Once the Tour start, it will quiet down…until the next lull in the action. I think all of this is pretty normal. And anyone that sticks around for 3 years is definitely a fan. Good or bad doesn’t even factor into it.

  11. Wow !! great post HG 🙂

    I agree with pretty much most of what was already said.

    I just gonna add, that don’t understand if some lurkers know already the style and approach of each site, why to go (or come) to the fansites and have a bad moment reading people perspectives ….i mean David has a Twitter, FB, MS, YTB channel and Official Site ….if the idea is only enjoy what you can, a fansite with open forums is not your place, specially if you became very attached to him emotionally and you’re vulnerable enough to feel every opinion like a personal attack to him and in consequence to you ….just a thought .

  12. HG the creed is just irreverently funny !

  13. I always seem to show up late for these conversations. Haha! I agree that fans should not be labeled or thought of as bad fans just because they honestly question David’s career decisions. I know that’s what this article is about, but I just have to touch on certain subject.

    I find the analogy you made between David & fans in comparison to Jesus & Christians to be a poor one. There may be certain religions/denominations that refer to themselves as Christian and yet do not believe in the true Jesus. The Jesus taught about in the Bible is God himself in human flesh. He is one with God. This is the Biblical Jesus. This is the Jesus who’s New Testament followers were labeled as Christians. There is only one way a person can be a Biblical Christian and that is if they believe in the Biblical Jesus. Many people don’t, so they can call themselves Christian all they want, they simply aren’t. Read John 1:1-14. This is just one of many verses in the Bible that talk about the equality/oneness of Jesus and God.

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