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.