Respecting David (and His Fans)
This fanbase is funny. Remember way back when David did his very first vlog and the fan community was up in arms (over his pet fish Conditioner of all things)?
I knew very early that, no matter what David did, what he said, how he said it, and – most importantly – no matter how much David works at being innocuous and generalized enough to please his diverse audience – somewhere in his innocent vagueness, a fan (or contingent of fans) finds some subtext that suggests that David really means this, or David really means that.
It’s become a standard and routine David Fan response. And I’ve been guilty of it myself.
I’ve never really been able to analyze this fan response, except to say that, for David and every other public figure, we don’t really want the actual person to represent himself. We want that person to represent ourselves. Why else do we constantly second-guess his motives?
That said, I’ve enjoyed the reputation of my fan site as an “open” and “accepting” place for all kinds of fan responses. No “group think” encouraged here. Even when I disagree with posters – and even when said posters feel like I’m chastising them when I disagree – I don’t do “group think.”
BTW, folks, if you really want to know if I disapprove of you, I do the following:
1. I WARN you not to post your offensive posts again.
2. I DELETE you on your second offense.
No TROLLS allowed here!
Having said that, I feel the need to clarify my comments from the previous thread and the ensuing argument it may have encouraged.
When a suggestion was made that the new music David promised his fans before he goes on his mission would be subsidized by and for his Church of the Latter Day Saints, it felt like cold water splashed in my face. I was basking in the glow of the promise of new music – I don’t care if it reflects the “direction that his life is headed,” as David told us. All I care is that he leaves us good music: sacred music, inspirational music, romantic ballads, Spanish covers, R&B covers, I don’t care! I want me some Voice, and I was truly touched that David, knowing how much we were going to miss him while he’s on his two-year mission, was cramming in as much time as he has this month to leave us with some goodies.
I was touched and warmed by this gesture, I tell you!
So, yeah, when someone comes on here, warning us that this special music David was working extra hard to complete in this short period of time was going to be a bunch of Mormon propaganda, I was pissed!
Pissed, I tell you!
It was like someone telling me the diamond ring I’m expecting is really made out of glass!
Well, that metaphor may not work completely, but you get the picture: someone was trying to devalue David’s efforts, and that’s where my immediate gut-reaction kicked in and I started yelling, “Give me proof! Give me evidence! If you don’t have it, stop spreading rumors!”
Now, just because that was my gut reaction, that doesn’t mean I think regular posters here are being “bigots” or “bad fans” or whatever language those of us in disagreement routinely use to silence other fans.
No. It just means that different fans are processing the news of David’s eventual departure for a religious mission in different ways. I’ve made peace with David’s decision (we shall see if I’m still at peace at the end of March – Ugh!). Others seem to be cushioning themselves for the eventual revelation that David isn’t the open-hearted, open-minded kind and generous person he’s led us to believe he is. That, with the stereotypes of Mormons as homophobic racist bigots (yep, the LDS is fending off charges of racism as of late), somehow that stereotype weighs large in their minds, and they somehow can’t process that David could willingly serve such a faith and come out unscathed.
As if Mormons are the only Christians (yes, I believe they’re Christians) who have problems with homophobia and racism: what with Sunday being the most segregated day of the week and what with folks tweeting the most ignorant things I’ve ever had to read when they were watching live the Baptist funeral service of Whitney Houston (if what I take as customary – shouting, rejoicing, clapping, general noise-making at a funeral – seemed alien to non-Baptists and non-black folks who don’t know the way African Americans do church worship, then it goes without saying that folks who don’t know the LDS church believe they’re “strange” at best, “dangerous proselytizers” at worst).
As a person of faith – less the David-type who “wants to be like Jesus” and more the type who’s usually asking Jesus to forgive her for her latest sins – I recognize David. I know folks like David. Heck, I used to be that young and that devout myself. As you get older, some people grow out of it, and some people don’t. At 21, David may continue down this path, or he may not. Either way, I don’t care. Whether he develops a crisis of faith two years later, or continues to follow the rules of his faith community and marries young and has tons of babies with a fellow Mormon, that’s his choice to make.
What I care about is: will he still do music?
He’s given me enough hints to suggest that he will. David’s passion is too much enmeshed in music to imagine he would drop it altogether, so I keep the faith that he’s coming back to music…and to us! And that right there is what had me feeling all fuzzy inside:
1. He left us an address so we can keep in communication with him.
2. He’s leaving us with music. MUSIC!
If he had plans to drop us like a hot potato – a year or two from now – he would have done neither.
I respect David, and I also respect his fans.
But let’s all give David the benefit of the doubt and accept this last gesture of music-making before leaving on his mission as a promise that he still loves us and will return to us, once he’s done what he feels called to do.
Singing a song about Jesus is simply baring his soul to us (I thought we liked that about David). But I seriously doubt those are the only songs we’ll be getting, and I seriously doubt that any of his songs will be telling us about the greatness of Joseph Smith!
David has always been true to himself, and I happen to respect that self. It may not always jibe well with my own projections onto the young man, but I respect him too much to walk away when it doesn’t.