Monthly Archives: January 2014

Fan Wars

MattClayton2So, I’m back from earlier today, and I realize I had a moment of what folks used to say, “being feisty” (heh).

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?

(D)evolution of a Teen Star

I haven’t really been paying attention to the actual music of Justin Bieber (never cared for him and his “brand” and never will).  I really only know about his shenanigans and how everyone from CNN to BBC have been talking about his arrest for DUI and drag-racing.

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As I have already expressed here on this blog, I admit to a pang of jealousy when he first came on the scene.  Right around 2010, when we were already feeling things weren’t going well for David on his Jive label, the Biebs ascended and just took off into the stratosphere in ways that I felt had belonged to David.

When the Biebs was offered the opening line to the 2010 remake of “We Are the World,” it riled me to no end that he was strategically positioned to take over the pop world, while our own Voice was marginalized in the Spanish version instead (which of course he sounded lovely in it and his naturally crystal clear tonals rang out loudly over others).  When Bieber had a hit song featuring a popular rapper, David was still struggling for radio play.

Before one knew it, the Biebs became a worldwide sensation, and his so-called “humble” beginnings (being “discovered” on YouTube as opposed to going the more expected route of appearing on American Idol and similar shows) made him standout as a genuine discovery. I was irked to no end b/c those early YouTube videos seemed oh-so-staged and like his marketing team had found the best guise ever to label him an “organic” talent that didn’t have to go the reality show route or the who-you-know-in-the-business route.

Marketing genius, really, but still beyond annoying because everything about him – his “cuteness,” his auto-tuned “talent,” etc. – seemed so fake.  Even the Biebs’ brief foray into casting himself as a “Christian” artist was beyond trite (remember the whole Jesus tattoo era?) when contrasted with David’s deep devotion.

david-verona1And that was the problem for me: His phoneyness was intolerable b/c I had David’s “realness” in the same categories to compare, and it boggled my mind how an entire music industry was trying so hard to turn lead into gold (JB) when it seemed to me that they had the real thing (David) that just needed some polishing off. Just comparing the two “teen stars,” I’ll never understand how this industry works.

So, in this two-year gap, David retreats from the biz and works on a mission, and the Biebs continues his downward spiral. And even then, something about all this “bad boy” behavior seems oh-so-fake! Desperation for attention and “street cred” and “look, I’m all grown up!” nonsense.  Why do I get the feeling this too is some ridiculous marketing ploy which will all end eventually with his redemption arc? Just…Stop!

I don’t blame David for taking a respite from this toxic environment at all, but once he rejoins the world this year, I hope he demonstrates far more maturity and confidence to navigate his way around music and to keep the “realness” that has always made him shine brighter than others (to me at least).  Sometimes, I think David didn’t take off in the pop music scene because he’s too “real” – real vocals, real good looks, real emotions, real convictions, real faith, real vulnerability, real performance.  Sometimes “realness” doesn’t bend too well in the face of an endless marketing corporate-oiled machine.

Here’s hoping the contrasts between current pop stars and what David has to offer will be much more appreciated this time around.

Why We Wait

davidI’m still in a bit of awe that it’s already 2014, which had seem such a long way off two years ago when we had prepared for David’s inevitable departure on his mission to Chile.

I guess that’s how quickly time flies because, though I don’t always have the time like I used to devote to this blog, I kept the site open and kept a virtual vigil going on, and I do appreciate that others of you joined me in the long wait (even if that often meant ongoing drama and disagreements).

I do wonder, however, now that quite a few of you decided to join in this “wait,” what are we waiting for?

I’ve been asking myself that many times over the two years of David’s absence from the music scene. The die-hard fan in me still clings to the stubborn hope that, when all stars align, David will get his chance in the spotlight and when he brings his A game: World, watch out!

The other, more realistic side of me keeps thinking of the declining music business, which has relied on everything but the music to keep their industry alive. In such a milieu, David’s talent alone is simply not enough, and if he doesn’t have the drive, ego, and cut-throat ambition to rise to the top, he may very well just have a “local career in Utah,” as some of you surmised (and even then, probably only a local career among a small community).

But, is that really what we’re waiting for? Don’t we secretly cling to the hope that he’ll be more than local? Maybe not a household name, but maybe something more?

And if that doesn’t happen, will you feel like you wasted your time?

So, here’s my latest poll, just to get a sense of what we’re all thinking. What say you, Soul Davidians?

MLK Day!

In keeping with the inspirational theme for today, how about some inspirational David? 🙂

Swoon Time!

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