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Fan Tard Psychology: A Primer

January 31, 2009

As Idol fandoms evolve, certain things are almost inevitable. Fans will dwindle, tiring of the whole thing or discovering the object of their devotion was but a fleeting interest. Others, especially during this time of year, will move onto another Idol contestant and start the entire cycle again.

Breakdowns in Idol fandoms typically happen during those tense times when there is no record deal or other bit of “good news” in sight. 

Of course, since it comes with the territory, religion often plays a role in these breakdowns. The choruses of “it’s in God’s hands” or “a higher power is his management team” are heard as some fans might appear to be a bit enchanted.

The disenchanted fans are the ones who say, “what’s going on? If so-and-so I has a deal and so-and-so has management, are we just waiting indefinitely for something that may or may not ever happen?”

It’s also at this time the seemingly disenchanted fans are ostracized for being realistic and somewhat logical in their views regarding the Idol’s career.

This is why Idol fans bases end up being so small and inclusive. Because it is always a competition. Many of these fan boards may operate under the guises of being a warm, loving and open place where members can freely exchange opinions and beliefs. Not so. These bear closer resemblances to cults than normal fan bases.

Idol fan bases are cutthroat & competitive. Just as the wealthier scientologists quickly rise through the “Clears” and receive VIP treatment while regular scientologists are forced to toil along as veritable slaves on cult property, Idol fandoms also operate under similar standards. The fans who have effectively stalked the Idol through appearances at every possible meet & greet, coughed up the cash for expensive gifts or have taken it upon themselves to present gifts bought through a group collection to the Idol do this not for the greater good of the fans, but because they want face time. They want their names to be known by the Idol and very often, his immediate family. These determined women often achieve these “goals” by the halfway point of the Idol tour.

These people become “famous” in their respective fangroups and eat up the attention they receive. They can also be board mods or are elevated to such positions after such accomplishments or because of their tried and true devotion, therefore adding to the “fame factor”. When they post on boards, lower-level members repeatedly kiss their respective asses and run to agree with them whenever they bring in their “voice of reason”.

At this point, many fans do become disenchanted and leave the fold, however, there are some who don’t toe the party line and become banned from these groups. In either case, what are the chances those in either group would remain a fan? Perhaps they may download a song or buy an album, if either is ever released, but would they go to a concert or appearance when they know they would be stared at and whispered about if they attended such a function? And many would probably never do either for the simple fact they don’t want anything to do with the singer after having such a dreadful experience with members of his fanbase.

And other would-be fans might go to a show and be shocked by the lunacy they’re seeing — grown women acting more inane than 13-year-olds at a Jonas Brothers show. This sort of behavior kills careers. And if you think record labels don’t know this sort of thing goes on, think again. You think they don’t know there are a handful of dumpy women sitting at their computers taking 1 hours shifts spamming MySpace so the Idol-of-the-Devotion gets a zillion MySpace plays?

In fact, let’s say you were not an Idol watcher but became a fan of Greasy Constantine Maroulis. (I know. Impossible, right? But I just wanted to throw out an example…) Since this is now several years out from when they were on the show, you would be hard-pressed to be able to sign-up for one of these fanboards. These are no longer public places, or the bulk of the threads are not visible for public viewing. Let’s say you attempt to sign up for a membership. Most likely, you will never receive a confirmation that you are now a member.

By this time, board mods have, perhaps, kept records of IP addresses to weed out the “haters”.  If they do not know you, or if someone does not bring you into the fold, so to speak, then you are not to be trusted and will not receive access.

But most likely, at this point in the game, you will not actually find someone who would bring you in. Because just as in most cults, many of these fans already cut themselves off from having normal relationships with others outside of the fandoms.

This season, if you find yourself going down the “online fan board” route while watching American Idol, take measures to make sure you don’t get sucked in to something you do not ever want to be associated. I’ve compiled a list with 10 helpful tips. Please consult them whenever you find yourself at risk.

  1. If you join a board, join VFTW. VFTW is full of wonderfully funny NORMAL people who see this stupid television show for what it really is — a karaoke shit show one is supposed to laugh at.
  2. Show your support by buying that contestant’s songs on iTunes. They actually DO get a portion of the money. What’s the best way to support an artist of your liking? BUY THEIR MUSIC!!!!
  3. Vote. If you must do it, simply vote. But keep your voting to somewhat logical numbers. (Come on! We all know the show is fixed, anyway. Katherine Harris probably helps with the tallying.)
  4. If you insist on seeing the Idols on Tour concert, only buy tickets to the one closest to your home. You really think seeing a trite show featuring kids singing karaoke songs and doing half-assed dance moves after rehearsing no more than a month is going to yield DIFFERENT PERFORMANCES in DIFFERENT CITIES? It’s American Idol. Not Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, for chrissake.
  5. If you go to a concert, don’t bring gifts. People taking in six figures in a three-month period do not need your expensive gifts, and all that other shit just gets thrown somewhere or given away. Give your money to an appropriate charity.
  6. If you insist on joining a message board, fine. Do it. But DO NOT POST. You may seem to be surrounded by a group of nice people with shared interests. DO NOT GET SUCKED IN. If you insist on posting, keep it to a minimum. The more you read of other people’s nonsense, you will realize not everything is as innocent as it seems.
  7. Stay away from any message board where people are drawing comparisons to the contestant being Jesus Christ. Religion is a private matter. And Jesus Christ has nothing to do with a stupid karaoke contest or whether or not someone receives a record deal.
  8. Stay away from any message board which does not allow the use of “foul language” and encourages the pooling of money for a special gift. There are some fan boards, such as Castrocopia, which focus entirely on charitable giving in lieu of stupid gifts. Castrocopia also allows the use of bad language. Boards which use word changers to make curse words all smiley and happy? George Carlin is rolling over in his grave at such nonsense. Not everyone on boards like this will be normal, however, but many of the people running these sites are more interested in a person’s music than equating him to the Christian Lord, viewing him in a sick, age-inappropriate sexual way and / or permanently defacing their body with a tattoo bearing his name.
  9. If you do get sucked in and go to a show where you convene with your new online friends, DO NOT ALLOW YOUR PHOTO TO BE TAKEN. Do not parade around with a giant stuffed unicorn or printed-out head on a stick while someone snaps photos. Do not wear a puffy-painted t-shirt “uniform” designating you as a fan. Your photo will inevitably end up somewhere you do not want it. It could also end up here. (I may not post names, but I do like illustrating with photographs whenever possible.)
  10. Never place some idiot on a karaoke contest above your “real life” friends, your family, your job or anything else. If you find yourself making excuses for why you cannot do something on Tuesday or Wednesday evenings, or find yourself spending inordinate amounts of time talking to your message board friends, STOP. Go outside. Take a walk. Evaluate your behavior. You are not acting normal and you need to realize this before you fall too much farther down the rabbit hole.

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26 Comments leave one →
  1. zelda permalink
    February 10, 2009 7:27 pm

    Somehow I suspect that a lot of vftw folks were the victims of over the top fans at one time. What other reason to enjoy mocking others so much unless you have been hurt by the likes of them before?

    And THUS you have the rationale.

    p.s. Of course there will always just be the mean-spirited who love to mock just for the hell of it. Those I have nothing but disdain for. I also don’t approve of making fun of people’s ages or body types. People who do this can blow me!

  2. February 10, 2009 12:49 pm

    “People spend tons of money on sports, alcohol, books, big screen TVs, movies, poker, computers.”

    There is a difference between buying things and buying people.

  3. standalone permalink
    February 10, 2009 10:01 am

    Bravo, TopIdol.

    Tards like Hannah get angry, cause they can’t handle the truth.

  4. zelda permalink
    February 10, 2009 1:34 am

    “Look what happened to Zelda and her dog story a few months ago and she makes fun of the fans….it just isn’t right when the mud slinging starts.”

    I have NEVER made fun of fans. I have found fault; but to me, the extreme behaviors and stances are not a laughing matter when they harm a career. Not laughable to me!

    I don’t make fun of fans. I am one.

    • TopIdol permalink
      February 10, 2009 1:36 am

      It’s not about making fun of people. It’s more about just showing the extremes people go to and how it can harm potential careers of kids who go on a TV show. I really can’t think of a better way to explain it.

  5. Teehee permalink
    February 9, 2009 10:28 pm

    Hanna = angry Jestro tard spouting predictable crap.

    How much money have you given to try to attract attention from a contestant or fellow frauen, Hanna?

  6. Hanna permalink
    February 9, 2009 9:32 pm

    Who made you the god of fandom? Fans should be able to act the way they want to act. If they want to spend money on concerts and trips to see the performer they most enjoy, why shouldn’t they? People spend tons of money on sports, alcohol, books, big screen TVs, movies, poker, computers. We all have different interests. Some people are obsessed about the idols, some people are obsessed about the idols’ fans. Both groups spend unbelievably large amounts of time on forums and blogs. So what? Live and let live.

    • TopIdol permalink
      February 9, 2009 10:25 pm

      Hmmm…I never claimed to be the “god of fandom”, but please, please encourage others to spend more time gambling on their computers, because that sort of thing pays my bills.

      This blog? Oh, it’s just for fun. Now please, let me get back to my Belgian beer and presidential news conference while I decide which Australian charity to donate my $20.

  7. iffy permalink
    February 5, 2009 12:35 am

    This only happens with the male idols. They attract the lonely, empty nester, peri-menopausal wing nut faction of my sex to make themselves publicly and inexplicably ridiculous. It must be hormonal. What else can explain grown ass women acting this way? MEN!! Stay away from Idol!! You’ll get a fanbase you really don’t want.

  8. standalone permalink
    February 4, 2009 12:45 pm

    I totally get VFTW.

    The concept of AI is turning talented unknowns into stars, but part of the entertainment is the critiquing and mocking of the attention whore contestants.
    VFTW is where the viewer can do the same, and take it to the next level of mocking the attention whore tards.

    Sure, a lot worsters enjoy some of the performances and some even admit to being former tards.
    If a worster gets to obsessive, other worsters will call them on it.
    But… if any worster is flying all over the country and spending tons of cash on an idol, their family or the tards they mock… then they seriously need help.

  9. ray permalink
    February 4, 2009 12:34 pm

    I suppose spin. I liked VFTW at one time, when they seemed somewhat legit. Now it’s an exercise in obsessive fandom, which seems to defeat the point, no?

    They’ve got pets like Amanda Overmyer who they fawn over and they will do absolutely anything she asks, much like the fans at the fansites they mock. But when it comes to others they push an agenda and often make things up to suit the site’s own agenda.

    Just as pathetic as most of the fraus and fantards.

  10. spinshack permalink
    February 4, 2009 11:40 am

    Ray, there are extremes on both side of this reality show coin. I blame humanity. Finding humor a subjective activity, open to interpretation.

  11. ray permalink
    February 4, 2009 2:06 am

    I do agree with a good part of this, but I will never understand VFTW. What makes little sense is the majority on VFTW spend just as much energy on hating Idols and their fans as the fans spend on the Idols. What is the difference if the obsession is hate as opposed to deluded fangirl love?

    Take point #10 for instance about not planning your life around any Idol. Now I certainly hope that would be common sense for most people. But I have heard of VFTW people attending shows of Idols they hate just to mock them and their fans. Isn’t this the same thing? Certainly seems like some of that crew also plan their lives around Idols since I would imagine babysitters were booked and loved ones done away with for the night.

    I find it even more ridiculous that VFTW members can’t even admit to liking someone on that site unless pre-approved by the site, which basically makes it the same thing as a fan site.

    Granted I realize most of the readers here are also VFTW members (as am I), so I’m sure I’ll be told that I just don’t get it or get called some other colorful names, but there you have it.

  12. spinshack permalink
    February 4, 2009 12:20 am

    Whyme, again you’re focusing too close. Hit the wide-angle lens and you might find what we’re talking about.

  13. whyme permalink
    February 4, 2009 12:14 am

    Maxhate, do you tell all your friends you like to make fun of people on a blog? I bet that wins friends and influences people.

  14. whyme permalink
    February 4, 2009 12:09 am

    Oh I understand the whole concept and I will never understand why these people at VFTW spend so much time stalking these fans. You can say they don’t stalk, but it takes time to find all this information from the fan forums and then on top of that to write up a blog. They are no better that the obsessed fans. Let’s take SPOON for example, did he/she not tell someone to go kill themselves on this blog here a few months ago. Wow, that is a bit extreme.
    I just don’t understand dragging fan names through the mud like they do at VFTW. What is the point…it is just plain mean! Make a mockery of idol that’s fine, but when you start posting fan names, their personal myspace accounts, etc. it crosses the line. Look what happened to Zelda and her dog story a few months ago and she makes fun of the fans….it just isn’t right when the mud slinging starts.
    By the way, where is Rachel_M?

  15. spinshack permalink
    February 3, 2009 11:30 pm

    I second that TopIdol. Whyme, ya just aren’t understanding the entire concept.

  16. whyme permalink
    February 3, 2009 5:33 pm

    My point about VFTW.
    I guess I don’t understand and never will understand why people devote so much time to mean-spirited hate for someone they supposedly don’t care about.
    It just boggles my mind.
    Since I don’t understand why it is fun for people to be mean, I think that these people must be jealous. It kind of reminds me of the bullies in school. Of course, I think bullies are bullies because on some level it raises their self worth to put others down.

    I agree with your post, because I think fans should just support the music and not obsess with the musician. However, making fun of these people will not change how they act.

    • TopIdol permalink
      February 3, 2009 7:47 pm

      I agree with your post, because I think fans should just support the music and not obsess with the musician. However, making fun of these people will not change how they act.

      Of course it’s not going to change the way they act! But maybe it will prevent some dangerously close to the edge from becoming one of these batshit crazy fans. And frankly, the behavior is so ridiculous, how can you NOT laugh at it? And many of these women get downright vicious in trying to ruin the lives of the “haters”. In fact, their behavior is much more what you would liken to a childhood bully.

      It’s not about being jealous, it’s about laughing at such behavior. And you would be surprised at how many people don’t know about these freakish subcultures. People think sci-fans are freaks. Uh, no. The craziest behavior I’ve ever seen is out of these groups, yet most people think the popularity of this TV show is entirely driven by teenagers and the performers are lusted after (if briefly) only by teenagers. Teenagers aren’t the ones going to the concerts. And teens certainly are not the ones writing sick fan fiction involving a teenaged David Archuleta, David Cook and a brunch buffet table.

      Plus, I think most of us “jealous haters” lead very full lives outside visiting a message board a few times a day. And while I can only speak for myself and a few others, I’m pretty sure none of us have gotten tattoos to commemorate our “hatering”.

      And the entire point of VFTW is the make a mockery of a show that’s complete crap. I, for one, think its entirely fixed. And it’s not that they support the “worst”, necessarily, it’s that they support contestants who don’t fit the cookie-cutter mold Idol shoves down the public’s throat.

  17. spinshack permalink
    February 3, 2009 3:31 pm

    Really good post.

  18. February 2, 2009 7:48 pm

    whyme…getting banned from idoltard should be a badge of honor with your group. idoltard is clearly threatened as you state in your comment. As brilliant as I’m sure you are, I would like to help you out with your question at the end of your comment……Considering the name of the blog is IDOLTARD, and it is dedicated to being mean and making fun of people like you, I would make a haphazard guess that the answer is #2(you are mean and like to make fun of people)

    • TopIdol permalink
      February 2, 2009 7:58 pm

      Max Hate is wicked smart.

      I’ve never understood where the accusations of jealousy have come into play when ripping on Idol contestants or their fans. I have a fully, decently-happy life, friends, a good job and a kick ass cat. I travel and have hobbies. I never harbored dreams of being on reality television, or even being a singer.

      I’ve been called “jealous” before, too. Sorry, but I don’t get where that comes from. That’s a lie you tell a child when they’re complaining about someone being mean to them in the sandbox.

  19. never remember my name here permalink
    February 2, 2009 12:46 pm

    i actually think that this may be the only place where you can say you like an idol but disagree with what most of their over the top fans say or do
    i love vftw, but you cannot say you like an idol unless it is one that they designate as worthy maybe

  20. February 1, 2009 10:00 pm

    I found your site and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you!

  21. whyme permalink
    January 31, 2009 10:10 pm

    While I agree with most of your top 10, I have to dispute the VFTW point. I don’t understand why these people obsess so much with idol fans. To me these VFTW seem just as obsessed with idol fans as the fans that are obsessed with their idol. I just don’t get the obsession these VFTW people have. Don’t they have better things to do with their time?
    My other problem is with idletard… why did you ban me from your site? Why are you so threatened by a person who defends an idol?
    I will never buy a gift for an idol and will never worship them, but if I like their music I will buy it. I don’t have the need to criticize the way other fans choose to support their idol. It just doesn’t affect me. If my idol doesn’t make it, so be it, but why do some people feel the need to tear them down. The only thing I can think of is jealousy. No one has ever been able to explain how obsessed fans affect them. There are two choices:
    1. You are jealous
    2. You are mean and you like to make fun of people

  22. January 31, 2009 9:14 pm

    *claps*

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