The fandom divide

By August 18, 2008Opinions

Last week I finally got a chance to see the documentary film, My Date With Drew. If you haven’t heard of it, the basic concept is that a struggling actor, and life long Drew Barrymore fan, takes advantage of a store policy that allows him to buy a video camera and return it within 30 days for all his money back. His plan is to then use the camera to document his attempt to get a date with Drew.

It really is a sweet and enjoyable film but its the relevance to “us” that got me thinking. I found myself being very aware, all through the movie, of how close he was to tipping over from well meaning (“good”) fan to an obsessive and delusional (“bad”) fan.

He definitely manages to stay in the “good” camp throughout and if I had to pick the main reason for that, it’d have to be that he is self aware. He’s constantly worried about coming across as an obsessive stalker who really thinks he might have a shot at Drew. That understanding and critical thinking of reality is ultimately what keeps him on the good side of the dividing line.

Being involved in this site for so long I’ve really seen the full buffet of fans. The majority of which are, like the guy from My Date With Drew, huge fans with fantasy crushes but with feet firmly on terra firma. They realize its a fantasy. They can see the line.

Unfortunately, there are those in our midst who are out of touch with reality. For some its just a toe over the line while others sprinted past that line like they were in the Olympics.

There are the likes of Clone, who can analyze and extract hidden information out of any image featuring Natalie and a guy. Of course the information always points to the fact that Natalie is single. If Clone’s reading of reality was correct, Natalie would be sporting cobwebs in unflattering areas.

Then there’s the guy who emailed me the other day utterly convinced that I am Natalie. I can’t even fathom the kind of mental gymnastics required to reach such a conclusion but there you go.

There’s also this special kid who believes he is living this whole fantasy life with Natalie.

There’s even a guy that emails me every day.

Sometimes the emails are brief like:

im about to eat apple pie and ice cream..then..im going to sleep..Im not washing my hair tonight..Its really frizzy from riding my bike…but..Im so sleepy

ill brush my teeth and take out my contacts after I eat..then..im going to sleep

ILYN


While other times the emails are truly epic:

Hi sweetheart…i hope your day is going well

whe I get home I will read at your site..I dont like to rush…becuase i dont want to misunderstand anything…it will be better when we can talk face to face

in the bible..sometimes when God restrains…a good angel will do that..and not a bad angel

Natalie…i dont know what will happen..or how…it will happen

I only love you..and you know that

if you dont mind…im thinking…whatever the dolphin dreams mean…I was thinking..if it means something supernatural will happen..and if it were to envolve angels…pray..that God will use a good angel…and not…a bad one

as you know..i dont want anyone to die…i dont love that person..but..i dont want to see anyone die..even thought they have been really wicked

i only love you..and only want you and me..and the kids

if there is a way..that God could get that person to admit the things they did..and cooperate..that would be the best thing

what ever the dolphin dreams mean…I want that person to go to heaven..if…those dreams mean …you know what I mean

as a wife..and romantically..I only love you

when King Saul died…David was still sorry

and..i feel sorrow in my heart…not…romantically…nor from being in love with anyone else…NO

I only love you…but still..everyone is human…and if anyone dies…its still…sad

and ..its sad..when people are so selfish.they dont care about anyone else…and its sad..when people are judged..also

if it were possible..then …I would hope that you and I can be married..and i could give that person the houses..and arrange some sort of supervised visitation

I dont know what God is willing

I dont want to ever see that person ever again

and yes…there are times ive worked to the point that …I was exhausted..and yes..i get really mad..when things are like that

I want you to be my wife..and only you…and if possible…if…its possible..I would like to see everyone happy…and if that unnamed met someone nice…then as long as you and I are together..and we can take care of the kids..I would be happy

i dont even know if that person would feed them if they visited unless there was some kind of monitoring

and then Cris…it worries me…if he sees how that person is doing..will he become bitter?

but…will that person keep doing as they are doing..and how long will it be before he does see now..or the future?

if i controlled the world…i would put it in the unnamed to take care of the kids…and you and I would be married..and split custody..and some kind of monitoring witht the unnamed when the kids visited that person

Natalie…pray..that if God is willing..that..he would do this…that way..things would work for everyone..and everyone ..would win

i only want you to be my wife..and the kids..I dont care about vengeance

monday..when i working myself to death…I may feel different..and wish that person was in jail*laughs*

pray..that God will work on everyones heart..and bring you home

if that person admitted they were wrong..and i have a right..then…everything would work for everyone..and the world..who are hippocrites and liars anyhow..they couldnt say a thing.

pray for this..I dont know if God is willing…but..if he is..everyone would win..and you could be home..wherever we will live

I love you Natalie..Im going by the bookstore before they close..pray for these things…if God be willing…as long as you and I win..I dont mind..if everyone comes out a winner.

Ill write when i get to the house..I love you sweetheart..the real you..very much

And when I say he emails me every day I don’t mean ONCE a day. Today, for example, he has emailed me 30 times already.

So, please, if you ever feel yourself getting too caught up in your fandom, if reality and fantasy begins to blur, refer back to this update. If those emails don’t snap you back to reality then you’re already paddling over the waterfall.

PS – Thanks to Rachel for the great image.
PPS – Does anyone remember a similar film from several years back, only the guy was a real geek and it was Natalie he was after? I remember it looked scripted but after seeing the trailer I don’t think I ever heard of it again.

Dazza

Author Dazza

More posts by Dazza

Join the discussion 16 Comments

  • planet-ex says:

    Epic!!! I am somehow naive. I really can’t believe that people can hide their mental state so good, that this sick behavior don’t apear in the day light of their normal real life. There must be co-workers, relatives, neighbours or even friends who know about this strange condition they are in.

    PS:

    Natalie Portman’s doctoral dissertation: “The different mental conditions of Natalie Portman Fans”

  • Rafael28 says:

    scary

    whatever happened to the datemenatalie guy?
    i have alzheimers

  • sak says:

    The only remark I can make is that your inbox has become a true entertainment of it’s own.

    BTW although I was opposite to the changes of the updating system (and methodology), I have to give you, and Kris, my complements. It works and feels like you said: Short incremental updates that keep the site animated, with the discrete use of “read more” allowing longer updates (like this) when needed, which would look awkward on the front page.

  • Seyo says:

    How can he hide this in real life? Anyway , this is sick.

  • spoonbat says:

    You have nutballs everywhere. And what’s strange planet-ex is that usually they say such behavior is kept shut-up and private. So the person appears normal – maybe a bit weird or eccentric but not psychotic or crazy you know.

    I don’t know – I mind my own business and stay out of their way. At the end of the day I think that’s all you can really do.

    And Daz – that was one creepy movie. Haven’t heard of the other one with the Nat fan though. Sorry.

  • omgzrachel says:

    lol was that the same nutcase from the comments section? The writing style is very familiar…

  • dazza says:

    I’m not sure. The comments section guy emails me like crazy now as well but it could be the same dude.

    Just got this lovely email:

    just read your update and it sucked. You recall your ghostwriting: “In the middle of all this chaos I wanted to tell you I love you.” Let me just break a few things down for you. Listen to track 11 on Madonna’s new album and take to heart the chorus–even the devil wouldn’t recognize you, but I do. That’s right Madonna, you know a real celebrity. And on top of that I will never forgive you, Trippy and I can always defeat you. Gee I wonder why I did what I did in the seventh grade…. Oh no that’s right, I don’t give a shit. Pretty soon you’ll get what you deserve and as for all the crazies who do really like you, I hope they never stop breeding.

    Sincerely,

    MAX8654

  • sak says:

    Well, your new friend is actually a chip. A 12V 8A 1.2MHz step down converter by MAXIM semiconductors. Unless his signature is a complete coincidence which I doubt.

  • Ashmiester says:

    Wow, that’s insane.
    Are you more frightened or annoyed by it?
    It seems like you’d have to feel both to an extent, if only because he’s invading your inbox with so many messages.

  • miller says:

    @ sak:
    Michael Scofield?? Is that you?

  • dazza says:

    I’m certainly not frightened and the annoyance is offset by email rules, which mean these emails go straight to the trash.

  • sak says:

    @ miller:
    I don’t even know who the guy you refer to is. I googled him and looks like you might mean ‘Prison Break”s lead. Anyway.

    If my comment was confusing here’s more of it:
    – MAXIM semiconductors (http://www.maxim-ic.com) is a famous chip
    manufacturer.
    – I do electronics for a couple of decades.
    – MAX8654 looked very familiar from that point of view.

    So I googled it and as it turns out it’s actually an existing MAXIM semiconductors chip.

  • jesslv74 says:

    That’s just creepy. And sad. I mean yeah, it’s something to laugh at, but there is also something that is definitely mentally unstable about these people. It’s totally recognizable. I have a bachelors degree in psychology and did some post grad work, and I can see some of the disorders I studied in the writing of these people…personality disorders most likely. Some might just be weird, but I think others are truly unwell and need some sort of help!

    That poster…I’ve seen someone else do a fanart of it with Jenna Fischer.

  • miller says:

    yeah, it’s the guy from prison break… he’s the master mind of all the escapes
    And you sounded just like him. It was a lame joke, I apologize 😉

  • sak says:

    @ miller:
    No need to apologize. On the contrary. It was a funny conversation.

  • arf15beagle says:

    I know it’s a little late, but damn that letter is hilarious. Personally, I envy you. You’re damn lucky to get emails like that. I’ll take ’em if you don’t want ’em.