Chapter 32 of McQuail’s Reader in Mass Communication Theory explains that “what is assumed to be true of fans – that they are potentially deviant, as loners or as members of a mob – can be connected with deeper, and more diffuse, assumptions of modern life” (346). McQuail also states that there are two types of fans, those being the “obsessed individual and hysterical crowd” (343). Fandom has most certainly had a presence in the lives of all of us at some point. Whether we are surrounded by it or we take part in it, we have witnessed and are effected by its existence. I will be connecting the spectrum of fandom to the current topic of the movie Twilight. There are people who have become obsessed with the movie, dressing and acting as characters and convincing themselves they are on a personal level with them, and there are those who simply find entertainment and pleasure in going to the see the movie and watching the plot and the characters in it, often after having read the books as well. These are examples of fandom on completely different levels; some may define them as a stable and an unstable level on the spectrum of fandom as a whole. Do you feel that fandom can take place on levels which can be determined differently by theorists, or is all fandom a negative psychological result of obsession?
I know many girls who joke about being the girlfriend of Robert Pattinson or discuss how lucky Kristin Stewart was to play Bella, Pattinson’s love interest in the movie. However, there are certain people who have taken fandom to new levels by convincing themselves that they are in love with the vampire from the movie, which means that they are also convinced that Robert Pattinson is actually the character he plays. Stemming from this is an obsession with the actor. He explained in interviews following the release of Twilight that he had a stalker while filming in Spain, and that he finally just went out to dinner with her because she was relentless in her attempts. In the article, http://www.leaderpost.com/Entertainment/Mickey+would+take+gorilla+over+Courtney/1296644/story.html, he talks about obsessive fans, and he has often said that they become obsessed with the idea of his characters more than Robert himself. Do you think these fans are unstable, or have they been informed by the media in a way that drives them to become this obsessed?
These are two completely different levels of fandom, one being obsession and one being common interest. Chapter 9 of Baran & Davis states that “once people are aware and informed, or at least have formed strong images or impressions, they can be moved toward either a conscious decision or an unconscious prioritization or positioning” (261). In this article from People.com, http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20260882,00.html , Kristen Stewart, the actress who plays Bella, discusses her constantly rumored relationship with Robert Pattinson, claiming that nothing has “stopped the rumors of an off-screen fling.” Do you believe that these fans and/or writers are prioritizing and making up lies, or that they have been positioned to make a conscious decision to believe that the actor and actress are dating? Are studies of fandom over-analyzed, or is there a more psychological explanation for it?