All people have a thing they are a fan of. For some it’s food, for some it’s sports, religious fanatics fall under this as well, and the list could go on and on. Pop Culture lends even itself to the masses. Whatever the obsession may be, these devotees will go the ends of the earth to show love and support for their passions. These enthusiasts are willing to spend thousands of dollars on collectibles and merchandise to further their addiction. Some things like cooking or beer sampling are really more or less just hobbies, but when taken to the level where you are not only knowledgable about the subject but have also spent hours seeking new and wondrous worlds of the hobby, then you could be considered a fanatic.
Take for example Star Trek fans (Trekkies) or Star Wars fans (fanboys; fangirls). *Yeah, I know, HOW DARE I put these two pop culture icons in the same sentence!!* These fine folks spend their lives dedicated to a franchise, chomping at the bit for a new installment or better yet, the next convention to attend. Some Star Wars fans have even gone so far as to practice the Jedi religion or teachings. Trekkies continue to have conventions and with the series in constant re-runs on television and the reboot of the film franchise, these intrepid space explorers are still boldly going into the beyond. Harry Potter fans are no different. The HP series is really the fandom that lived; J.K. Rowling never ceases to amaze and is always bringing in newer generations while keeping the older fans coming back for more. With the release of the new illustrated HP books being printed every October, Pottermore, and the expansion of the universe with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Rowling knows how to always remind us that It’s Real for Us.
Conventions centered around fanatics are also a good way for others to come together and celebrate all things Pop Culture and fandom. San Diego Comicon is one of the largest conventions in the world, receiving thousands of dedicated fans and cosplayers. Cosplaying itself has turned into an art form. Personally, I am truly jealous of the wonders that the fans create. From the makeup to the costumes, recreated down to the most minute detail, these disciples of their respective fandoms show superb creative and skill. Not all fans, like myself, have the time or dedication such as these fellow nuts (I use this word lovingly), but we make up for it in appreciation and promotion of the worlds we belong to.
Pop Culture Fanaticism can be looked at as both a healthy love/loyalty to your fandom and as an almost addiction of sorts. I fall under a category of both. I love and will always be a part of the Harry Potter fandom and yet I teeter on the obsessive because I
want need almost everything HP related and can best you in a game of HP Trivial Pursuit. It is good that these fandoms exist because it gives people to escape their normal lives and into worlds you can only dream of, but once you fall to where you don’t live in the real world any longer, then you might need to have a talking to with your friends.
Fanaticism doesn’t stop at fandom culture, it does extend itself to the world of sports as well. We all know some DIEHARD fans of athletic teams: American football, baseball, football, and basketball being the main ones. These committed fans, much like their “nerdy” counterparts, will go to no ends to support their respective team(s). These sports fandoms lend themselves to undying love but also vehement dislike for said team(s) rival. Case in point: the rivalry between the Yankees and the Red Sox is one of baseball’s greatest; in American football, especially for college teams, rivalry weekend is particularly intense (see: University of Florida vs. Florida State University. This game is held the last weekend of November, after Thanksgiving, and can make for unpleasant family gatherings when the house is divided. James and I are a good example of this. It never turns ugly but there have been times where we have had to sit on opposite sofas.) Football fans (or Soccer to my American readers) are some of the most IMPASSIONED of the bunch. World Cup is the perfect example for this. Nations gather from all over to whatever country has been chosen as the host and–sorry not sorry, but like the Triwizard World Cup–show off not only the skills of these athletes but the pride for their nations. Dancing, songs from the stadium attendees, and even the occasional fight or two all happen during this 1 month event. There is also always a juicy scandal that we can look forward to.
I’m not really going to touch on the religious part of fanaticism. You might be saying to yourself, “How does religion lend itself to Pop Culture?”, at this point in time, religion is not only a way of life and something it has been engrained into the collective mind of most; Culture-wise, religion has turned into a Pop Culture phenomenon because Jesus is now viewed as an almost rockstar or celebrity-type figure. Jesus sandals, the Jesus haircut, the Jesus-like figure in books and movies (Aslan in Narnia….C.S. Lewis was hardup for religion), and even Jesus himself have all morphed into a a fashion trend of sorts.
–I realized that I did end up touching on the subject, but I did try to keep it as tame as possible….
Pop Culture itself is even a fandom. The love of all things Pop is probably the strongest dedication of all. Its not just belonging to *insert fandom or sport* but following and absorbing the entirety of the Pop Culture world. There are even shows dedicated to the Pop Culture of an a certain era (see: VH1 I Love the *insert decade*). All the trends, fashion, movies (bad and good), the music, the sports and sports drama that the known universe can provide draws people in and, even if you hate all of that, you still know everything about it. Like that song that you know all the words to but you CAN NOT stand the band or artist that sings it.
Stay tuned for Chapter 4