There is a troubling trend. I see it mostly on the internet, but it happens outside of The Matrix as well. I'm sure you've seen it to, especially if you frequent Twitter and Youtube.
Stanning, and the Stans that stan.
Stans, as defined by Urban Dictionary, are
"Based on the central character in the Eminem song of the same name, a "stan" is an overzealous maniacal fan for any celebrity or athlete."and
"an over-obsessed fan to the point of following a star around. It is formed from the words stalker and fan."Twitter and Youtube are a breeding ground for these types. On Twitter, there are people who use the search function to find people who are tweeting about (insert celebrity here). If a person is speaking negatively about the object of the Stans' affection, they might find their mentions "blown up" by those ready to defend so-and-so's honor to the (metaphoric) death. And as much as I enjoy Lady GaGa's music, her Stans are among the worst offenders. Many of these folks are easily identifiable. They might have a screenname similar to the celeb's name, their avi might be a picture of that celeb, or a combination of both. They may have "Team (insert celeb nickname)" in their Twitter bio. It usually don't take long to determine that person has defined themselves by the object of their fandom. Some people even refer to themselves as _____ Stans. This is painfully ironic when someone calls themselves an "Eminem Stan", as he was warning against super-fandom when he wrote that song.
Stans can be of pretty much any origin. There are the music Stans (GaGa, Beyonce, Chris Brown, Rhianna). The sports Stans (Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Michael Jordan, Manny Pacquaio, Floyd Mayweather). The politics Stans (Ron Paul, Barack Obama). The TV show stans (Glee). The book and movie Stans (Harry Potter, Twilight).The reality show stans (The Kardashians). And so on. Believe it or not, there are even Stans of contestants on X-Factor. contestants. I saw someone I follow on Twitter get sniped at by a Stacy Francis fan (and later by Stacy Francis herself! Yes, this happened!) because she said something funny about Stacy's eyelashes.
A common phrase you might get from one of them:
"You're just jealous because they're more successful than you'll ever be!"
Oh? That right?
On Youtube, the Stans (and their inverse) have rendered the comment sections mostly useless. Here's an experiment: Go to Youtube. Do a search for a Mozart piece. Any Mozart piece. Look at the comments and tell me if there isn't someone talking about Lady GaGa. There is, I can almost guarantee you there is. They're either comparing it to "her greatness", or using it to disparage her. Neither of which make any sense, because we're talking about completely different genres (that, and Mozart died in 1791).
I have also experienced the inverse of this. A year and a half ago, I saw Lady GaGa in concert in Chicago. When I tweeted in approval of her show, some stranger popped up in my mentions trashing her. Truth be told, I'm perfectly OK with someone not liking something/someone I like. But don't come at me like that when you don't even follow me on Twitter (and I don't follow you).
It's all just weird and dispiriting to me. If you can't even speak on any subject without some anonymous troll "going in" on you, then what's the point of public discussion. There are few real places where rational adults can speak on popular culture without some Stan with no life pissing in everyone's cornflakes.
So to the Stans, I would like to say this:
What you obsess over is so unserious, and the sooner you figure that out, the better off you will be. Beyonce, Lady GaGa, Ron Paul, Barack Obama, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Glee, etc, don't need you to defend their honor. Regardless of what you do or don't do, they will be just fine. They got to where they are today without your help, and they'll stay there without your help. If someone doesn't like them....THAT'S OKAY! I promise it is! It's OK to not like someone. It's okay to think (insert public figure here) is wack, even if you disagree. I like Lady GaGa, a lot of people don't, and that's OK!
Stop using the Twitter search to find people to snipe. Stop blowing up the Youtube comment sections. Stop with the personal attacks of people that disagree with you. Get a life. Find something within your own world to obsess over. Go talk to your kids, and ask them how was their day at school. Call your friends, see what's going on in their lives. Call your parents, see what's new. Shit, call your grandparents while they're still alive. Go find some real people to talk to. And you never know, THEY might actually appreciate that you're thinking about them. Because trust me, the celebrities don't. They don't care about you or your devotion. They don't even know you exist.