Harry, my cat died
May 3, 2013 6:21 AM   Subscribe

So many Directioners - the fans of non-threatening boyband One Direction - liked to tell their idols about the deaths of grandparents, pets or dreams that it spawned a Twitter account dedicated to cataloguing the strange things fans say. It's a far cry from the communications between star and fan twenty years before.
posted by mippy (15 comments total)
There is far too much pre-teen heartbreak here to even merit a modicum of snark. Only got through about six of those Storify-ed tweets before I was shaking my head and sighing. The things these fans are saying, they aren't strange. They're honest.

And they just want someone to listen.
posted by grabbingsand at 6:39 AM on May 3, 2013 [8 favorites]

When I first heard about this a while ago, I was prepared to find it funny, but actually, it was cute and touching - something which the blog article sums up nicely.
posted by mippy at 6:50 AM on May 3, 2013

Celebrity is a strange, strange thing. I remember watching _The Beatles Anthology_ a while back and one of the lads, Ringo Starr I believe, described how during the 60s people would bring severely disabled small children, often infants, to the band members as if they had magical healing powers. I happen to like One Direction, and if I'm honest I'm a little envious of their commercial success, but I absolutely wouldn't want to deal with the fan insanity.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 7:13 AM on May 3, 2013

posted by Jacqueline at 7:36 AM on May 3, 2013

Michael J. Fox said something really impressive in an interview once - he said that he always gave people an autograph if they asked for it. He said that it was because he didn't just see it as an autograph - the way he looked at it, he was signing a contract that acknowledged the other person's existance and equal worthiness.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:38 AM on May 3, 2013 [26 favorites]

1D may be the catalyst for the biggest mass release of psychotic energy since the Beatles, I think.

The fan fiction is incredible - with whole armies of teen girl 'shippers'. These are girls who select two of the boys (most commonly Louis and Harry) and then write entire novels about how the two boys are in love with each other but have been ordered to stay apart by the band's management in order to preserve their image. Out of this they construct a powerful knot of all their feelings towards the boys, the music industry, sex, etc., all of it shared and reflected back instantly with other fans across the entire globe.
posted by colie at 8:23 AM on May 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

I was not going to read the link and be all snark, and I still won't read the link, and I will still snark, but EmpressCallipygos took the wind out of my sales with the best of the 1980s.

Be assured, Metafilter, I will be snarking on the 1D boys in an hour or so, or their tween followers, but for a moment I will pause and reflect.

I'm not going to lie, I find twitter, tween and the weirdness that surrounds the cult of personality crazy. My explorations into trending topics, and into the users who show, is a strange one. I have seen multiple girls (and they are always girls so far) reaching peak twitter in a day just to tweet and retweet hashtags. To get noticed. to be appreciated, to be acknowledged.

But that daily dot article is so sad.
posted by Mezentian at 8:43 AM on May 3, 2013

I was huge into a boy band and quite a few teen heartthrobs when I was young. I bet that their fandom (and that of the Jackson 5, Leif Garrett, the Osmonds, Ricky Schroder, NSync, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Debbie Gibson, etc) would have been just as manic as the Directioners if we had Internet access and didn't have to conduct everything by mail.

I'm glad that my 16-year-old whims and whimsies were tucked away in letters that were likely never read before shredding and slam books that were eventually tossed rather than being out there for others to analyze and mock, and mockingly analyze.

Jason Bateman, Michael J. Fox and Donnie Wahlberg have matured into FINE specimens of the species, IMO. I can (mostly) pick'em.
posted by kimberussell at 9:06 AM on May 3, 2013

That "twenty years before" link is a nice piece.
posted by yoink at 9:06 AM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

I will spare you all the story yet again, but - David Tennant is another example of Big-Famous-Person-Who's-Still-Really-Gracious-To-Fans.

I'm convinced it's because his dad was an archbishop and so he's thus got a bit of a goody-two-shoes streak.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:19 AM on May 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

So rmd1023 really did call it in the Brunner post. What a weird world we live in.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:44 AM on May 3, 2013

The things these fans are saying, they aren't strange. They're honest.

And they just want someone to listen.

Yeah, but it is strange to want a specific famous person to listen.

One supposes that they want the attention and recognition from that person all the time, it's not as though it was triggered by their cat dying or whatever. That makes it gross.
posted by anazgnos at 11:26 AM on May 3, 2013

Another Twitter account linked from this one caught my eye: @Imaginesof5SOS. As far as I can tell, it's an account devoted to sharing teenage fans' romantic fantasies (or "imagines", as they put it -- and is is it significant that they have coined a new word to describe these?) about members of a different boy band. This seems like the sort of thing teenage me would have been even more mortified to share in public.
posted by jeudi at 11:36 AM on May 3, 2013

What I really want to know is whether anyone was writing slash fiction about East 17.

Actually, perhaps not, I'm just about to have my tea.
posted by mippy at 12:01 PM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

I worked on a web app a while back which had a stream of 1D related tweets going by as sort of decoration, so I got pretty used to this background level of sad news and retweet requests. I think the "Harry, my cat died" thing started (or at least, blew up) when he retweeted someone who was just genuinely sad their cat had died and was reaching out, and then there was a lot of "my cat died too!" for a while.

Leigh Alexander just posted an essay (and followup blog post) about the way followers interact with people on twitter, and it does seem very similar to the way celebrity fans end up effectively in one directional (heh) friendships with the celebrities. I can see how that must become extremely tiring, so it's nice to hear that story about Michael J. Fox always signing autographs.
posted by lucidium at 12:03 PM on May 3, 2013

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