|sent from: London, UK. destination: San Rafael, California, USA|
I was talking to a friend who is working with a director I am big fan of. I would love to be able to do what my friend is doing; have a professional and personal relationship with an idol. It’s something many fans dream of – crossing the chasm of idolisation and come to know the thing you admire on a personal level.
And yet, my friend got the job in part because he didn’t know the director’s work before – for him it was neither here nor there. This is hardly a unique tale – artists often like to work with people who are not fans because they come unencumbered by expectations to the relationship. They can deal with people on more equal footing; much to the frustration of fans who have a strong conviction that their pre-existing relationship to the artist’s work (and by proxy, the artist him or herself) makes them uniquely qualified to be a collaborator.
Not only that – the fan feels they’ve EARNED it. They’ve invested the time, the effort, the money, now they deserve to be listened to. I know, however, having met a lot of my idols that the chasm is an almost impossible one to cross. For a fan, the object of your affection is unique, but the idolised have many people approaching them all the time, each with their own desire to take something away from the encounter, and so no wonder many famous people shut themselves away, become aloof.
So, what’s better? To be a fan – to get all the pleasure that it can bring, but be unable to approach on an equal basis the source of the things you love? Or to not engage – not invest too heavily, and one day find yourself friends with someone with a million jealous fans looking on from the outside?
It is no accident that I chose this postcard – what clearer expression of fandom than an admiration for Star Trek V?