Living in New York City as I do, we here are lucky to get shows, books, movies, whatever, on a regular basis before others do. When Larry Livermore a few weeks ago tweeted that COMETBUS #54 was available in “select bookstores” in New York, I knew the ones he meant, those stores in the city that carry ‘zines such as Book Thug Nation in Brooklyn and Bluestockings and Forbidden Planet in Manhattan. A few days later, on January 29th, I went over to Book Thug (it wasn’t at Bluestocking yet) and picked up a copy for myself and Abbey Fox, a long-time reader of Aaron Cometbus’s work. I brought it home, cracked it open, read it until 3:00 in the morning, fell asleep and finished it the next day. While reading, I tweeted from my personal Twitter:
OMG COMETBUS #54 “In China with Green Day” is awesomer than fuck. And I mean that — his writing about gd & their friendship as well as the far east and himself is kinda magical. Can’t put it down — I’m being a little over the top, but seriously, it’s a glimpse of the band we rarely get. And its written with love — of course I haven’t gotten to the end yet, so who knows what road it’ll take! — Aw he doesn’t like the opening band or the bunny, lol. That’s going to interesting, lol. Hahaha. — Aw, he’s reassessed his opinion of the opening band cause they are also fans. Sweet. 🙂 — I’m sorry, last one: NEVER ATTEMPT TO EAT A LIVE OCTOPUS. Can’t. Stop. Laughing. — Aw, he talks about Eddie, Mehdi, and George! — Chapter 18 will make you cry. — Nearing the end… and i feel the same way as he does when the tour begins to end… — be prepared…he has nothing nice to say about Green Day fans…especially middle-aged women…point taken…guilty as charged? i dunno. — well…except for the malaysians.. — luckily, he’s as hard on himself as he is on fans. kudos, dude. — “Everyone has their own perspective, and each thought that theirs was the clearest one.” pg. 94. bingo. — finis…a love story…honest, straightforward, no mincing of words…his stinky socks remind me that I need to take a fucking shower now.”
In a nutshell, it was brilliant. The best thing I’ve ever read about Green Day, and I read a lot of stuff. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me feel like I had an inside glimpse into how the band relaxed or got ready for shows, how it was to travel to places such as Thailand, Hong Kong, and Japan, and most special of all, how the friendship between Cometbus and his friends, Billie Joe, Mike, and Tre (and to some extent Jason White, second touring guitarist, and Bill Schneider, their personal manager and bassist for Pinhead Gunpowder) had evolved over the many years that he’s known them. Kudos, overall to COMETBUS #54. Two thumbs up… except…
There were a few things I was bothered about. If I had reviewed this earlier, I would have mentioned these things as bothersome, but in passing, and not harp on them… like I’m about to do. I took these few things with a grain of salt from a salty writer, but that didn’t mean that I wasn’t floored… or saddened… or bothered… or couldn’t talk about with others… two specific things in the work dealing with fans… one of which was written about by Livermore on his blog. I was specifically called out on something that I said on Twitter. You can read all of that on Larry’s blog (and don’t miss the comments while you’re at it). Now, I feel like I’m obligated to respond to a Twitter conversation instead of actually just reviewing COMETBUS #54. Something that Larry didn’t have to blog about but felt obligated, I suppose, to do so. I suppose I didn’t have to talk about it on Twitter in the first place, either.
Cometbus and Green Day Fans – Superfans Are Us… and YOU
Cometbus starts off the volume with this mantra, aimed at himself: “Don’t be judgmental, don’t be difficult, don’t be self-righteous. Just go with the flow and enjoy the ride. Don’t be judgmental, don’t be difficult…” and then later, he judges the videographers when they got on his bad side by taking photos of beggars without giving alms (that would bug me, too) and that their ideas of photo ops were basically stupid (which also according to his description, seems true, Green Day photographed in a Thailand tuk tuk vehicle does sound a little silly). How the crew was snobbish because they felt that they were “doing real men’s work,” and never really warmed up to him as a former roadie, except for the pyrotechnics guy, who went out of his way to be kind. How their security (three guys all of you who have been to a Green Day show lately have seen) were goons… but intellectual and articulate ones.
He relents a teeny bit on the photographers and crew and a lot on security as #54 moves forward, and says, “I’d been unfair, and let my imagination and assumptions carry me away. It was the same way with the photographers and the crew; the temptation to paint them with a wide brush was hard to resist but, inaccurate.” In other words, he had given them a chance and seen them through a different light as opportunities presented themselves over his two weeks with Green Day in the Far East to actually talk with the photographers, the crew and security. In fact, he writes about a really nice conversation between him and one security man in particular is very touching.
In short, I surmised from his words that talking to people one-on-one is different from judging people from afar… Something that he does not afford to a specific group of fans that rub him, as highlighted below, the wrong way.
Let me say here that the first time I read Cometbus was over the last two years. I’m not a long-term, star-struck fan from back in the day, and from what I understand (and have read) there’s a lot of things in Aaron Cometbus’s works that make you go… woah. He’s a great writer and brutally honest about himself and others. In #54, he talks about how his relationships with both Al Sobrante and Billie Joe went sour at certain points in their friendships, and about his own foibles, too. So all in all, when I finished the 97-page love story to his friends, I was pretty thrilled and touched when I got to the end, as well as upset by a few things, too. Larry’s blog post calls out those fans who felt or may have felt that they were targets in the first of two passages below, when in fact, Cometbus takes it one step further to admonish all fans of a certain stripe as terrifying Green Day groupies, as quoted in the second passage below:
The first passage in question reads:
As excitable as the Japanese fans were, they were still preferable to the comparatively sedate Green Day stalkers back in the States. Those were an eerie bunch, mostly lost-looking middle-aged women and glassy-eyed teens, plus the occasional Green Day groupie family that contained both. Where the dads were, I don’t know—though that may have been the point.
Armed with seemingly inexhaustible expense accounts and trust funds, they crisscrossed the country attending every single Green Day-related event. That kind of frivolousness I could understand in a once-in-a-lifetime or one-last-wish scenario, but not every single week! The decadence of it made me sick. I was grateful, and a bit shocked, that none of them had followed us halfway around the world. The Japanese fans were starstruck, but not crazy enough—or rich enough—to devote their whole lives to the band.
— In China with Green Day?!! by Aaron Cometbus, pg. 88-89
The second passage on page 34 contains a sentence that reads: “Only the most terrifying Green Day groupie would recognize any of the Big Three after they’d stepped offstage.” “The Big Three” are Jason White, Jason Freese (keyboardist and saxophonist), and Jeff Matika (back up vocals and guitar). The nickname, “the Big Three,” is a term of endearment that these three musicians dubbed themselves as the band’s touring musicians from the recently-ended 21st Century Breakdown tour. In two paragraphs, Cometbus basically speaks of the gift of anonymity that befalls the Jasons and Jeff, unlike the near non-existent anonymity of Green Day themselves. That the “Big Three” can walk the streets and not be harassed, as opposed to Billie Joe, Mike and Tre, who are easily recognizable. He goes on to say that not being part of the band, just employees, must be hard on them, too. That I can understand, but then he throws the “terrifying Green Day groupie” line in as he mentions disappointed fans staring at the entourage, trying to find someone actually in the band.
In essence, for those of you out there who are smugly (and you know who are) thinking that the first passage doesn’t apply to you, there are many of you who the second passage, those “terrifying Green Day fans [who] would recognize” the Big Three does apply to. So get your knickers out of a bunch in any gripes about “Superfans” and take the time to actually digest what Aaron Cometbus has written about you. Of course, there are tons of people out there who haven’t read COMETBUS #54, so that is, admittedly, kinda hard to do at this point, I know.
Call Me a Superfan Again and I’ll…
Larry Livermore, who follows both Abbey Fox and me on Twitter, posted a question on Facebook presumably after reading the conversation we were having with other Green Day fans about the first passage. He asked, “Why are they so sure they’re the ones being talked about?” So, I guess I should answer that. Here goes:
First of all, I’m nobody. I don’t hang with Green Day like Aaron Cometbus or Larry Livermore do and shoot the shit. I’m just a blogger who started a project in June 2009 to write about Green Day’s tour and just kept going after it ended. I have gotten over 70,000 “hits” here since then, and a small return readership. When I started the blog, I had never seen Green Day play live before May 2009. I didn’t have any Green Day albums (or many albums for that matter) except for American Idiot. Since then, through crazy happenstance, I have met Green Day, and they and I don’t know each other from a hill of beans. I have spoken with Aaron Cometbus two times, and both conversations, while brief, have been pleasant and he was gracious. I have seen him as the drummer and lead songwriter of Pinhead Gunpowder when they played their amazing show for their friend Anandi last year at Gilman, and while the show was awesome, his actions toward female fans turned me off to no end. I got called a bitch-woman-child on this blog by a commenter for going to see Pinhead Gunpowder because in his words, “I was only there for Billie Joe Armstrong.” Larry Livermore is an acquaintance, and I have seen his band, the Potatomen, play when they reunited for a show last year. I am friends with people who know Green Day, and I love those people with all of my heart. I have gone to multiple Green Day shows and events (not every week, as Cometbus writes but over the period of the tour), have seen American Idiot the musical in Berkeley twice and way too many times (with and without Billie Joe Armstrong as St. Jimmy) on Broadway. I hang around the stagedoor talking with other fans and my friend the stagedoor guy and occasionally, the crew and a band member. I have a friend who plays with the AI band sometimes. I have seen John Gallagher, Jr. play at Rockwood as well as ensemble member Declan Bennett at Ars Nova. I have stood on the St. James Theater. I have exactly three personal fan photographs (one with Billie Joe, taken by a friend who I didn’t ask to take it, as well as a group photo with him when Dawn, an Iraq and Afghan War veteran I interviewed on this blog, met him in NYC), and one with Mike Dirnt, who jokingly took the photograph himself when another friend and I couldn’t take a self-portrait to save our lives. I have exactly one autograph of Billie Joe Armstrong. I have seen the Foxboro Hot Tubs play. Twice. I have traveled to England to see them, to Montreal, to California, and to numerous shows on the East Coast. I will be going to see Mike Dirnt’s band, The Frustrators, in the East Bay next week. I have written about mostly all of these events on this blog (though I keep some things to myself)… my personal memories of great times and I have shared these happenstance good memories with you. I have met fans — the most wonderful (and yes, not so wonderful) women, men, teenagers, and families along the way… a community… a Green Day Community.
I am middle-aged and a woman and I fit the description that Cometbus writes in regards to crisscrossing the world to attend Green Day events. Except, I ain’t lost-looking, am not eerie, and ain’t got no trust fund or expense account, that’s for damned sure. Does that answer your question, Larry? Or better yet, why did you frame the question that way in the first place?
Do I consider myself a Superfan? I hate that word with so much passion you don’t even know. A superfan connotes to me an evil bitch who goes around unkindly ripping everything that they can from a band or any entertainer or a jealous person when they themselves are unable or unwilling to do the thing that they want the most to do… follow their dream and have an adventure. Am I suppose to have some sort of cape with my superfan costume? I was raised in a bar, with music, and one of my dreams in this life (after all the other ones were dashed, but it’s not like I didn’t try to attain them) was to follow a band, listen to music, have a good time, and collect the memories of it, like some people collect books or records, and write about them. Catalog them, if you will. Heck, I am an archivist, and that is what we do.
But maybe, I am a superfan, though I have never, to my knowledge, as some accuse “superfans,” rubbed the things I’ve done in anyone’s face, and if I have, I apologize for that. For a long while, I didn’t even tell anyone I wrote this blog, because, y’know, it’s kinda crazy, and what would my friends think! I have tried to be as humble as possible and while I have failed here and there at that, I am always amazed at anything that comes my way. I have written this blog with respect to Green Day as people, from what I hope, is a grown-up perspective. There have been times in my brain when I’ve felt entitled (as some accuse these superfans) and have mentally kicked myself for even thinking it. I have gotten pissed at times that a certain website (which I happen to like a great deal) has never once mentioned my blog though I mention them all the time. So, while I wouldn’t call myself a superfan, because it’s a stupid, hateful, word, you might call me that. I call myself a fan, and a lucky and grateful one at that.
What I am not is a stalker or a terrifying groupie. (Well, except for that one time when I fangirled all over Billie Joe at an American Idiot talkback — something that I’m completely ashamed of.) Hence, I did not think that Cometbus was talking about me, but I do have the capability of asking myself, as a cursed Pisces will do, am I that person? And neither are the majority of Green Day fans who have occasionally fangirled and fanboyed with me or have or have not crisscrossed the planet and happen to be able to recognize the Big Three offstage.
Of course, your definition of me may be different owing to the description above. I don’t know, and frankly, the more I think about it, the more I don’t care.
“Don’t be judgmental, don’t be difficult, don’t be self-righteous. Just go with the flow and enjoy the ride. Don’t be judgmental, don’t be difficult…”
What was my motivation when I started this blog? Was I trying to get close to Green Day? Was it fame? Glory? A writing project? Boredom? Loneliness? Accomplishing something? Doing something crazy before I die?
Maybe a little bit of all those reasons but… No… my motivation was to get away from writing about genocide… literally. And now with all of this damned stupidity about Superfans and what not, of reading comments from people slagging each other off because of old grudges or trout dances or punk rivalries or jealousy or writers who are friends of the band and have a special place in their hearts who don’t give one good goddamn about his friend’s bands fans… I kinda feel like I did when I almost went to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. the day that a white supremacist walked into it and killed the security guard back in 2009. I was ten minutes away from that damn incident and decided at the last minute not to go. I just want to get away from everything Green Day for awhile.
What is a Stalker?
Enough about me, let’s get back to what Cometbus wrote, specifically on the definition… or at least, a description of, a stalker, since none is clearly provided for in COMETBUS #54. Let me tell you what a stalker, as Aaron Cometbus judges a group of people that he, unlike the photographers, the crew, or security, at Green Day’s latest tour that he is able to speak with and warm up to, lumps a bunch of people into, really is. This is what I wrote in the comments on Larry’s blog:
You want to know what a real stalker is… ask my movie actress friend who was stalked by a woman for six months [sending her messages through Facebook, her blog, leaving things at her house] until that said stalker called the police saying that my friend was being beaten up… the police came to her house and everything was fine… and then the stalker showed up at my friend’s home with a sex toy. Needless to say, that stalker… the true definition of a stalker… spent two months in jail because she refused to post bail for trespassing and harassment until her court date. Court ordered psychiatric care and a restraining order are now permanently in that woman’s life… now THAT is a stalker.
Fans, Superfans, Stalkers
So, with all of that long-windedness said, what’s my take on all of this?
What Aaron Cometbus writes is his opinion, combined with his views of the hyperactivity of fans that he’s seen over the years, mixed in with his own punk perceptions and views. There’s nothing wrong with that. From what I gather, he lives a relatively simple life filled with books and writing who just happens, through happenstance, to know some famous people. He is, as well as you, entitled to opinions. In COMETBUS #54, he tells a wonderful story of friendship filled with obvious love and he doesn’t slam all fans. In fact, there are a few descriptions that are both funny and touching, including a great story about a haywire cultural incident that happened in Singapore between a fan and Billie Joe onstage, some moments of truly obsessed and stalkerish behavior in Japan (but at least they are funny), and, a particularly powerful incident where he dances with a group of Malaysian fans at one of the shows. And he writes that it’s decadent and frivolous for a group of people to follow a band for many shows and events during a tour. And you know what? He’s right. If he had left it at that, it would have been fine. But he goes on to judge those fans whose decadence and frivolousness he deems so completely wrong as “armed with seemingly inexhaustible expense accounts and trust funds” that that is where the problem of his own prejudices and misreading of people, lay. It’s not about me and whether I take it upon myself to follow a band (or whether I’m a superfan, a fan or a stalker), or as Larry Livermore asked on Facebook, “Why are they so sure they’re the ones being talked about?” It’s about Aaron Cometbus and how he misjudges people who love the same band that he does but who do not have the friendship to travel in first class with them for two solid weeks.
And who does he misjudge? Women in their middle-life, who may have finally come to a point in their lives to do something wild and crazy after a lifetime of work and saving, or maybe after divorce, or maybe after being widowed, or hell, even still married, to travel! To hear music! To see their friends who happen to be fans too and have met for the first time after years of Internet talking! And yes, to see Billie Joe shake his ass as well. Or teens… kids just starting out in life and on a grand adventure with their favorite band and their friends! And families that may or may not be broken, but are taking an adventure on their own, without (or with) dad in tow, and bonding with their children over something crazy… music. Some of them may even have trust funds and expense accounts, but it’s their money. In this respect, though, I think back to his view on the photographers that didn’t pay the beggars for taking their photograph. It would bother me, too… if I didn’t know that many of these people that I have met along the way and have talked with, don’t have trust funds or expense accounts.
When Cometbus writes that fans… folks who haven’t had the opportunity to travel like I or many others have, are “terrifying Green Day groupies” just because they recognize the Big Three… what the fuck is that all about? Not only does he slag off a specific group of superfans (god I hate that word), but he also slags off the “ordinary fan,” who just may happen to know what those three dudes look like. I don’t know. I can’t even fathom the meaning behind those particular words.
I know that there are crazy fans. There are those fans who do nothing short of stupid things and I don’t need to tell you what those things are, you can pretty much conjure them up in your mind. Their actions sometimes terrifies me and makes me feel badly for Green Day, or any band, movie star, or public figure, for that matter. These fans invade privacy, put into danger, stalk their children, impersonate them, scream at them, and hound them to no end for just a little piece of them. This behavior is wrong, short and simple. But not every fan or superfan (urgh) does it. Not everyone can be painted with a broad brush. Not everyone has an expense account or trust fund. Not everyone is a stalker.
I guess the bottom line with me is that it’s hard enough being a Green Day fan when punk and music circles constantly slam them. You can’t mention Green Day in many music forums without some commenter writing about how good they used to be. I don’t mind a rational discussion of the issues of fandom and its subsequent problems. But I don’t need one of their friends to slam me as a fan, too. Particularly when the band has named their new live album pretty much in honor of their fans and particularly when that friend does not write informed distinctions about those very same fans.
A great friend of mine who talked with me about this said that fans should just boycott the work. To that, I say no. The problem with that is that overall, COMETBUS #54 is brilliant, and every fan (whether they can recognize the Big Three offstage or not), will quite enjoy it. I stick by those words I tweeted back on January 29th when I started reading the issue: “OMG COMETBUS #54 “In China with Green Day” is awesomer than fuck. And I mean that” I also will keep in mind Aaron Cometbus’s mantra: “Don’t be judgmental, don’t be difficult, don’t be self-righteous. Just go with the flow and enjoy the ride. Don’t be judgmental, don’t be difficult…” In that respect, maybe I have misjudged Aaron Cometbus. But I have only his words to go by on that.
“Everyone has their own perspective, and each thought that theirs was the clearest one.”
COMETBUS #54, In China with Green Day, pg. 94.
February 9th, 2011 at 5:29 am
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February 9th, 2011 at 7:06 am
Really great piece, Tanya. I kind of hope Aaron reads it and perhaps gives another response to the subject. The fact that he reconsidered some of his first impressions of the bands crew members, makes me wonder if he’d reconsider some of those comments about the ‘Superfans’ (sorry!) as well…
February 9th, 2011 at 11:12 am
Tony, Larry basically brought up the term on his blog, and a few people then used the term as a hammer in their comments to his post. That part of this post is mostly focussed on what Larry wrote. I should probably have been clearer in that writing that.
Maybe Aaron himself will reconsider his thoughts on fans, if he reads this. I don’t know. I can’t speak for him. But at least I hope what I have written will provoke wise discussion about the topic, which is basically, all I ask.
February 9th, 2011 at 11:13 am
And thanks… you have certainly been one of the many joys and pleasures of the last couple of years, mate!
February 9th, 2011 at 1:03 pm
Ah, Tanya. Cheers! Very well written & spoken. When I read this ‘zine I didn’t not take much notice of that certain part of it. I chalked it up to Aaron being the rough, tough punk. Yes, with a grain or bag of salt. haha! Yes, he lumped a bunch together, but didn’t let him get under my skin. It’s like he has to keep reminding us of his punk rudeness.
I too loved this perspective from inside. “A love story”! Loved it! I treasure it. He really has the love/hate thing going on. As in he hates himself for loving Green Day at some points. I found great joy in reading ALL of it.
Thank you so much for your thoughts Tanya.
February 9th, 2011 at 2:47 pm
Thank you Tanya.
February 9th, 2011 at 3:07 pm
Very well spoken, Tanya. I feel so fortunate to have met lovely people (like yourself!) in my “crisscrossing” of the country to see Green Day. And you know, no one’s words can take that from us. We are a community – maybe a little crazy at times – but we all love the same thing and each other. That’s all that really matters.
February 12th, 2011 at 10:17 am
You know, I have to correct something that in my heat I wrote. That website that I said had never mentioned this blog before, did once, but I forgot about it. And they tweeted about my Twitter yesterday, much appreciate it.
February 16th, 2011 at 3:27 pm
I don’t know if you were referring to me when you mentioned people bringing up old grudges (I guess you were, though there may be others referred to in that comment as well), but mine is not a “grudge.” I suffered tremendously from the treatment I received at the hands of some of these fans, and it is still causing me great pain years after the fact. I know we’ve discussed this in the past, and that you only see my pain as “laundry” but I cannot overstate how hard it was and still is.
The fact remains that the behavior of some fans is injurious to others. That is not something to simply be dismissed or overlooked. Some of it has greatly diminished my enjoyment of attending Green Day events, which used to mean the world to me.
And as an aside, it was Abbey who coined the term Superfan, when she wrote an essay on the subject on my website.
February 16th, 2011 at 4:57 pm
Yes, Abbey mentioned that she was the one that coined the word. Disliked it then, dislike it now.
But yes, I was referring to your comment, one comment from among others. I am not sure, but from what I understand and what you wrote to me last year, that the issue derived not from being a fan, but from other subjects that will be left unsaid, so when I read your comment, I was a little surprised how you came at the situation. I know that some fans treat others badly, it’s true, and that cannot be denied. However, combined with your words as well as others who are ready to use this word as a weapon, a word, as you can see, that I dislike, was something that made me a little pissed off. The issue of treatment by superfans to others was not the subject of Larry’s piece nor mine, but Aaron’s portrayal of people as “stalkers, lost, eerie, glassy-eyed and fatherless.” However, your statement on the piece did not mesh with what you had written to me about the subject. If I misjudged what you wrote to me and the situation between you and other people, I apologize, but I can only go by what I remember from our previous discussions.
Sorry that I referred to in that way, but from reading it, that’s the only conclusion that I could come.
February 16th, 2011 at 4:59 pm
And again, I’m sorry that you were hurt in whatever happened and/or hurt again. I hope you can learn to let it go one day, I truly do, and not to have your enjoyment of the band diminished because of it.
February 16th, 2011 at 9:29 pm
Thank you for your kind words. I am very confused by your comment though. What happened to me was certainly derived from being a fan. I know I was bullied for having had a moment of superfandom (a word I don’t use, and only used as a response to Larry Livermore’s use of it) years ago, before anyone else had thought of traveling to shows and events. I was also unacceptable because I didn’t see Billie Joe as a sex object (this last one I was called on outright and repeatedly). The requirement to conform was ever-present and exhausting.
I’m not sure what I said in the past that gave the impression that it was any different.
February 16th, 2011 at 10:40 pm
As far as I remember, because I have only heard about this from you since no one ever mentioned these issues other than you, that it was a political issue that caused the break with others. (They only talked about it when I asked in order to get a fair understanding of what happened and that is what they said, too. They NEVER wanted to talk about it and only reluctantly did so, and even then, not very much, out of a sense of sadness over whatever ultimately occurred.) I don’t remember you telling me it derived from being a fan, but I wasn’t there. Again, I know that you had issues with some fans and some of that may have been over what you state above, but from what I remember of your emails to me, it was political fallout that I remember the most. If I’m wrong, I am sorry, but I will tell you one thing again: NO ONE ever mentioned this topic to me until you did and no one has ever said anything even remotely like what you wrote on Larry’s blog. The issues you spoke about on Larry’s blog really had nothing to do with the subject that he, nor Cometbus, suggested…that specific fans were vicious to one another because of their “superfandom.” I suppose you could have stated your case differently but you did not. And your comments, combined with others on the blog, just made me as intemperate in that section, as well as saddened and disappointed that the topic brought out such vitriol from not only you, but others.
February 17th, 2011 at 3:17 pm
It was not primarily a political issue at all. We rarely even discussed politics, except on the rare occasion when it came up on a thread on GDC. And the only person who would come charging after me on political threads was Beth. Politics was just one more reason I was unacceptable to her, but the primary reason had to do with being a fan. During the AI tour, somehow no one had ever thought of traveling to see Green day in other cities, so there was a sense among many of having missed out. I had been a fan for many years and had had some small “superfan” moments, and this more than anything was what made me a target, along with my refusal to “admit” that I was sexually attracted to Billie Joe. Bizarre as it would sound to any outsider, all of this made me someone who needed to be eliminated.
The only reason I had mentioned the political aspect to you is because you are a lefty and I found it very surprising and difficult to understand that, to cope with the hard time you had had studying genocide, you would find solace by hanging out with (some) intransigent right wingers who would in no way be sympathetic to your feelings about political issues.
I don’t understand why you keep repeating that no one ever talked about this to you. So? I am not getting what the point of that is. I would hope that they are at least ashamed enough not to want to boast about what they did.
I don’t believe for a second that there is any sadness on their part about what they did to me. If there were all they would have to do is apologize. Cheryl in particular was a very dear friend to me and I am completely at a loss to understand why she didn’t support me when I was so viciously attacked. That more than anything is what still causes me unending pain.
The comment I wrote on Larry Livermore’s blog had everything to do with the comments Aaron made, Aaron had a sense that there was something off about some of the most ardent fans, and my response was to say; “You’re right, and you don’t even know the half of it.” He is not aware of the intense competitiveness and need for attention that other fans have to contend with. It’s not just that some fans are nasty, but that there is a tense atmosphere being created that makes attending events very unpleasant. Judging by some of the other comments, I am not the only one who feels it. This is not to say that all fans, or even all “superfans” are guilty of this behavior. Anyway, I stand by my comment and don’t see it in any way as vitriolic. (I didn’t address this in my previous comment because I didn’t want to be argumentative, but since you insist, this is my perspective.)
As with previous email conversations we have had, I am sensing that there is some subtext to what you are saying that I am not getting. In the past, when I expressed my pain to you, you reacted by becoming angry, and I was totally perplexed (and hurt) by why that would be. It wasn’t until you blurted out that you thought I was airing my dirty laundry that I understood (that time) why you were angry.
February 17th, 2011 at 4:48 pm
Here is my subtext: the first time I felt you were trying to bring me into the situation and I would not be brought into it because it’s none of my business. You also used my writing about genocide as a wedge that I “shouldn’t be hanging out with rightwingers.” I think you completely disregard the fact that to me, this is about music, not politics, and I am pretty much fed up with politics, especially over the last few years. And while I am still involved with politics, I can actually separate things and people in my mind. I am sorry if you find that wrong. I am sorry if I hurt you, but I have the feeling that you are easily hurt, and I was trying not to do that. I dropped hint after hint that I didn’t want to talk about it, but you just weren’t getting it.
The second time, from the comments on Larry’s blog, it is completely clear to me that those comments are used intentionally, knowing that the people who hurt you would read them, the same as I felt that had happened earlier on this blog.
I can only go by what I have read and what I see. I hate being dragged into the middle of things, and while not dragged into the comments from Larry’s blog, I did use them to write what I did because your comments in combination with others, made me mad that a word is used as a weapon. I also referenced other people’s comments as well, but they are not rushing to claim those comments.
Of course you are right that there is a sense of competitiveness in fans, and of course you don’t sense that what you wrote is vitriolic, otherwise you would not have written them as you did. As read however, I’m saying that they are.
I do not hang out all the time with the people you mention, and whether you believe me or not, what I wrote is the truth. At the point in time that I spoke with them, this is what they expressed. Whether you believe that or not, I cannot help. You cause yourself as much pain with this as they may have.
Again, if I was wrong about your initial emails to me, I apologize. And if I am wrong about anything else, I apologize as well. But like I said, I can only go by what I read. I am sorry if I feel that way.
February 17th, 2011 at 5:40 pm
You are dead wrong when you say that my comment on Larry’s blog was used intentionally to get at any particular people. My comments were directed at Aaron (though he is perhaps unlikely to read them), to tell him his insight was uncannily accurate and to elaborate on why.
I consider the people who hurt me to be beyond the pale, and none of my comments are ever directed at them, not now and not originally on your blog (which I didn’t even think they read).
I think it is your business when you choose to be chummy with people who are capable of such viciousness, and I continue to be unable to understand why such behavior would be acceptable to you in a friend, since you seem to be someone with integrity.
I didn’t expect a reply to my initial comment here, which was very brief. This conversation has been continued by you, so if you don’t want to talk about it, why do you keep talking about it?
I have absolutely nothing against you. My issue is with the fans who make being a fan difficult and unpleasant, and those are not just the people who bullied me, it’s an entire culture among a subset of the most committed fans.
February 17th, 2011 at 5:44 pm
Alright. Then, I’ll stop talking about it.
February 24th, 2011 at 2:40 am
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