Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Moving On

This post is about moving on in two ways: first, it's the last one summarizing the stages of fangirling. And secondly, after this, I'm hoping to move on to a more fluid discussion of things instead of feeling  I'm jumping from one thing to another like a caffeine-crazed leapfrog (great mental image, that) (also, this is probably not going to happen; but I can dream).

Anyway, no more stalling; here we are at:

6. acceptance “i have accepted that i will never know you but i will continuously love you and i am okay with that”
I have no evidence for this stage of fangirling on hand at the moment, nor do I have any striking examples of it. It's a stage I find I've only reached by growing out of fandom, either by finding a new character/celebrity to strike my interest or realizing the fandom is no longer one of my biggest interests (or it's been absolutely shattered into a thousand, tiny pieces in my mind as in the case of Twilight; but that's a long story, boys and girls, and I haven't the time right now). It's not something I've found is easily reached and a state best arrived at by time. I'd love to show outside examples other than myself, but I just don't have them at the moment. There's really not much expression of it on Tumblr; because Tumblr is mostly about expressing one's passionate love about for a fandom (note that certain opinions are perhaps more likely to be spread over Tumblr than others). And if more toned-done fangirls reside happily out there, they either aren't Tumblr users or they're posts are harder to come across (and I seemingly fail to find them). The best I can really give you is this response to a quiz taken regarding the fandom of Sherlock:

Kind of hard to read, I apologize. But the main point is this: "you have managed to retain a mature attitude towards the show." It's interesting how so much of the rhetoric focusing around fangirls is the perception of them as naive, screaming teenagers and that it's assumed that fangirling is something one leaves behind when one "grows up." I want to question this; I mean, I'm 21 and I'll be the first to admit that I'm only becoming a more intense fangirl as I grow older. Some of the most obsessed followers I see on Tumblr are around the age of 26. Perhaps it's time to set aside this notion of fangirls being very young and see them for who they actually are.
Finally, I'd like to mention how this stage of acceptance requires something else as well: self-acceptance. In some ways, I feel a lot of extreme fangirling comes from a lack of self-esteem and feelings that one is inadequate. Through being obsessed with something like a TV show or an actor, perhaps one feels they can overlook their "defects" and note the good qualities their passion brings out. And when they realize their fantasy of their fandom or their celebrity cannot be had and they must accept the reality around them, they also have to accept the reality of themselves.

If I had more documented evidence, I would use it. But I don't. I'm just a university student, blogging subjectively from what I've seen. But I'm hoping what I'm saying doesn't sound completely mad. Of course, not all fangirls have self-esteem problems. Yet there is something more here, something I
hope doesn't amount to just cobwebs and dust. We shall see what we shall see.

And of course, as promised:

You poor, poor man, Martin Freeman; it's like someone set you up for this. For God's sake, what are his children going to think if they see this? (Actually, nullify that; as a child, I would have thought it was awesome. But then again I was a most unusual child. I used to want to be a mouse. And with that tangent, Musto out!)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

"This Love Will Be Your Downfall"

All right, ladies and gentlemen, here we are, in the final few stages of fangirling. I'm going to cover two at once, perhaps because it's easier to talk about them combined, as I feel they weave together.

4. plotting“hello google can i have a recipe for the strongest love potion in the world thank you or can you just give me a list of ways to successfully seduce a man that’d be great”

Here we are in a realm I only recently have begin to see in the world around me. Things like this appearing on my Tumblr dash:

And this:

Actually, these both kind of bleed over into real person fanfiction. But I digress...

I'd use more blatant examples, but I get the feeling like plotting isn't something widely shared except for this fan-fiction sort of ways. And searching under fandoms like Justin Bieber and Robert Pattinson just returned lots of catty comments about whether Twilight sucks, whether the song "Boyfriends" sucks, and girls yearning to have sex with both of them. Better luck next time.

But plotting is rather clear; it involves plans of some sort to meet said celebrity and/or charm/seduce them. It can stay only in the daydreaming state or it can be put into action. Let's just say that stalkers are, in some ways, people in the plotting stage who have gone too far.

Plotting that doesn't work out, or is just left to germinate over and over again, day after day in the mind can lead to frustration and angst and anger, which can lead to...

5. depression“i hate you you’ve ruined my entire life why are you so perfect why don’t you know me why does everything suck omg my life is over and it’s all your fault”

This is NOT the psychological concept of depression, obviously (although, fangirl depression can get pretty intense). No, this is the state of realizing that all the daydreams, all the time you've spent thinking about said someone, all your plotting and scheming (whether fantasized or actualized) has left you with nothing. This generally ends up with lots of rage and tears and upset. And posts like this:

John Mayer... interesting choice for life ruiner. Moving on...

And this:

And this:

Maybe not the most dramatic examples, but you get the idea. I happen to really dislike the term "life ruiner" for many, many reasons. But I will discuss them later, as I've too much to say on the topic and this post is bloody long enough.

And all of this (hopefully) will resolve out in the sixth stage (we'll see about that in another post). For now, here is some hedgehog weirdness for your viewing pleasure:

Okay... this actually just weirds me out. The anthropomorphism has gone too far; this actually kind of creepy. However, my blog needs this weirdness to live. Ah, the double-edged sword that is culture...

But no, seriously. This pic totally bothers me. Which is exactly why it's going on the home page...

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Do Your Research, part 2

I fear that I have a made a gross oversight in my part on the post discussing research. Previously, I had claimed not to research famous actors and find out everything I could about their lives. This is true. However, I have fallen into another trap of research: looking up every movie said actor is in and watching all that I possibly can.

This is very, very easy thanks to  IMDb (aka: the Internet Movie Database). You can find nearly ANYTHING on this website: actor biographies, a list of filmographies, quotes, trending films and films in production, showtimes... you get the idea (you probably already had the idea, but just in case, now you know).

You can see how IMDb can be a considerable asset for a fangirl. Gone are the days of asking word of mouth if anyone knows any movies so-and-so has done or desperately trying to find out when a new movie will be released. Everything you need to know (and more) is here. EVERYTHING.

Needless to say, I have over-utilized this resource. Did I start watching Ewan McGregor movies just because he was in them? Yep. Did I check out the list of every movie Robert Downey Jr. has ever made? Sure did. Did such movie watching only compound my liking and create an obsession? Of course!
A screenshot of recently viewed pages on IMDb by me.
So yes, I do my research; perhaps differently than most but I am not immune. In fact, my knowledge of movies Paul Bettany  actually led to me inadvertently seeing Benedict Cumberbatch in a movie before I even knew who he was. So, it can actually lead to more fangirling. There you go; IMDb is the gateway drug of fangirls; just thought you should know (I'm totally kidding; I love IMDb. Generally it's great and non-habit forming. And totally vital for me as college student; for real - I just declared my minor in cinema and media studies. I need it to live).

Also, can I say that once, JUST ONCE, I would like to get through a blog post without mentioning Cumberbatch. It's getting excessive. No, seriously; if I think it's excessive, it's totally absolutely excessive.  I need another example, if less relevant. Maybe one that doesn't rely on my personal experience for once. That's be a nice change, eh?

Not to burst your bubble, but I'm pretty sure neither hedgehogs or Martin Freeman are made out of jams, kittens, and rage. That is genetically impossible. Also, Martin Freeman does not wear a strawberry as a hat. I do not know him personally, so I cannot state this as an absolute fact, but I'm going with the assumption that it would not make very manageable headwear (though once I did see a girl with a piece of fresh lettuce pinned in her hair. But that's another story).


Part of the reason for this prior feminist dance break (there's an idea for you; Feminism: The Musical (actually, hold that thought; that could be epically awesome)) is because stage three of fangirling is perhaps the most volatile and personal. It's also the one fangirls are judged for the most and will require absolute delicacy on my part to clearly, honestly describe both empathetically and critically. So without further ado I introduce…

3. obsession“i love him so much omg what you like him too no you can’t have him he’s mine no i must collect everything relevant to him i need it all he’s mine MINE”

Already, I feel myself internally cringing. I have been here, guys and gals, I have been at the point where every moment of every day, some part of my mind is thinking about how fantastic a certain character or celebrity is. As one who is naturally inclined to daydream, I find my thoughts specifically centered around one specific person. Someone whom I've never even met.

Being a fangirl is full of obvious contradictions, no more so than caring passionately about someone you've only seen on TV, in movies, singing on the radio, or exists only in the land of fiction. The sheer amount of time spent thinking about said character/celebrity instead of work, school, or people we actually know and care about could easily be used to make fangirls look absolutely despicable. However, that's a fault all their own.

Our culture is obsessed with love; it's true (think about the number of love songs on the radio, the number of movies/books/plays about romance). But love is not so easy to find. And when you're a young, intelligent (possibly seen as nerdy) girl who's not entirely comfortable (or satisfied) with the state of her body, finding love is even more difficult. But culture is focused on love, implying that one is not complete without it, that one must be in a relationship in order to be part of the norm. If one isn't, one feels left out, ostracized. If you've ever been single on Valentine's Day (I have, every year of my life, baby) then you'll know what I mean.
There is an enormous pressure to be in a relationship, especially for high school girls. I distinctly remember my friend Ashley complaining as we were walking down one of the back stairwells of my school during freshman year about how badly she wanted a boyfriend, how much she NEEDED one. She would continue to complain about this for the next three years until she got her first boyfriend. In the short time she has been single between break-ups, the complaints would emerge and Ashley would not be happy until she was in a relationship again. This perfectly capitulates what I feel is a common theme among young girls in America and one I continually feel the pressure of myself.

So what are us single girls to do? Love songs tell us we should be thinking of nothing but the one we love. And yet we have no one to be in love with. We can relish in our singleness (hard to do at times, admittedly). We can be miserable (lame and the easy way out). Or we can fall in love with someone who we'll never meet, who will always remain an untainted ideal in our head, who represents everything we're looking for and everything we want and who we can never really lose because we never had him to begin with.

And thus, the tragic-comedic fangirl is created. Not to say all fangirls are "in love" with celebrities/characters they like/admire/etc. Being a fangirl does not necessarily directly correlate with such strong passions. But it seems those who are the most vocal, those who are the most obsessed are in love with them.

When you're constantly thinking about someone you've never met and who you'll likely never met, it's easy to get a bit carried away. Since said person of your affection is not physically in your life, some compensation is necessary: striving to bring them up in conversation, subversively trying to get your friends to watch movies said celebrity has been in, thinking about them enough to the point where you're not just daydreaming about them during the day, but they're beginning to show up in your dreams at night.

Unfortunately for the fangirl, there seems to be this little trend:

And fangirls find themselves in a dreadful circle - the more you think/talk/dream about said person, the more you fall in love with them. The more you fall in love with them, the more impossible it seems. The more impossible it seems, the more miserable you feel. And in order to stop feeling miserable... well, you really want to watch that movie with your favorite actor because it makes you feel better. Or you want to talk to your best friend about just how attractive said celebrity is in said role. And you're back at square one.

Of course, one could argue, it would be all solved up if fangirls could get out of their daydreams and get into real relationships. So simple, you say. Not so, I reply. My views on the modern world of dating aside, there's an additional caveat for fangirls, represented by this:

"Real men will never measure up." This is how it is, ladies and gentlemen, for a certain kind of fangirl. There is always that perpetual comparison between the object of your desires and the reality around you. And from what I've seen on Tumblr, none of these girls have yet been able to equate the two.

Due to factors like this, the obsession stage can get really intense, I want to share this post from Tumblr with you but I feel bad linking to something the writer wrote to a specific audience after a very bad week. I don't want to judge her; I just want a clear example of what I'm talking about. I'd keep it anonymous if I could, but I'd like to link it back to the original (and it was published on the internet; we all know the wide-reaching powers it has):

Even after saying all of this, the writer still disparages herself and calls herself nuts. It seems there discomfort in writing it all down, but a surge of pleasure and finding happiness during a bad week in doing so.

I mention this post due partly to a comment I received on another post, about real person fanfiction. These seems to be exactly that; a daydream gone too far, written down as a proposal of the best day imaginable. Though I utterly understand the reasons for writing this post, the whole thing bothers me as far as respecting privacy of celebrities goes. But where do the lines between daydreaming and such fanfiction lie? How do we define boundaries like that with Tumblr and Facebook and Deviant Art dominating the social networking world?

I dinna ken. That's all I can say: I don't know.

And I also don't know how it is that someone thought to compare a cat sniffing a hedgehog to this clip from Sherlock. I'm almost impressed by the cleverness of it... almost... ;)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

"Wanna hear a funny joke? Women's rights!"

So, for those of you who may not have gleaned this by now, I'm a feminist. That does not mean I burn bras. That does not mean I hate high heels and think they should be destroyed. That does not even mean I don't wear make-up or dresses or pantyhose (but oh my God how I hate pantyhose). It means I think women and men should be treated as equals. It's that simple.

I bring this up because I think I've been going about this whole thing wrong. "You mean there's a right way of going about this skylarking?" Nope. There is no right answer. But there's things I could be doing better.

I feel like, whether I express it or not in my writing, I spend a lot of time thinking about how fangirls are harming themselves or causing problems and I'm hung up really on making fangirls look bad. This is not my actual intent. I am a fangirl myself and, while I don't believe I've done this (but plenty of others have) simply calling them crazy and weird is not helping. Likely, they've been called crazy and weird their whole lives (I know I have). And I while I do want to critique and point out their trends and flaws and show that some of the stuff they do is dangerous, I also want to keep in mind that I am not fighting against fangirls; we're all in this together - we just see things differently. And most importantly, fangirls out there - YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
I bring all of this up because, in part, I've been talking about feminism in a bunch of my classes. Also because shit like this still exists:

And shit like this is popping up everywhere:
(Can I just say liberal arts in scare quotes is my favorite bit in this; "ooh, scary, 'liberal arts; it's like some kind of wacky made-up science experiment." Please.) (Also, pretending to be awkward/a loner - dude, if I was pretending, I would be much better at it. Please stop before I lose my cool.)

Oh, and also because this exists. Seriously, the existence of this is more terrifying than Mordor (okay, maybe not. Mordor is pretty goddamn scary; maybe equal for scariness):
(Seriously, this is the header of a legit website. And yes, that is the website's real name.)

And also because gender and politics play a hugely important role in all of this discourse. Trust me.

So, ladies and gentlemen, feminism is going to be coming up a lot. If this makes you uncomfortable, TS. I'm not sorry; it needs to be talked about. If you have a problem with it, take it up with my inbox - I'd be happy to debate why a woman making 76 cents for every man's dollar is not okay with me. The rest of you, hang tight and I'm going to be throwing you some feminist text and starting to tie up a few loose ends (while simultaneously creating a thousand others).

And for enduring all of this (and because I need to get that "feminism is evil" off my retinas), I reward you; running with the week's theme of "Benedict Cumberbatch is not an otter":

You know what, Tumblr? I'm still so upset about all the anti-feminist stuff I found in the last half hour, I can't even make a scathing comment, nor do I want to. You may be showing your appreciation for famous actors in unusual ways that I may not always agree with, but you know what? You make me happy. You don't make me want to cry, or beat someone up, or feel concerned that the human race is totally doomed ("This is supposed to be the Fourth Great and Bountiful Human Empire!"). No, in fact, you help me see some good in the world after a long day of dwelling upon misogyny, racism, and so on. There's a reason I have a Tumblr; there's a reason why I look forward to logging on and seeing others expressing their love and joy at the most recent developments involving their favorite show/movie/celebrity. Fangirls may be problematic but there are much, much worse things.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Do Your Research

research“i have to find out everything about him omg what is his full name what is his birthday do you think he has a wife does he have children does he like jam does he like cats i wonder what photos there are of him is he even real omg”

For those of you still with me on the stages of fangirling, here we are on step 2. Admittedly, this is a stage I personally don't know a lot about. Not because I'm unaware of its existence but... well, I have my limits. And researching someone creeps the hell out of me.

Now, that's not to say I've never read someone's biography on IMDB or clicked on their name in a Wikipedia article. Because I have. Multiple times. It's just that it never really goes any farther than this and thus maintain a fairly naive idea of my favorite celebrity's lives. Because having too much knowledge about them makes me feel really, really creepy.

Coming from a girl who has only "Facebook stalked" someone once in her entire existence (given I didn't have Facebook until 2007 or so, that's not saying much) (but in my defense, I was Facebook stalking someone I had just friended and was going out on a date with) I'm not one for "researching" people on the interwebs. Perhaps it's the whole "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" business which is personally one of my favorite mantras and the best thing I learned in Catholic school (yeah, I went to Catholic school. Story for another time). Basically, if I knew people were Googling my name to find out everything possible about my existence on planet Earth because they had decided I was suddenly the most fascinating thing in their lives, I would be more than a little uncomfortable. Hence my refusal to do such things. Thus, I only find out stuff about the actors I like through various publications (books - namely autobiographies they might happen to write *cough, Barrowman, cough*, magazines, etc) (because I will buy a magazine if my favorite celebrity does an interview in it; that's less creepy to me - they're agreeing to do an interview with someone, not having their life story told my some fan who's some how commandeered all of these details of their lives).
However, Tumblr has introduced a new hurdle in my "sweet" little attempt at trying to be a mundane fangirl: posting information that I just happen to read and then feel immensely unsure of how to deal with. Consider this post I just saw today (I'd picture it here, but it's too large for me to get a screen-shot of it).

We are of course talking about Cumberbatch again (dude, I mention him so much on here, you could do shots to my blog. DON'T GET ANY IDEAS, YOU.) And while I agree very, very much that love is more than just looks (though I will admit it was Cumberbatch's looks that caught my attention first; guilty as charged for being shallow but really I only saw photos of him on Tumblr before I actually saw him act... random tangent, and different stage of fangirling) this... this makes me feel all... is there even an English word for it? The only thing that pops into my head is oogely... whatever the hell that's even supposed to mean. I get this tight feeling in my stomach with kind of flutters, a tight feeling in my throat and yet a deep sudden appreciation for Cumberbatch in how epic this makes him sound. But also a sort of... well, fear at how the writer came across this information and made this sort of list. I could make a list of this sort for my friends Kevin and Sarah - because I've known Kevin since I was 11 and Sarah since junior high (and she's been my roommate for the past two years). However, to list of these attributes for someone you've (I'm guessing) have never met and who's life story you've (probably) gathered through various articles and blogs and interviews and tweets and etc, etc, etc... It's kind of intense, that.

So now I wouldn't even have to search for this information if I wanted to; it just finds my eyeballs on Tumblr. I find this makes it much easier to be more obsessed faster; when you don't have to hunt and spend time finding out details about someone you think is interesting, it makes it that much faster to intensify your interest in them.

More to say, as always, but I'll leave it there for now. BTW, this otter-Cumberbatch business is really catching on. It was apparently in a newspaper in England and now fangirls are worried that it will spiral out of control (as shown by the comments here):

And to add to that, here's an example of our favorite BAFTA-winning actor being compared to an erinaceinae and his wonderful costar being likened to a sea mammal:

And this...

Oh fangirls... what have you wrought?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Apparently this is Trending...

According to my research (aka, my scrolling through Tumblr) comparing Benedict Cumberbatch to an otter is a thing now.

Oh, no, sir. Not you too.

BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH IS NOT AN OTTER. Stop this madness or I'm going to have to rename my blog.

This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things

I'm back after a nice little hiatus (generally called Spring Break by us college peoples) but while in the beautiful but very, very weird Sunshine State (aka Florida) I encountered this song on a local radio station:

I have had this song stuck in my head for the past five days and it makes me hate the world. Not because I dislike Selena Gomez; although I dislike her music she seems to be kind and congenial. Not because I find the songwriting obnoxious and repetitive after less than halfway through the song on its first listen-through (and yet it's growing on me; what the hell is this?!). But because I can't believe that's what we've gotten out of centuries of musing love: singing about how love is like a love song.

Okay, so this isn't totally new; I mean "Heard it in a Love Song" is kind of built around a similar premise (albeit not such a sweet, female-friendly one if you look up the lyrics):

(By the way, welcome to probably the only blog that will mention Selena Gomez, the Marshall Tucker Band, and fangirls in the same post.)

Of course Paul McCartney has his ("Silly Love Songs"), Sara Bareilles has an anti-love-songwriting song ("Love Song"), and even comedian Bo Burnham (who I'm mad at; he knows why (actually, he doesn't; moot point)) has an anti-love song song ("Repeat Stuff"). There are a plethora of others; these are the ones that just come readily to my mind. Despite writing about loves songs as if they are trite and lame (and either celebrating them anyway or mimic their style to prove a point), there are a crap ton of love songs out there. Literally, if I were to flip through a radio station right now, I bet that eighty percent of the songs would be about love (just kidding; if I actually did that I'd probably encounter mostly commercials). The point is, our culture is extremely saturated with love songs. So much so that we have settled for comparing love to love songs (or some derivation of this).

Really, guys? Really? After Shakespeare and the Brontes and Austen and Robert Burns and Pablo Naruda and the Beatles and the Beach Boys and all the other writers and songwriters and poets who've penned romantic lines put all that effort into making sense of love, we're just going to stop and say, "Well, it's already all been said. Everyone gets it. Cool beans, guys. Let's just say that this love is like some other love which is in that love song, and we can pack up and have lunch."

If you can't tell that I'm a little frustrated but this, I am. As a Cultural Studies major, I read a lot of theory about the culture industry - you know, the thing that makes all the stuff we know and love and call cinema and music and so on. And while it's all fascinating to read about, it's also very, very depressing. You see (okay, how do I make a very complicated topic very short and sweet?) it involves this whole idea of the culture industry hating the masses and creating stuff just to dumb us down. I very, very much want to believe that this isn't so. But then I hear the multitude of love songs and the multitude of impossibilities they list off and I get all angsty and conflicted (it's the curse of the cultural scholars).

On hand, I know that many love songs are not written from personal experience. Many of the people singing them did not write them. I should not expect my life to be like what I've seen in the movies and heard on the radio. But after growing up with Disney and Whitney Houston and the Beatles, it's a little hard not to expect it. What's more, I like love songs. And like Leopold Bloom from The Producers, "I want everything I've ever seen in the movies!"

I feel I am not alone in these sentiments. My friends have similar expectations. The posts I see on Tumblr seem to express the same longings, of wanting a great romantic love that seems non-exist in the modern world. The high divorce rates, the attitude and dating trends of my generation, the abundance of anti-love songs and claims that it's all been said and done and that loves songs are trite and just a way of making money is enough to make a girl scream. It's a constant struggle, between seeing love as just a capitalistic tool or a real, honest emotion; between cold, hard realism and passionate idealism; between physics and metaphysics, realism and myth. It's argued that in this disparity comedy arises; I would also argue this is where fangirls form. Confronted with conflicting beliefs about love (it doesn't last; it doesn't die) something has to give. To use Freudian psychology, some sort of catharsis has to take place. And thus the obsessing with one thing or another.

There is far, far more I have to say about this, but this is just the beginning and this post is long enough. So more to say on this later.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Discovery Channel

  - discovery: “who is that sex god and why haven’t i noticed him before”

Welcome to the first stage of fangirling. If you've found yourself in this strange, strange world, fear not. For you are not alone.

When I was younger, I never fangirled about a person; it was always just a movie or a book. I think the first thing I was ever obsessively devoted to was the Disney film The Great Mouse Detective. I watched that movie so many times when I was younger (in all honesty, I still love that movie to a ridiculous degree; I think I partially blame it for my eventual obsession with Sherlock Holmes and the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories). However, around the time The Lord of the Rings movies came out, I got pretty damn obsessed with Aragorn and Elrond (yes, Elrond, shut up, haters) though I was too young to understand that I was turning into a fangirl. It became more obvious with Lupin in Harry Potter and Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre. But the first time I ever became obsessed with an actor (and not the character they portrayed) was over Ewan McGregor.
Yes, the charming and amazing Ewan McGregor. I have endured teasing for having a thing for Scotsmen even since (c'mon, guys, it's not my fault that there's so many talented Scottish actors with pleasing personae). It's hard to trace where it started in retrospect; all I know it wasn't with Moulin Rouge, unlike most. No, I think it was actually The Island (best part of Biology in high school, serious). Why? Well, he's gorgeous. That was it. And I realized he was incredibly talented at about the same time (dude, he was good in a Michael Bay film. That takes serious skill). After this, I mentally kicked myself for not realizing who he was before and before I knew it, I was on to step two... ("We go take our two million dollars and go to Rio!" Oh, wait, that's The Producers... and step five for how to produce a flop if I'm remembering correctly...)

And now for some hedgehog nonsense...

Absurd. Hedgehogs don't drink coffee and cats don't use science (especially the science of deduction).

Friday, March 2, 2012

Why Awards Shows are Dangerous for Fangirls

So, somewhere between trying to write a research paper, writing a fan letter (yeah, I did it; more about that some other time), and trying to get over my post-Oscar ennui and accept that I will never get invited to the Oscars and that my Jarlesburg cheese and champagne celebration at home will have to do, I somehow lost a grip on whatever sort of linear progression I was attempting to create on this blog.

I then decided that there is nothing linear about being a fangirl, writing, or life in general and decided "to hell with that!" Unfortunately for you, dear readers, that means skimming over my posts isn't going to make a whole lot of sense. Not that they make sense now. But at least before there was going to be some illusion of symmetry. But honestly, I don't work that way.
But back to the Academy Awards. I spent most of it searching the audience and red carpet for my current celebrity obsession, feeling rather dumb when a bunch of people on Tumblr bragged about doing the same thing the next day. Of course, this then felt like some form of cyber-stalking and I rebuked myself for crossing lines again. So, instead of diagnosing myself as an obsessive fangirl, I started thinking about the whole idea of watching the Oscars (thank you, television class, for causing me to analyze everything I watch on TV now). Why do we watch the Oscars? Why do we attach such fascination to celebrity culture?

These two questions could take an entire dissertation to answer, so I'm going to try and keep it short and sweet. Basically, celebrities represent everything we want out of life - respect, money, appreciation, beauty. And while we're all told that any of us could achieve that, that any of us could find ourselves in their shoes, living a life of glitz and glamor.

Of course, it's not that easy. Success on that level only comes after years and years and years of studying, practicing, acting, freezing between takes in outdoor scenes, being away from friends and families for long periods of time, and spending long hours traveling, filming and rehearsing. Of course, all of this is easy to overlook when shows like ET and publications like People magazine show celebrities lounging on the beach and driving their new Ferrari. And yet there's still this feeling that, like Justin Bieber, all it takes is one Youtube video and we could be in the fame club. And seeing the Oscars on TV, so close at hand (and yet infinitely far away)... well, it's confusing and mind-bending to say the least. The sky's the limit - but there's so many ways to read this phrase.

To end these posts, especially some of these heavier ones, I thought I'd start including a photo of Martin Freeman compared to a hedgehog along with a snarky comment of mine why it's unfair (because I'm good at snarky). So, here we go:

(Okay, ignore the cuteness of the hedgehog. Ignore the cuteness.) Martin Freeman has won a BAFTA. I doubt any hedgehog has.