Terrifying

I guess we can file this under the hashtag #kidsthesedays?

Last week, British GQ released the covers for their September issue, featuring the boys of One Direction with a cover each. Under each of the boys’ photos was a cover line, and the “Directioners” had issues with (to put it very mildly) the one for Harry Styles: “He’s out all night to get lucky.”

See some of their reactions below (and more here):

 

 

Now, I’m no stranger to teen boy band fan-dom, as you may already know, so I know a thing or two about “hating” someone who says something less than positive about my beloved Backstreet Boys. I officially “hated” *NSYNC for a few years simply because they were BSB’s direct (and very strong) competition.

But even when *NSYNC asked fans to buy multiple copies of No Strings Attached, to specifically beat Millennium’s one-week sales record, I have never felt the urge to feed someone’s insides to my dog. My teenaged “hatred” and “indignation” never reached a point where I thought of anything violent, much less verbalized it.

And it’s not just the “Directioners” either. “Swifties,” “Beliebers,” and Chris Brown (yuck) fans have all had their turns lashing out at people and institutions that had the courage to take a shot at Taylor and Justin.

How did things get to this point? Being a fan of musicians, boy bands and pop singers in particular, should be fun, silly, exciting and exhilarating and these kids have turned that experience into something serious and disturbing. Since when has being a loyal, loving fan entail issuing death threats? Since when was it ok to threaten to stab an entire company over a few words on a magazine cover? Since when was it ok to threaten to stab someone, period?

Part of it, I suspect, is due to Twitter, Facebook and all the paparazzi coverage Taylor Swift and her ilk get. That would explain the intensity of their fandom. The updates, the constant stream of information, knowing what Harry had for lunch, seeing an Instagram selfie by Justin from his dressing room is like fuel to an already volatile fire for these kids. We had nowhere near this kind of access to Nick Carter and Justin Timberlake back in the day. Thank God for that.

But that still doesn’t explain the threats. It’s one thing to be a screaming, hysterical, rabid fan, but the graphic and terrifying violence in these kids’ threats completely boggles and disturbs me. How could they possibly think that it is acceptable to write and say things like this? How do these young kids even come up with this stuff? Where are these kids’ parents?

All this is just too troubling, not just for the GQ staffers, but for these kids, and for the world at large, where the future generation threaten people with horrific violence over a few harmless words about a pop star and say things like “you need to be raped and murdered” when their beloved Chris Brown gets (correctly) called out for lip synching. And while we’re on the subject, what are we teaching young girls, that they are still pathetically loyal fans a young man who almost killed his girlfriend?

It’s so upsetting, that I don’t even know how to conclude this ramble of a blog post. How to get these fans to stop; how to make them realize that this is unacceptable, borderline criminal behavior, I don’t know (again, where are their parents?). What I know is, my future kids aren’t getting Twitter accounts until they’re 27.

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6 thoughts on “Terrifying

  1. You mentioned it already…fandom now is different from fandom during the BSB/NSync days. If there was Twitter during that time, who’s to say that I wouldn’t have tweeted an ugly thing or two about people who say something not-so-nice about my idols?

    • I wondered about that, too. I would have tweeted about my anger, for sure, but I did wonder whether I would have tweeted with the same graphic, violent imagination these kids seem to have. We will never know for sure, of course, but I don’t think our entire generation would have. We didn’t grow up as exposed to sex and violence as these kids. The TV shows back then were less violent (I surely don’t remember anything like GOT), the SATC we got was heavily cut, and cursing in music wasn’t as prevalent as it is now. And now, not only is it more prevalent, it’s all so accessible, since they could just download everything. But, yeah, like I said, we’ll never know for sure.

  2. We are obviously betraying our ages no? 🙂 I was never a boyband fan. I liked some of their songs for their infectious beat, nice melody, etc. But I definitely agree that social media has fanned the flames (whaddayaknow) of fandom. In high school, I know of several classmates as well as several other girls in my school who skipped classes the day NKOTB flew in so they could be at their airport. They got found out kasi one girl showed up in uniform – nag half day ang bruja! 😛 Apart from going to the concerts, buying the albums, writing letters and others, that was the extent of fandom then.

    I think it’s also the pervading culture of entitlement among the younger generation. Access to their idols on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook has made these celebs more accessible, and therefore these fans can stake a bigger claim in their hero worship rights.

    I derive satisfaction from thinking that just 5 to 10 years from now, those idiots who sent those threats will be cringing in shame because evidence of their dastardly boorish behavior will still be online for all to see and mock again and again and again.

  3. PS. I recently discovered that my big sister (10 years older than I am) is apparently a boyband fan! She watched the concert of BSB and NSync (is that right?) in one of the US cities near her primarily because of Boys II Men and became a convert! So yep, walang pinipili ang fandom. 😀

  4. Rrrr. Agree. That backlash on Teigen was scary – and there were young girls who were saying it was okay for Brown to beat up on THEM. My goodness. Back in my day, it was all about just tshirts, fan mail, and whatnot. You are right – the internet, social media, fuels a frenzy to crazy, crazy levels. But this is why parents really need to step in and keep an eye on what their kids do, watch, read and post online. Vigilance!!!

    • Oh God. I forgot about the girls who said they wouldn’t mind if Chris Brown beat them up. That made me sick to my stomach. Still does, actually. It’s heartbreaking, depressing and bewildering.

      But as a parent, it would be hard to keep track of everything, with smart phones and Internet everywhere. It’s crazy. Thank God I don’t have kids yet. Haaaay.

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