Idol communities to some extent make for great places to hang around in. In an ideal world, our opinionated selves would have a good time discussing the various merits of different songs and groups fairly, the altruistic selves would happily share whatever good things came our way fairly, and the non-idol loving side of ourselves would still have time for all the other things that matter.
Granted, most of us can still consider ourselves to have balanced perspectives on fandom, but of course, everybody has either been through, or have seen the darker side of things. Below are a few types of fans that seem to be common around fandom, as well as what they commonly say:
Famous last words: “The best selling act is probably the best” and “My bias is always getting misunderstood”
Such attitudes are understandable if one is very new to fandom. After all, its just been a month since you discovered this new group or phenomenon, where everything is so interesting, there is so much to learn about that good looking member and his/her multi-faceted personality. On top of that, those songs seem to have so much going for them.
However, if after a year, you are still on this endlessly positive spree of love, or defending every ugly article in the tabloids, no matter how much truth there is in it, there is a need to question how much of “reality” you are escaping from.
Another hard truth is how by only focusing on what essentially is a small portion of pop culture in Korea, and calling it “The Best”, you are not doing yourself a favour by being stereotyped as a Koreaboo or a blind follower of trends.
Still, we have all been through that stage of romance before, and that infectiously positive attitude certainly beats the next type of fan profiled.
Famous Last Words: “At the end of the day fandom is going to hurt you” and “The songs are all the same thing that I heard long ago”
The cynic on the other hand, was someone who used to love the fandom deeply, but over the years happened to fall out of things due to varying reasons. Sure, he/she still knows what goes on with most of the groups, and they are probably great treasure troves of information or analysis of things, but those nuggets are always tempered by a hint of “told you so” or some slightly biting but true back story.
So what we have here is usually a case of jadedness from having seen it all, and possibly signs you no longer really enjoy the whole process of fandom. It might be a controversial thing to say in this column, but in this case, to help keep yourself happy, and to help the other fans stay happy, it would be wise to just take a break for a while, and then return when something (genuinely fresh in your opinion) happens.
If there is one thing to be noted though, the cynic is not to be confused with the next category below.
Famous Last Words: “Everybody should be listening to B-list groups” “There is a lot more life beyond the Big Three”
Along the way to becoming a K-pop fan on another level, there was the stage that we all ended up listening to as diverse a variety of acts as possible. Eventually we all came to that realisation that the Big Three did not exactly represent the peak of musical quality, and that good things came in smaller “entertainment” packages (B.A.P, Brown Eyed Girls, Spica et al)
While some of us did go back to the old favourites while being constantly reminded of the quality out there, the hipsters happily used this chance to comment on our tastes and grumble about how it is our fault for not helping K-pop improve.
Thing is though, there is not too much accounting for taste at time, and we are all free to like different things. Also at times, such an elitist mentality is a double edged sword. Sure, some of the populist music is not exactly brilliant, and its good that that’s pointed out, but at the same time there is a good reason why some groups constantly remain obscure – they’re just not very good.
Regardless, we’ve all been through that campaigning for the underdog stage in our lives, and it’s a key thing to lasting in K-pop. The only difference is in how far, and how subjective we are in doing it.
The types of fans mentioned are commonly found online, and we probably share a mutual understanding with them thanks to our interests. The only difference is how we feel about some things, and possibly the cause of some conflicts in interest.
So readers, what is your take on some of the fans you meet?