Fatal Attraction: Has Instagram Brought Us Too Close to Our Idols?
All of our favorite artists, celebrities, and DJs are at the very touch of our fingertips because of our smart phones. We can now tweet, snap, and slide into the DMs of some of our biggest idols. But is that a good thing? Has Instagram made the casual fan into something a little more extreme? Read the feature by Issy Beech for Noisey.This article originally appeared on Noisey
The other day on Instagram I saw a pretty weird photo—a teenage fan of this young American punk band had posted it.
t was a two-page spread of the band in a magazine, laid out on a table next to a big pink dildo, captioned "look at what came in the mail today." The comments read things like "great combo." Being 2016, the poster had tagged every band member in the photo, as well as the band's official account—one of the members had even liked it, so it was probable that they'd all seen it.
At first I laughed, because it was extremely funny, and then I kind of tapered off into an awkward, uncomfortable silence. I thought: fuck, what kind of fan would I have been in my teens, if I'd been able to do this with my favourite band? What insane things would I have said and done if I could have commented on their day-to-day life online, if I could have tagged them in my posts? What sort of DMs would I have sent? I didn't have a dildo as a teenager but would I have ordered one to make the same joke? Probably.
I've always been an obsessive person. As a little kid I was completely fixated on getting in contact with my favourite celebrities. I once wrote a letter to Taylor Hanson, addressed to just "Tulsa, Oklahoma." It said You keep saying "I Will Come to You" but you never do! You're a liar and I hate you now. There was more to it than that but that's the part I remember. Luckily—if I know the postal system like I think I do—that letter never made it. But if it did by some divine intervention, I'm sorry Taylor. You didn't deserve that.
Hysterical fans aren't a new phenomenon—they've been at it for decades. There was nothing restrained or cool about a fan leaving a newborn baby on the doorstep of Dolly Parton's house in 1973, with a name tag reading "Jolene." It wasn't "chill" when Hanson planned a small, acoustic set at a suburban shopping centre in Melbourne back in 1997 and were met with 20,000 fans. Dozens of attendees were crushed and taken to hospital.
Back in the early 2000s, and basically any time before then, if you loved a band or a celebrity, they were pretty unlikely to know about it. That aching need that you felt in the pit of your stomach as a fan looking up to a rock star—that feeling that if you didn't meet them and tell them about it you might actually die—had nowhere to go really. It just festered inside you until you saw them live, came down for three days afterwards, and eventually grew up. That is unless you were one of those kids who incessantly called hotlines and radio stations to win meet and greets, or you skipped school to camp outside hotels, screaming your guts out whenever you saw a blacked out car emerge from a nearby backstreet.
That was, until the internet.