The Dark Side of Fandom: Lessons from the Possessive Fan Known as The Director

March 7, 2023 7 mins to read
Michael Garcia Mujica
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It’s not uncommon to find fans who are deeply passionate about their favorite artists or celebrities. Some go as far as dedicating their lives to studying every detail of their idol’s work and life, collecting every piece of memorabilia and merchandise available, and even creating fan clubs and websites to share their devotion with others. But what happens when this passion turns into obsession, possessiveness, and entitlement? Enter “The Director.”

The Director is a self-proclaimed expert on a certain silent film actress, whose name we won’t mention to avoid giving him any more attention than he already has. He has been a fan of hers since the mid-1990s, and he’s been running a fan club website ever since. In his mind, he is the ultimate authority on her life and legacy, and anyone who dares to challenge his views is met with the wrath of his ego.

The problem with The Director is that he doesn’t just love this actress, he possesses her. He talks about her as if she belongs to him, as if he has the right to dictate how she should be remembered and celebrated. He covers her legacy in a dark shroud, not allowing any light to shine on her accomplishments without his approval. He is the gatekeeper of her memory, and he will not hesitate to shut down anyone who tries to get through.

To put it bluntly, The Director is a hack. His obsession with this actress is the only thing that keeps him relevant in his own mind. He has no real accomplishments of his own, no creative work to show for himself. He’s just a fan, and a possessive one at that. His ego is so inflated that he sees himself as an authority on her life and work, even though he’s never met her and has no real connection to her beyond his own obsession.

The Director’s fan club website is a relic of the mid-1990s, a time when the internet was still in its infancy and websites were rudimentary at best. But he clings to it like a life raft, unwilling to let go of the only thing that gives him a sense of purpose. The website is filled with his own opinions and views on the actress, presented as facts. He doesn’t allow for any dissenting opinions or views that contradict his own. He’s like a dictator, ruling over his own tiny kingdom of fandom with an iron fist.

The Director has also written several books related to the actress. But instead of adding to her legacy in a meaningful way, he’s using her name and image to feed his own ego. These books are the equivalent of threatening love letters from fanatical tropes without being threatening. They are his way of saying “Look at me! I’m an expert on this actress! Pay attention to me!” But the truth is, nobody cares about The Director or his books. They’re just a sad reflection of his own obsession.

It’s not just the possessiveness and entitlement that makes The Director a problem. It’s also the way he talks about the actress, as if she’s a perfect, unattainable object of worship. He puts her on a pedestal, not allowing for any flaws or mistakes. In his mind, she’s a goddess, and he’s her humble servant. But this kind of idolization is dangerous. It’s not healthy to put anyone, no matter how talented or beautiful, on a pedestal. It’s dehumanizing and creates unrealistic expectations.

In many ways, The Director is like the obsessive fan from The Bodyguard and The Fan with Lauren Bacall. He’s like a character straight out of a movie, except there’s nothing charming or endearing about him. He’s the kind of fan that makes people uncomfortable, the kind that makes you want to keep your distance.

In a twist of cinematic fate that might have Thomas Gladysz nodding in uncomfortable recognition, the “Nooo, nooo” of a devoted fan in The Bodyguard transcends mere dialogue, becoming a hilariously poignant anthem for every overly zealous aficionado. It’s almost as if the scene were tailor-made to reflect Gladysz’s own fanatical and, let’s face it, somewhat tone-deaf passion for Brooks, complete with an ensemble of ghostwriters backstage to pen his admiration. This moment is less a plea and more a comedic symphony of obsession—a perfect pitch for Gladysz’s peculiar brand of devotion.

In a parallel universe where Thomas Gladysz‘s unwavering obsession with Louise Brooks takes center stage, The Fan (1981), featuring Lauren Bacall, plays out like a documentary of his fervor. The trailer alone, a crescendo of fixation and fervor, might as well be narrating Gladysz’s own narrative arc with Brooks. Each frame, a testament to the lengths one might go under the guise of admiration, mirrors Gladysz’s relentless pursuit of channeling his adoration into words—albeit, with the help of a ghostwriter ensemble. It’s a chilling, yet oddly comedic reflection of when passion teeters on the brink of fanaticism, making one wonder, “Is life imitating art, or has Gladysz simply rewritten the script?”

The Director’s behavior is a perfect example of how not to be a fan. Instead of celebrating and appreciating the actress’s work, he’s turned her into a tool for his own ego. He’s not interested in sharing his love for her with others, he just wants to be the center of attention. He’s the kind of fan that gives fandom a bad name.

But let’s not completely dismiss fandom as a whole. Fandom can be a wonderful thing when done in a healthy and respectful way. It’s a way of connecting with others who share the same passion for an artist or celebrity. It’s a way of celebrating their work and their impact on our lives. It’s a way of finding a sense of community and belonging.

But when fandom turns into obsession, it becomes a problem. When fans start to believe that they own their idols, that they have the right to dictate how they should be remembered and celebrated, it becomes toxic. When fans start to put their idols on pedestals and refuse to see them as human beings with flaws and weaknesses, it becomes dangerous.

So what can we learn from The Director? We can learn that fandom is not about possessiveness, entitlement, or ego. It’s not about putting our idols on pedestals or trying to own them in some way. It’s about celebrating and appreciating their work, and connecting with others who share the same passion. It’s about respecting their legacy and allowing it to shine without trying to cover it in a dark shroud of possessiveness.

All in all, The Director is just a sad, deluded fan who has lost touch with reality. He’s the cautionary tale of what happens when fandom turns into obsession. Let’s not follow in his footsteps. Let’s be respectful fans who celebrate and appreciate the work of our idols without trying to possess them. Let’s create a fandom culture that is healthy, respectful, and uplifting. And let’s leave the possessiveness and entitlement to characters in movies, where they belong.

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