November 9, 2012

The "Biggest Fan"(tasy)

If you spend enough time around music fans—or more specifically, music fans meeting their idols—you get used to hearing certain comments. Some are flattering, some mean well but come out wrong, and some are so mortifying you have to wonder what made the person actually say it out loud.

“The show was great!”

“I love you!”

“I’ve had the biggest crush on you since I was 12!”

“I can’t believe people used to think you were the ugly one!”

And then there’s the old fallback:

“OMG, I’m your biggest fan!”

The funny thing is I’ve probably witnessed at least a dozen people claim to be the biggest fan, and it’s not a title than can be worn by 12 people at once. Honestly, I don’t think it’s a title anyone can ever hold. Maybe it’s silly, but I feel a little insulted every time I hear it.

It’s like trying to say you’re the biggest fan of chocolate. Based on what? Should we tally up all the chocolate bars you’ve eaten in your lifetime, have you write a 1,000 word essay on the beneficial effects of chocolate, put you and another chocolate lover in a cage with one Hershey bar and see what happens? What would it matter anyway?

It just strikes me as narrow-minded and silly to believe that you could ever definitively know that you care about something more than every other person on the planet. Even if we could somehow create a standard of measurement that factors in the number of years you’ve been a fan, the number of shows you’ve seen, the amount of merchandise you’ve purchased, and the number of times you've listened to an album, nobody would ever agree. You’ve got people that can afford to do and buy more, people that can’t, and people that won’t. You can be a huge fan and see a hundred shows because you can afford the money and the time off, and you can be a huge fan and never see Hanson live because you live in a different country or have a family to support. At the end of the day, you'll only ever know how far people were willing and able to go, but not how much they care about something.

Numbers and statistics are great for scientific research, but they can never measure how you really feel about something. Outside of those numeric pain scales in hospitals, it's just not normal to attach an exact value or a specific comparison to a feeling. Nobody goes around saying "I love you seven!" or "I love you slightly less than I love Sally, but more than Joe loves you!"

Bottom line: The way every other person in the world feels about a song or a band shouldn't change the way you feel about it, and that's all that matters.