|Lynskey considers psychological studies + historical comparisons|
Here's a sample from a lengthy article examining the history of the meme of hysterical - typically female - pop fans, with Beatlemania and today's Beliebers obvious examples (media coverage of the threats issued to any 1D 'haters' via social media also reflects this - scroll to bottom for examples):
Teenage girl fans are still patronised by the press today. As Grant says, "Teenage girls are perceived as a mindless horde: one huge, undifferentiated emerging hormone." In an influential 1992 essay, Fandom as Pathology, US academic Joli Jensen observed: "Fandom is seen as a psychological symptom of a presumed social dysfunction… Once fans are characterised as a deviant, they can be treated as disreputable, even dangerous 'others'."Dorian Lynskey's article goes on to flag up that such behaviour - and the negative coverage of this - goes back much further than the Beatles in the 1960s:
"Lots of different fans are seen as strange," says Dr Ruth Deller, principal lecturer in media and communications at Sheffield Hallam University, who writes extensively about fan behaviour. "Some of that has to do with class: different pursuits are seen as more culturally valuable than others. Some of it has to do with gender. There's a whole range of cultural prejudices. One thing our society seems to value is moderation. Fandom represents excess and is therefore seen as negative."
Lothian can't remember why he chose the suffix "mania" but it carried a lot of historical baggage. It was first applied to fandom in 1844 when German poet and essayist Heinrich Heine coined the word Lisztomania to describe the "true madness, unheard of in the annals of furore" that broke out at concerts by the piano virtuoso Franz Liszt. The word had medical resonances and Heine considered various possible causes of the uproar, from the biological to the political, before deciding, prosaically, that it was probably just down to Liszt's exceptional talent, charisma and showmanship.There is much more than these two excerpts.
One Parisian concert review, quoted by Liszt scholar Dana Gooley, suggests the first stirrings of modern pop fandom: "The ecstatic audience, breathing deeply in its rapt enthusiasm, can no longer hold back its shouts of acclaim: they stamp unceasingly with their feet, producing a dull and persistent sound that is punctuated by isolated, involuntary screams." Lisztomania also had its Paul Johnsons. One writer in Berlin, where the phenomenon began in 1842, bemoaned the frenzy as "a depressing sign of the stupidity, the insensitivity, and the aesthetic emptiness of the public".
This is one example of how Media students can benefit by considering what concepts or studies they can access from other academic fields which might help illuminate debates around Media issues. Audience is a particularly fruitful field for seeking to apply concepts from psychology, sociology etc.
One Direction fan pathology...
The overwrought young female fan emerges in a series of press articles about 1D fans angry at anybody deemed disrepectful to their heroes. It does make you wonder about media portrayal of violent impulses: the crazed female stalker of Play Misty For Me, femme fatale of Basic Instinct, and gender dysmorphic Norman Bates (male but harbouring a female identity) all spring to mind.
|The crazed, emotionally overwrought young female fan forms the familar 'Other' in this recent tale: read full article.|
|This one was about fans fury at Harry Styles being represented as promiscuous in GQ. Full article here.|
|This time its classic rock band The Who; 'Best Song Ever' was alleged to rip off a Who track. Full article here.|