Fanaticism - Who Has The Time?
"There is no place in a fanatic’s head where reason can enter" – Napoleon Bonaparte
When Michael Jackson’s doctor, Conrad Murray, was found guilty of manslaughter for his role in the star's death. Cheers erupted outside of the courthouse as fans learned of the ruling. Jackson's fans were overcome with emotion as they celebrated the decision. There was even one report of a woman fainting.
I've often wondered about these people. Grown men and women who have the time and zeal to go support someone or something they have no ties to.
This is nothing new, Elvis Presley was adored by fans, mostly teenage girls. Today however, there is so much more coverage, and more ways to access that coverage. We can immediately find out what are favorite star is wearing, what they're eating, and thanks to Twitter, what they're thinking. With all of this information readily available, some fans feel they actually know these people. And some fanatics are very unstable individuals.
Everyone has a favorite singer or actor. There are many people I would like to meet in the entertainment industry. However, turning on CNN and seeing these people screaming and crying after camping out to catch a glimpse of their favorite star always makes me cringe. We all need an escape from time to time, some of these people have escaped reality and will never return.
John Hinckley Jr along with Mark David Chapman, are two of the most notorious fanatics. Both were also bat-guano crazy. In 1981, Hinckley was obsessed with Jodie Foster, and sought to win her over by assassinating President Reagan. He was unsuccessful in the attempt, but managed to wound Reagan, along with press secretary James Brady, a police officer and a secret service agent. Great plan John.
Less than a year earlier, Chapman, under the influence of drugs, alcohol, and The Catcher in the Rye, had what can only be described as an unhealthy infatuation with John Lennon. After meeting Mr. Lennon and a having him autograph an album, he waited nearby and later shot John Lennon outside of his home.
There is no shortage of fanatics in the sports world. Earlier this year, a man called into a local sports talk radio show in Alabama and proceeded to profess his love of Alabama football. "Al from Dadeville" explained in detail how he had poisoned the beloved Toomer's Corner oak trees on campus at rival Auburn. As tradition, Auburn students and fans are known to celebrate football victories under the trees.
"Al", or Harvey Updyke Jr. has since been arrested and is awaiting trial after the soil around the 130 year oaks tested positive for herbicide. At no point during this endeavor did he think to himself You know, this is over the top, I'm 62 years old, I may need a hobby. Maybe while loading the truck with the herbicide, or the drive over to Toomer's Corner? Surely he had doubts about his plan while unloading the herbicide, or mixing the poison into the soil. Nope, Roll Tide, right Al? College football in the south is not for the faint at heart.
These are extreme and rare occurrences. Not every fan is waiting behind a tree to shoot or stab another in the name of their idol. At the same time, it cannot be healthy to bid on a lock of Johnny Depp's hair on Ebay.
As a kid growing up, I was definitely a sports fanatic. I could rattle off statistics, trivia, team records, you name it. I’m still a sports fan, it just doesn't consume me these days. As an adult (sort of), it no longer takes me days to get over my teams loss, I have other things to do. I don't really have the time nor the desire to stalk my favorite celebrity.
Come to think of it, I'm not sure I have a favorite celebrity anymore.. Sure I have favorite athletes or musicians, but I think I would feel silly gushing over them face to face. This may come off as pretentious, but I think I would rather meet my Senator or Congressman, I have more questions for them.
America will always have rockstars and movie stars, I just hope it will have mothers and fathers. Policeman and Firemen are people we should want to meet. Our troops overseas, our teachers in the classroom. These are my heroes now, and I would like to thank them for all they do.
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