Is it possible to become desensitized to humanity? Sociologically, we look at celebrities as symbols in our lives—putting them on a pedestal. However, it’s become a reoccurring theme to stop treating them as a “who” and instead as a “what”. Fans (or perhaps that term shouldn’t even apply to these people) have begun to strip musicians and idols of their humanity—literally objectifying them.
Everyone has that friend. The one who will stop at nothing to get a musician to notice them. In their mind, negative attention is still attention. Some people even go as far as to stalk celebrities, harassing them into a meet and greet. While groupies are nothing new, there is definitely an upcoming culture that holds the belief that a musician or celebrity owes their fans. The bitter truth is that a celebrity exists for themselves, not for you. They are human after all.
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a Moose Blood concert (which was absolutely phenomenal by the way), but after the concert I was taken aback by something peculiar. Of course, my friends and I hung back a bit to see if we could meet some of the band members. As a huge fan of Mark from Moose Blood, I really wanted to tell him how much he meant to me. Other fans did the same; no harm, no foul. A few members of the opening acts came out to meet fans. Both Boston Manor’s lead singer, Henry Cox, and Trophy Eyes vocalist, John Floreani, meandered near my friends and I. The outgoing fan that I am, I quickly walked up to them, excited to meet such amazing artists. They both flinched, slightly, but when I said “Hey, can I have a hug?” they seemed surprised, confused even, as if no one ever asks that. That’s when I realized—no one really does. Now the first words out of anyone’s mouth are “Can I get a picture?” It was then that I realized we don’t embrace each other anymore. We stopped creating candid moments with those that we admired and started replacing them with pictures to post on social media.
I’ll be the first to shoot down the ideology that millennials are self-obsessed and only care about selfies, but I mention this as a micro issue in a macro problem. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to get a picture with an artist, because of course we all do it, but it is a bad thing to not even attempt to actually meet them.
And while this problem may seem minuscule in that context, it adds to the overgrowing culture of objectifying stars and if these problems are becoming prevalent in the punk and underground scene, just imagine what’s happening in pop culture as a whole.
Wait, we don’t have to imagine because we know. However, we often turn a blind eye. We hear stories every day of musicians going haywire on the paparazzi and we scold them. Recently, One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson ran into some trouble with the press and the first thing people did was judge him
For the most part we agree that the press often oversteps privacy limits, but what happens when the fans do? Brendon Urie from Panic! At the Disco has recently been addressing this problem in his own life. Urie tweeted about a particular incident in his life at an airport where he felt overwhelmed and anxious about fans and paparazzi.
— Brendon Urie (@brendonurie) January 26, 2017
Urie reported not being able to breathe. The saddest part is that fans refused to move out of his way. Moments like these truly exemplify why it is important that we start treating our idols as people. For Brendon, it did not stop there. About a month after this incident he took to Twitter to address “inappropriate behavior” from fans who had been stalking him at his house. There is a line between what is acceptable and what is not. Often times, we as a fanbase fail to reflect on our own behavior. Due to this stalking, Brendon unfortunately had to move out his beloved house to an undisclosed address.
Farewell, old house. pic.twitter.com/g4bxmW3pQF
— Brendon Urie (@brendonurie) February 25, 2017
Being a fan should mean caring about the wellbeing of these celebrities. It should mean putting their safety above your desire for a signature, picture, or token to remember them by. Some fans have even taking to snatching clothes off of band members.
Twenty One Pilots’ Tyler Joseph was torn apart while crowd surfing last August. While making his way to a platform in the center of the crowd, people scratched at the musician, tearing apart his shirt and removing his mask. The concert ended moments later at the close of Car Radio. It’s still unknown whether this incident is the reason it ended or simply their time was up. However, fans of noted that the duo is known for ending their set with Trees and this abrupt conclusion is highly suspicious. Some fans took to social media to air their grievances.
— Michael Updates ❌ (@MichaelC_Update) August 26, 2016
Our world has fallen prey to a star struck facade. Everything in our culture is defined by celebrity endorsements and we allow this to become our reality. We allow ourselves to become so engrossed that we defile the very people that we have come to idolize.
So, what can we do?
Remember why we fell in love with the scene—the connection that it brought us to others through music, and not through mobbing, stalking, and terrorizing.