“True Fan or Not, Who Gets to Decide?” Love and fruits of their deeds will decide
The admin of the Michael Jackson Tribute Portrait forum wrote an amazing analysis of problems in the MJ fan community: http://www.thejamcafe-mjtpforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=4
Since I fully agree that Michael’s fans, advocates and supporters should stop fighting each other over virtually non-existent issues, I’m reposting her message here in solidarity with what she is saying. However I need to add one point which on the surface of it might look like a contradiction to her post ( it is not).
The fact is that not all Michael’s fans are actually fans – there are lots of haters among them working against the community. They are great professionals in sowing the wind, hatred and division among Michael’s supporters and are not easy to reveal.
What is the way to recognize them? The application of these two principles might help:
- “You shall know them by their fruits”
- “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love , I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love , I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love , I gain nothing.”
Let us try and apply these simple principles – to ourselves in the first place , and hopefully we will manage to come together over Michael.
Here is the message to Michael Jackson’s fan community from TheJamCafe-MJTPForum.com.
“True” Fan or Not, Who Gets to Decide?
Anyone who knows me should be aware of my stance on bullying in the fan community. I have written about it, commented on it and tweeted it. Of course nothing has changed; no amount of words seems to sink in or hit a nerve with those who engage in these tactics. It continues, and so does my abhorrence of it.
In the early days following Michael’s death, I began to notice that many people were taking it upon themselves to decide who was a “real” fan and who wasn’t based on longevity and age. New, young fans joining the MJTP site were being shot down in flames for even daring to call themselves a fan. How could they possible know or understand who Michael was? They were too young, they hadn’t be there since day one or through Michael’s allegations and trial, how could they appreciate his music or understand his genius, how could they be a “real” fan? Instead of welcoming arms, these new fans were met with derision and shameful condemnation and many disappeared from view. Now we see the rising of another trend, the “true” fan syndrome.
In a recent podcast we did with Joe Vogel and Frank Cascio, Joe made a comment that gave me a great deal of pause for thought. He said that Michael Jackson fans, in many ways, were very tribalistic. I have been pondering this for several days now, and in light of recent tweets, blog posts and messages on Facebook I have read, I have come to accept that he is right in what he says.
Now, before anyone takes the meaning of tribalistic out of context, let me give you the definition of the word straight from the dictionary: tribalistic: noun. tribal organization, culture, loyalty, etc. a strong sense of identifying with and being loyal to one’s tribe, group, etc. See? It is clearly not meant as an insult, but it is clear in its definition of the fan community at present.
There has been a slow but obvious shift from the early days when Michael passed, when fans united all over the world to mourn together his passing. There were signs that a global community would arise from the tragedy and unite to carry out and continue Michael’s hope for a better world, from the many interactions and messages of love and support between fan groups and individuals. However, these sentiments have been replaced or rather displaced, as the community divides and forms individual tribes with their own particular focus. And these tribes often work against each other, as opposed to working together.
A friend, who shall remain unnamed, hit the nail on the head when she gave titles to the main tribes/groups that have the loudest voice in the community: The Reality, The Lovey-Dovey, The Conflict At All Costs, and The Negativity Always. Whether you like it or not, whether you’re offended or not, all of us fall into one of these categories in some capacity. But really, this shouldn’t be a bad thing if all tribes were willing to come to an agreement and work for a common purpose, but as it stands now, the only hope of that happening is if the United Nations steps in and forces a peace agreement between the warring parties. Ridiculousness at its best, shameful at its worst.
How can positive change and expansion occur in this situation? Better yet, does anyone really give a damn about change and expansion? While we fight with each other over Immortal, the Estate, Frank Cascio’s book, the Michael album, while we accuse people of not being loyal to Michael because they don’t boycott all of the above and anything that looks as if it’s tied to AEG, Branca and Sony, while we accuse people of not being “true” fans because they don’t share our belief’s, while we question people’s allegiance and intelligence, while we stomp on and beat people down because they dare to say they support something we don’t, demean them, berate them, insult them, undervalue them, vilify them, and put the fear of God into them for offering their opinions, we are doing the same thing to Michael’s legacy, and therefore to the man himself. Why? Because it’s our legacy too; it’s in our hands bequeathed to us and to his family by him. We are it, and all I can say at the moment is heaven help it, because the hands it’s laying in are shaky at the best.
Of course, length of time can often give one a misplaced feeling of ownership and entitlement, but here is a reality check. No one, and I mean no one, has exclusive rights or ownership of Michael Jackson. Just because you have been a fan for all your life or most of it, just because your website is the largest or most popular or the longest running, just because you have a multitude of followers, a loud voice in the community or believe in what you believe in, doesn’t make you any more important than the fan standing next to you with a quiet voice, a scattering of followers and their own opinions and beliefs. No one here has the right to judge or condemn another, and certainly no one has the right to decide who is a “real” or “true” fan. For those who have appointed themselves these roles, you are danger of being labeled also.
It’s a very heavy and vitally important responsibility that has been placed upon us; yet, it is in danger of not reaching its fullest potential. What a tragedy that would be. We have the collective power, if we use it and use it wisely, to bring about the change that is so desperately needed and that Michael himself worked toward and believed in, but instead, we waste that power by pouring our energy into the antithesis of what his vision was.
We all may have a different area of focus in the community, but they are all important to the whole, and at the very center of everything we do, should be Michael’s vision to make the world a better place. It is really the only one, true thing we can be sure of. He spoke of it often, and the message is there in his music, undeniable and strong. Anything else we presume to think, what he may have thought or wanted or how he felt are merely that, presumptions. The only person, who knew Michael inside and out, was Michael himself.
The biggest stumbling block to change is lack of hope; the biggest stumbling block in securing hope is apathy, and the greatest enemy of apathy is vision. We have the vision, Michael’s vision, now just what are we going to do with it?
Here come ol’ flat top
He come groovin’ up slowly
He’s got Joo Joo eyeball
He one holy roller
He got hair down to his knees
Got to be a joker he just do what he please
He wear no shoe shine
He’s got toe jam football
He’s got monkey finger
He shoot Coca-Cola
He say “I know you, you know me”
One thing I can tell you is you got to be free
He bag production
He’s got walrus gum-boot
He’s got Ono sideboard
He one spinal cracker
He got feet down through his knees
Hold you in his armchair
You can feel his disease
Come together babe
Come together babe
He roller coaster
He’s got early warning
He’s got muddy water
He one Mojo filter
He say “One and one and one is three”
Got to be good looking ’cause he’s so hard to see
UPDATE by Cowebeth, Feb. 6, 2012:
Harmony doesn’t necessarily come naturally. Harmony is all too often the reordering of chaos. The discord in the fan community craves simmering from anger so we can more easily move forward. And as Michael said, “There’s nothing that can’t be done if we raise our voice as one”.
Furthermore, as a part of the whole, united fanhood serves as respect for The One; The Circle of Life, in order to become harmonious.
We share in a common bond that is love and can be a power of example as Michael has been.
Like Michael said in TII, “Stand up, stand up”.
Time is of the essence so, let’s stand up for him.
To stand up for Michael is to take a stand for all in the name of love.
That is; with focus on purpose rather than ourselves.
UPDATE by sanemjfan, February 10th, 2012:
Here is a photo of Frank Cascio promoting this post on his Facebook page!