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Fan is an abbreviation for fanatic which is a much more appropriate label for this sort of behaviour. Having said that, I’d like to step back for a moment and look at our broader culture.

Few people talk about it but it’s actually extremely weird to have celebrities at all. It’s a cultural and economic phenomenon that works to hijack our tendency to form relationships and identify with people we find attractive. It takes a mechanism that’s supposed to help us bond with our family members and leverages it for profit. The fact that some people can’t handle this gets overlooked. All blame is placed on the individual, allowing the rest of us to absolve ourselves of guilt and responsibility.






eh, I used to think this too, but time spent studying anarchism (hey, its intellectually interesting) has left me with the conclusion that its a natural human tendency in any social system. Simply put: no matter the idea or society involved (even if the idea is anti-hierarchy, anti-status like anarchism), it is easier to remember the idea if there is a face you can put to the name. Put into practice, that means that most cultural, ideological, social or matters of importance will end up having at least one person associated with them. Those people, in turn, then become celebrities by virtue of the fact that lost of people then associate the idea or phenomenon with the person. Advertising and propaganda then catapult that into the phenomenon we have today of celebrities, but that's ultimately just making 100x more potent what would otherwise be an unavoidable (and I saw unavoidable because even anarchist communities can't get away from it) aspect of how humans interpret and remember things about the world.

Put another way, I think this is a similar side of the coin to the fact that most people tend to (consciously or not) put together lists of: "X knows about this better than me, and I trust X, and don't have time to devote to learning about this topic, therefore if I ever need to know more about this topic I can call X" for almost every aspect of our lives.

Note: I have no source here, this is just personally derived observation. A real study on this would be quite interesting. Though I'm sure when we discussed its results, we would do so by discussing the scientist's name and reputation.


"X knows about this better than me, and I trust X, and don't have time to devote to learning about this topic, therefore if I ever need to know more about this topic I can call X"

"We've got Ja Rule on the phone, let's see what Ja's thoughts are on this tragedy."


It's also a natural tendency to eat calorie dense, sugary foods. That doesn't make morbid obesity any less of a pathological and unnatural culural phenomeon.

Isn't it natural to ask for who is going to do whatever you just proposed be done?

I think you're on the right track but I'm betting it's not our symmetrical relationships with peers that are being hijacked, but rather our penchant for asymmetrical relationships with our superiors in a hierarchy. We and the chimps presumably both inherited this from our hypothetical common ancestor.

I'm going to talk about a study right now, but I can't even find it, so I have absolutely no rigor or data about this and it needs many grains of salt. Just pretend I'm holding a drink and talking to you at a party right now. "There was a study" where [species of monkey or ape] were basically encouraged to use money, i.e. they were trained to see a certain token as valuable. From this they began to trade it for food, and then for sex, and weirdly at some point, for the chance to gaze at photos of the alpha of the group. So they essentially ended up inventing trade, prostitution, and celebrity worship from first principles.


The flaw is in the individual. The environment is exploitative, but wantonly acting to harm another person is an individual decision. The only defense could be medical.

Our civilization has evolved much faster than our minds and bodies, but the choice to harm others is still ours.


Let's not go into black and white thinking. Saying the onus is societal/cultural or the onus lies only on the individual are both wrong. Environmental/cultural factors will play on individual decision making - this doesn't absolve the individual but it also doesn't absolve any related societal/cultural forces at play.

Both angles can and should be explored when examining cases where individuals act out in harmful fashions.


And applying the same mentality to drugs results in the American approach of treating drug use as a moral failing instead of drug addiction as a health issue.

Also, let's not fully blame the addictive drugs because people seek them for recreation. Addiction is not instantaneous.

I support your point, drug addiction as a health issue, but the addicts, while deserving the help, are not all victims of the system.


and fanatic is akin to or directly derived from Latin, from fanum "temple", and may mean all kinds of things. Celebrated celebrity seems to mean something quite similar doesn't it?

Your criticism is meaningless, too. There are many attacks on family members.




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