I did a lot of internet research during the last couple of days, and some fan websites I found there simply creep me out.
I can sympathize with a certain amount of obsession, since I have been pretty obsessive myself, many times. I can get lost in parallel universes of books, film, music and TV - everything from classic literature and arthouse films to Sci-Fi series and Bollywood kitsch.
I dearly love some fictional characters and admire their creators - the writers, directors and actors who make the fantasy so beautiful and 'real'. I have phases when I buy DVD after DVD, book after book, and scour the internet for downloads and news.
But there's a firm line between reality and fiction. As a writer myself, having worked for TV, I know how films are made, been part of the process, met wonderful people there, and I also know that, like in any job, a brilliant actor, musician, director or writer isn't necessarily a brilliant person, or even a nice one (no - don't worry: most of them are).
Anyway. Lately, I searched the sites of several actors' fans, since I needed some information (and not all actors, or rather their agents, are forthcoming to insignificant foreign journalists), and those fansites often have amazingly complete archives of articles, interviews and trivia.
But they also contain loads of stuff that I find very odd. There are forums, blogs and guest-books full of speculations about His or Her private life; photos of (expensive) gifts the fans sent to their idols; fan-art and fan-fiction, ranging from the pseudo-religious to adolescent adoration and NC-17 stories. Uhm. Everyone is welcome to their own fantasies, but why make them public?
In know I am selfish: Though I have unashamedly used those sites for my research, I still criticize them.
But what may be devotion to those people looks like delusion to me. Why do they dedicate so much of their time and love to someone they don't know; why adore someone from afar whom they never even met (or just met briefly to have a photograph taken or a picture signed at some convention)?
I see little difference between this, and stalking. Both are versions of unrequited love, leading to loss of reality. I wonder what is missing in those people's lives that they give their live and energy to an unknown person.
Maybe it's the underlying desperation and loneliness that scares me most.