Fanboyism has grasped the world over for decades and the largest propagator is this industry. Spend any time in the self-improvement industry and you can find ample lists talking about celebrities’ habits, how to be more like a particular person or “think like a billionaire”, amongst many others. These articles in the hundreds of thousands solidified individuals’ success stories and increased their wealth to absurd heights.
They have become so incredibly popular that these individuals have created cult-like personalities, attracting admiring fans to swarm them and justify their every action. They are avid defenders of these individuals regardless of the circumstances and think these individuals are without fault.
To them, these individuals are absolutely flawless and at the peak of humanity. These individuals are fanboys and fangirls.
The only problem with all of this though is that fanboyism is a terrible way to be thinking. Placing a person on a pedestal means at some point they’ll crack under the pressure. You’ll end up disappointed or even slighted by that same person.
The Side Of Fanboyism That Isn’t Talked About
A prime example of this happening is Elon Musk. Musk has recently acquired Twitter and through a sequence of events has started to drag Twitter further and further down into chaos. On the political spectrum, he has made both sides of America not happy with him, but he’s also stewing in his own legal troubles as he laid off half of Twitter.
But more importantly, fans and critics of Musk get a first-time look at how he runs his companies. We already got some glimpses of that through indecency acts and the fact SpaceX loves to ignore sexual harassment cases in general.
Though these are often overshadowed by how Musk is:
- An emotionally intelligent guy,
- A great boss to work under,
- How he has a great family
- Or some other quality that he doesn’t have.
But the individual that has gotten the full whiplash of this is Twitter’s ex-CEO Parag Agrawal. In the span of months, he went from fanboy to fired.
However, the damage has been done and impressions would change. These aspects aren’t often discussed because they are so easily dismissed. We’ve seen that in cases with cryptocurrencies where Musk can influence the price of a coin based on a single tweet.
If you lost your life savings as a result of that phenomenon it’s your fault for investing in that coin. Alternatively, many crypto-enthusiasts are begging for Musk’s seal of approval on particular coins too.
And while crypto isn’t meant to be influenced by a single person, the reality is that it is. Especially if the people surrounding Musk behave in that manner. And the base that tends to rally around the leader speaks a lot about the type of person they are.
The Bad And The Worse
Of course, every person, product, and brand is going to have problems. No one is perfect after all. But the problem with newer iterations of fanboyism is that the people we look up to are people without fault. There is always some convenient reason for dismissing something.
And that further reinforces our need to be around those particular people. It forms unhealthy habits and beliefs. Another example of this is the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard trials. Even though Depp did win in that case in the US, I wouldn’t count it as winning.
The trial exposed who he is and for both individuals, they need help. However, the camp is split for the most part believing that Heard is a feminist icon while Depp is an icon for male suffrage. Both are right, in a sense, but the role models are bad considering what both sides did.
The issue was that the law is structured in a way where one person needs to win and the other loses. And that mentality fuels how a lot of us think. The winner is therefore right while the loser is in the wrong.
The worst part of fanboyism is the blatant favouritism towards an individual. We lean hard into that bias and disregard any information that contradicts what has been presented to us. Any logical arguments are labelled as “politically motivated” or “being nit-picky about the details.”
These excuses prevent us from having serious conversations on a wide variety of topics. The refusal to think a major driving force is infallible and perfect in every way makes it difficult to debate with that person. To come to some sort of middle ground.
And that’s the real damage of fanboyism these days.
Changing Fanboyism Is A Slow Process
Combatting fanboyism comes down to our own individual mindsets. Fanboyism extends beyond people that we look up to as well, but often that presents fewer issues. Loyalty to a brand that betrays us often results in us moving to another alternative.
However, fanboyism towards famous individuals is harmful as it can result in more justification or the fanbase twisting our thinking. There are more smothering tactics used in instances around people compared to brands. This isn’t to say that people should be cancelled for having different views, but rather recognize in the public eye that people aren’t always what they seem to be.
We’ve all placed filters on ourselves to keep appearances in some cases, however with fanboyism, it’s more like a significantly large group of people have framed who this person is on that person’s behalf. Putting impressions in other people’s minds intentionally as it were.
Removing those tendencies is going to be a difficult thing, but one area that we can all grow is to recognize the dangers of being obsessed with someone and thinking they are all-powerful.
To your growth!
Eric S Burdon