After reading the Disinformation article “In Defense of the Hipster” I decided that I would defend another subculture that may in fact be universally hated more than the utterly despised (especially by its own kind) hipster. Why does everybody hate the Clueless Fan? The new and enthusiastic kid on the block who asks every writer/musician/comic book artist/filmmaker to take a look at their work. The Groupie 2.0. The type of person who just happens to be a huge fan and supporter of the work that came before them. The Uberfan who is now ready to work with their idols yet completely misunderstands the way that their industry works.
What does one do with the Clueless Fan? Does one post their emails on their blogs so their fanbase can get a good laugh? Does this humiliate the Clueless Fan to the point of psychotic revenge-stalking? These are questions we may not want to ask ourselves but one must wonder how Clueless these New Players actually are in terms of various obsessions. One must assume that the Groupie 2.0 is well-versed in their knowledge and extremely passionate about their own work. In the end all that matters is the quality of their work (and this is true for all artists regardless of ranking) but does the naive attitude of the Clueless Fan prevent their work from being distributed?
One may suggest that all successful artists have been Clueless Fans at one point or another. It is a skeleton in the closet but we all know that our greatest idols have been Clueless Fans who most people looked down upon. I think it is important to remember this no matter where you are in the game. If you are a professional artist why not put your work alongside the work of one of your Clueless Fans and see how it compares. If you are a Clueless Fan why not do the same thing but with a professional artist. View/read/listen to the art for the sake of the art and forget about anything related to personality dynamics. Don’t ask yourself whose work is better but what you like about each presentation and how can each presentation can be improved. If you are the Clueless Fan email the professional artist with your opinions and if you are the professional artist email the Clueless Fans with yours.
In giving the Clueless Fan a chance to present their work and refusing to get caught up in social dynamics of “how the industry works” you are allowing art to take its natural course without letting your industry experience or social opinion effect your perception of Groupie 2.0. Of course there is a major chance that the Groupie 2.0 has no talent whatsoever but I’m asking to give Groupie 2.0 a chance since they are taking so much of their time to email you in the first place. So their emails are annoying. Did you never send anyone annoying emails? That pushy young upstart was you once.
The quality of our work is the most important thing in the end and the only artifact that remains is our output. As artists we view each other on even ground despite our social rankings. Anyone who puts our social rankings before our art is a person we should not be in contact with. The most Clueless Fan in the world could become the Greatest Artist of tomorrow.