With the passing of a public figure, social networks reveal to us two kinds of people: those posting in appreciation/mourning, and those who feel it is their civil duty to call out “the fakes.” The news of Maya Angelou brought both these people to the surface, and this blog is addressed to the latter.
First of all, who are you to determine what it means to be a true fan of someone and whether or not someone adequately meets the requirements? Does a true fan have to be able to recite I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings verbatim? Or is a true fan one who makes it known to everyone every minute of every day their love for the work of Angelou?
And what about the people who have never heard of Maya Angelou until today when they are surrounded by Instagrams, Tweets, and Facebook posts about her and her work, decided to take a look, and fell in love with her. Sure they haven’t been fans since they were removed from the womb, but does that really mean they aren’t fans? Does that mean that they do not deserve the right to mourn her?
Could this be a bigger problem than it looks? Why is it that when Kim Kardashian is having her wedding and people are tweeting about her, no one cares who is a “true fan.” But when a person of intellectual significance (such as a prominent literary or political figure) is the topic of conversation, everyone decides it is their right–no, responsibility–to categorize fans by their own standards. Remember when this happened with The Great Gatsby movie too? People felt they had to prove that they were fans of the book to escape the ridicule of these ‘Social Organizers’.
I am sick of these people clogging up my timelines with their pettiness. Let people express themselves. Stop thinking you know everyone and their intentions. We don’t need you categorizing everyone with an opinion. Thanks, but no thanks. Your services are not wanted.