Saturday, 7 December 2013

being a fan is one of the most happying things you can be

In Tavi Gevinson's talk, titled 'Tavi's World', at the Melbourne Writers festival she discusses the importance of being a fan and how being happy is often better that being a tortured artist cliche. I was thinking about everything that she said as I walked to school on Thursday. These are my thoughts that I later wrote down:

In this internet dominated society there is a strive for often unattainable originality. Instead, it is suggested by Tavi, we must aim for authenticity. When there are people doing everything from posted videos voicing views that they know everyone will disagree with to sucking their own tampon, we are better off just, well, being ourselves. Although 'we are all different' etcetera etcetera, we are not all that different that we are all able to have our own revolutionary idea. Being original isn't that important. Sometimes it is fulfilling to just be a fan amongst other fans. It makes you feel a part of something and, in the wise words of Tavi, is 'one of the most happying things you can be.'  It is the fans who decide how culturally significant or insignificant an artistic pursuit will be. What would The Beatles be without Beatlemania? Or  One Direction without Directioners? So don't you let anyone ever tell you that being a fan is not an occupation of the greatest importance.

Tavi's Journals shown at Melbourne talk (same throughout)

I notice that lots of people I follow on tumblr paraphrase Morrissey in their own writing. A part of me unwillingly feels like this is quite fraudulent but it is actually very wonderful. One girl I talk to often describes certain 'things' as being 'precious' and I have started to do the same. This is taken from The Smiths' 'The Queen Is Dead' where Morrissey sings, 'We can go for a walk where it's quiet and dry and talk about precious things.' Similarly, with the same ~internet friend we often quote George Harrison's 'All Things Must Pass' if either of us is going through a tough time or have had a bad day. I was once describing my day in a message to someone else on tumblr where I'd felt invisible so I wrote, 'I NEED ADVICE, I NEED ADVICE. NOBODY EVER LOOKS AT ME TWICE' from The Smiths' 'Miserable Lie.' It's cathartic in many ways to know that 'fandoms', such as this, can almost have their own language that conveys a secret understanding. Morrissey is so prolific that I often quote or paraphrase him without even realising that I'm doing so! 

Tavi also notes that it can sometimes be much more helpful and comforting to write someone else's words (quotes, song lyrics and the like) in your journal than your own. This way, you do not have the fear of getting too deep into yourself and ending up questioning everything and getting nowhere. There is a sense of hope in these words from books, films and songs that you can relate to because it is a confirmation that you will be okay. 

Secondly, Tavi talks about how she felt validated once she was diagnosed with depression last year but, when she tried to write in that mindset, all her metaphors were cliched and all of her writing seemed like a teenage diary- not that there's anything wrong with teenage diary writing but it has its place (in a teenage diary.) Perhaps that is because the 'tortured artist' thing has been exhausted. The fact that it is now a recognised stereotype shows that it is a little overdone. I think that if you feel like you need to make art (be it writing, painting, music, photography or whatever) then you probably have been through some kind of bad time or experienced negative mental states that have fuelled you with that determination to create. 

One man in the audience at Tavi's talk said that he is an 'opto-realist' because he thinks positively as much as possible but life keeps handing him shit. I think that I'm more of a 'pessi-idealist.' I find it difficult not to see the ugliness in the world when I have so many ideals about what's right and what's wrong. I know that, in my lifetime at least, there will never be a time where people will not be prejudiced against people based on race, sexuality or gender. There will never be a time when everyone's vegan (or even vegetarian), when rape culture is non-existent or where equal pay between men and women is actually equal. However, it is the idealistic part of me that is hopeful for positive change. I'm not saying that I aim to, or an going to become, a social justice icon. However, I do want to always write, which is a way that people have been presenting their ideas for centuries. Like Flower said on tumblr: 

'i am tired of people and sexism and racism and homophobia and transphobia and ageism and slut shaming and rape culture and twats and the world in general and i'm far too young to be sick of life.'  

Tavi also said that it's important to find things that you are passionate about in order to survive adolescence. However, I found that the day after I watched Tavi's speech I felt so lonely at school because there was no one to have a lengthy discussion about it with and feeling lonely whilst surrounded by people is the worst feeling ever. It's a good job that I'm going to a Rookie meetup tomorrow where I am sure people will be more than happy to talk about it.

Tavi comments on how we are always told that life will get better as we grow older and she says that that isn't true. Life doesn't get better but we get better at coping with it. Bad day? We've had so many bad days before that we know what book to read/film to watch/food to eat. 

My influences, like Tavi's, are so traceable because they are all here, on this blog. I will never seem like a magical creature who just arrived. I have been constructed- partially, at least- by my passions. Morrissey's influences are also very traceable. At the very beginning of his career he talked about Oscar Wilde and James Dean so often that the topic became exhausted and he refrained from discussing them so much. I like that I can see what inspired/inspires Tavi and Morrissey because it gives the tiny stalker inside of me a chance to rejoice as I uncover more and more information about them. Furthermore, I often like the same things as them because I like them so much. I doubt that anybody is quite as fascinated by me but I find it interesting to look back at my personal ~journey through teendom in such an accessible  way.


  1. This is really thought provoking and makes me wish I could come to the meet up and get into a deep discussion about it! But lovely anyway.

    1. Aww it's a shame you can't make it this time :( I'm sure we'll arrange another one in the new year :) xoxo

  2. Tavi and Rookie Mag have always been my biggest inspirations. They're so influential and I'm glad you, too, have been moved by the writers and Tavi herself. I was never able to find my niche throughout high school, and I feel like it took a toll on my social life. I graduated a few months ago and now I'm so lost. I wanted to attend one of their meetups in San Francisco but I completely forgot about it until the day after it passed. I'm glad you got the chance to go yourself! Lovely greets, darling. I'm looking forward to seeing more from you soon!

  3. I've definitely found that having niche interests has taken its toll on my social life! However, that does make it all the more special when you meet people you can discuss then with and that way they feel more personal too. I hope that you get to attend a meetup or something equally marvellous happens soon xoxo


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