I was piqued earlier today after encountering some appalling comments in a cricket thread on this forum. These inhumane comments sought to redefine the degrees to which one can be classified as a fan. It was quite upsetting. The comments were applied to cricket but their nefarious intent could have been applied to music, or other arts. The comments were indicative of the continuing assault on the intellect that permeates modern culture inpsired by the prevailing political outlook.
It is necessary to debunk thoroughly the aforesaid attitudes and banish them to the realm of the reviled.
Here, I elucidate the correct and sensible definitions of the degrees to which one is a fan.
CASUAL FAN: A casual fan of a social activity enjoys it but could live without it if necessary. He or she would not place this activity at the top of a list of priorities and would not forego other activities or the requirements of daily life in order to enjoy it. It is enjoyed in the absense of preferred activities.
For myself, I am a casual fan of rugby league, association football, poetry, several television programmes, and ballet. Other general examples include hearing only chart music and buying the occasional CD single, going to the theatre a couple of times a year, and watching test cricket on television and attending a day's test or one-day inernational cricket per year.
A casual fan has an interest in an activity mainly through boredom and spare time, he or she makes little or no financial contribution, and, crucially, he or she is not in a position to comment, have an opinion on or pass judgement on the activity.
FAN: A fan has a keen interest in an activity. He or she will always try to find time for the activity, will always budget for the activity, will seek out others who share their interest, will acquire knowledge of the activity including technical details where appropriate, history and international knowledge, will have favourites, and will have informed opinions - he or she will enjoy discussing the activity with others, the discussion being at an intellectual level.
I am a fan of music and cricket. As a cricket fan, I will, subject to other commitments, watch any cricket match, I am a season ticket holder at a first class county and attend matches when finances and time permit, I take an full interst in the technical details of cricket including laws of the game, rules and regulations, playing techniques and administrative decisions, I have a good kowledge of the history of cricket and can talk about it from an informed perspective. My interest in the club I support, Lancashire County Cricket Club, includes being a memebr of the club, watching the first and second teams in action, taking time to peruse the averages, discussing the team with other members, and taking a keen interest in the administration of the club.
All the above is normal behaviour for a sports' fan; such behaviour defines being a fan. It does not interfere with the mundane commitments of one's life, such as work, it does not cause financial difficulties, and it does not adversely affect relationships.
OBSESSIVE FAN: An obsessive fan is a fan who takes his or her interest in a social activity to a degree that adversely affects the rest of their life. He or she foregoes financial repsonsibility, commitments to work or home life, and considers the social activity to be more important than anything else in his or her life at all times. The key point is the irresponsibility in his or her interest in the activity. The obsession is, intrinsically, insane.
I am not obsessive about any social activity.
I return to the comments that piqued me earlier today. A poster redefined casual fan, fan and obsessive by describing a casual fan as a fan and a fan as an obsessive. This is disturbing. Since obsessive is perceived as a negative description, to describe a fan, in the example, a cricket fan, as an obsessive, is to imply that a keen, knowledgable, intellectual interest is unwelcome. Further, to describe a casual fan as a fan, as the norm, is to imply that any interest in anything should normally be causal, half-hearted and unintellectual.
This appalling redefiniton, in fact, a dedefiniton, is a sympton of the malaise that permeates modern culture, a malaise that is induced by the prevailing political culture that decries anything intellectual and promotes half-heartedness as a norm. It is normal human sentient behaviour to take a keen interest in something and to want to know everything about it. This is not obsessive, it is normal intellectual behaviour. Someone who wallows in turpidity would choose to just take a casual interest.
It is absolutely necessary to resist the pressure to conform to the venal aspects of modern culture that devalue the intellect. A keen, full interest in something is not an obsession, it is normal behaviour.