It is safe to say that almost the entire world has recently been exposed to the solo debut of Harry Styles, member of the band One Direction. While he was not the first one to start up a solo project – Zayn Malik left the band in 2015 to pursue a solo career, whereas both Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson released solo material in 2016 – he was, perhaps after Zayn’s dramatic departure, the most hyped and anticipated artist out of the original bandmembers.
It’s been two weeks since Harry released his incredibly successful #1 debut single, Sign of the Times, which leads his self-titled LP that will hit stores on the 12th of May. Subsequently, critics have been quick to write their reviews, labeling the rock anthem as an epic song that establishes Harry as a credible artist. Part of the promotional roll-out of Harry’s debut seems to be centered around the cultivation of that notion: Harry Styles is to be seen as an authentic, honest, yet mysterious, credible musician. Given the fact that Rolling Stone profiles itself as the market-leading music magazine when it comes to crediting such artistry, it was to be expected that a profile and cover issue of Harry Styles would follow suit.
In a companion piece, Rolling Stone published a so-called ‘fansplaining’ column on their website – delving into the fanbase that has supported Harry Styles throughout the years, probably aimed at gauging their reaction to his debut. An interesting take, given the fact that the journalistic lens of Rolling Stone seems to focus mostly around discrediting the opinion of young women, particularly those who have been avid fans of the music that One Direction has put out in previous years, and who have supported Harry and his peers throughout that time. Aside from the fact that such an understanding of music is abhorrently misogynist, as it values the middle-aged white male’s opinion as somehow more legitimate than those of women (even when those women were able to recognize the artist’s talent years prior to those men who were blinded by their fragile masculinity), the article also failed to do what it intended: Explain what makes these fans so loyal to their idol.
There seems to be a deep-rooted misunderstanding of the relationship between fans and the artist they support, starting with the idea that all fans are the same. They are not. As such, many internal disagreement can exist within a fandom, while all maintaining the same admiration for the artist. It should be clear that fans are perhaps, aside from the artist themselves, the most critical of the output provided. People might find that contradictory, but I have found this to be true amongst many different groups of fans. It is similar to having a best friend that loves you unconditionally, but that will set you straight and call you out on your mistakes when you stumble. Fans are there to help the artist along, but that doesn’t mean they will not hesitate to analyze, criticize and educate their idol as well as their peers if they feel this is necessary. Such criticism stems from the expectations they have formed about said output products. Most fans will distinguish between music on the one hand, and image on the other hand. This is separate from the expectations and perception fans have from their idol’s personality. However, they will expect both music and image to reflect the personality of the artist – this is where the honesty comes into play.
For those who have been following One Direction’s career and musical development, the style of music chosen by Harry did not come as a surprise. In fact, while many reviewers seem to shy away from making the comparison, it seems that Harry’s music seems to progress most naturally out of the latest albums of One Direction. Songs like Walking in the Wind, If I Could Fly, or the slightly older Ready to Run and Where do Broken Hearts Go all reflect similar soft-rock vibes. It also fits the fans’ perception of what Harry’s personal taste in music is like, as he’s always hinted at big artists from the 70s and 80s as his big musical influences. His continuous rejection of explaining his lyricism is also consistent with the Harry fans have come to know and love over the years – he’s expressed many a times how much he values music as art. And art is interpreted by the person observing the artpiece, he likes that a song might give different people different perspectives, as long as it resonates, it’s enough.
This links back to image. In my view, many fans see Harry as fiercely protective of his private life. And with good reason, given how he had to grow up in the limelight – starting off on the X Factor, a reality show that is as much a storytelling drama series as it is a singing competition. However, this is also where there is a deep dissatisfaction amongst fans. Part of celebrity culture is providing the public with certain glimpses into your private life, and fans are quite ambivalent in their appreciation of this. On the one hand, fans want to see their idols be happy and have the opportunity to talk to them, or get to know them. On the other hand, fans recognize the flagrant violation of privacy in terms of stalkers, paparazzi and ‘inside sources’ speaking to the press.
In Harry’s case, this is where the dichotomy is most apparent. While he himself never speaks out about his private life or relationships, not even his friendships with other celebs such as Ed Sheeran, Alexa Chung or Nick Grimshaw; his private life has quite possibly been most speculated about and most prominent in tabloids out of all the One Direction members. Rolling Stone does an abysmal job at respecting the same mysteriousness they hail Harry for trying to uphold by filling in the blanks and pushing him to talk about relationships he’s chosen not to address in the past. Their leading title for their profile does not focus on the music, or him as a new solo artist, but rather on him ‘opening up about famous flings’. It is a common misconception that fans want to hear him say that he’s single, or want to know the ins and outs of who he beds. Rather, fans want to hear what makes Harry happy. They don’t want to marry him, they want to know if he’s hydrated and well loved by his family and friends – if he’s taken enough holidays and if there’s anything in particular he still wants to achieve or cross of his bucket list; that is if he has one. They want to hear him honour the fundamental friendships that underpin the appreciation and adoration fans carry for all One Direction members. They want to know what inspires him – not who. Does he order a cheeseburger at McDonald’s, or does he enjoy a Big Mac on cheat days?
Similarly, many fans will find the sudden recognition by Rolling Stone and other acclaimed music reviewers to be bittersweet. While they will feel proud of Harry at seeing him succeed and get this approval, they also call it for what it is: a thinly-veiled rejection of One Direction and the Harry Styles prior to his solo debut. It is an honour to be hailed as the next David Bowie or Mick Jagger, but the line between inspiration and imitation is thin, which makes fans wary. What is more – the celebration of Harry’s apparent ‘new honesty and authenticity’ (again a rejection of his previous work) is rather awkward, when the reviews do not seem to provide Harry Styles with the room to be iconic as himself. They make sure to draw comparisons with a multitude of icons from the past, as if every choice he’s made has been infused with the mentality to emulate his predecessors. Fans want Harry to succeed by being true to who he is, and while his music gets recognition, it’s still not perceived as being something that is only fully Harry’s.Finally, it is important to not just address what fans expect from their idol, but also what they take away from them. In Rolling Stone, Harry Styles shared that what hurts him are fundamental issues that are lacking in today’s society – things like ‘equal rights, for everyone – all races, sexes, everything’. He’s a feminist, has been involved in the HeforShe campaign, and has expressed his support for LGBTQ+ as part of One Direction. He was frequently seen waving a rainbow flag in concerts, stated that ‘here at One Direction, we love love. Love is love,’ and has worn rainbow bracelets – most recently even a rainbow pin proudly fastened on his shirt. Moreover, he’s taken great care in answering questions about partners, favouring the word ‘spouse’ and always using gender-neutral pronouns. Harry is proud of the fact that he wears 26inch women’s skinny jeans, and continues to present himself as vulnerable in photoshoots, and to break gender norms by not shying away from the colour pink, silk and sheer, glitter boots, or wearing nailpolish. While some might not see the significance in this, these moves are incredibly powerful and can help people of all ages feel more accepted and comfortable with being who they are – it makes them feel normal and safe in a heteronormative world that is dominated by gender stereotypes. What is more, it reinforces their love and support for the artist, as they agree with their worldview – it’s a connection on a more fundamental level, that is not fueled by romantic love interest, or aesthetically pleasing faces and outfits.
Moreover, it inspires fans to change their views on society, and to extend the same charity and empathy as their idol does. In this respect, One Direction and its individual members have - unfortunately - been grossly underrated. Only recently did Steve Aoki note the incredibly power held by this fanbase in particular, calling the fans ‘an institution, like an army of bees’, recognizing how Louis Tomlinson’s fans were mainly responsible for his debut single’s smash success – creating and coordinating their own promotional campaigns, creating merchandise and posters, and requesting the song on radios. But this dedication does not limit itself to seeing their favourite artist succeed. Inspired by the great amount of charity work that One Direction has done itself, ranging from participating in Comic Relief and being patrons of numerous charities to Louis Tomlinson spending over 3 million pounds to organize a fundraiser in the form of a Princess Ball for ill children, the fans have bolstered this attitude to give to those in need and started charity drives in honour of the multiple members. The popular account 1DFansGive encourages fans to donate money to the charities that Harry and his peers are patrons of or have expressed their support for – with unparalleled, consistent success.
These positive aspects of the unique relationship between Harry Styles/1D and the fanbase are entirely lacking or even erased in media representation, which further fuels the dichotomy and love-hate relationship that fans have with media outlets. They stigmatize his fans as being teenage girls who fantasize about a relationship with him, and therefore are obsessed with his sex life – when this is frankly an insulting and gross overgeneralization. It is off-putting that fans are shamed for behavior they do not demonstrate, all the while the press engages in exactly that same behavior. It is not fans who force the idea of Harry Styles dating Taylor Swift or Kendall Jenner down anyone’s throats – it’s the press. It is not fans that prioritize his romantic relationships over his musical abilities and interests – it’s the press. On the other hand – it’s not the press that makes an artist successful, it’s the fans. And most importantly, it’s not the press that annually raises thousands of dollars inspired by an artist’s activism - it’s the fans. And the press doesn’t even report it; not even when they attempt fansplaining.
My advice? Don’t try something if the verb is derived from a harmful, toxic, divisive, humiliating and belittling behaviour that takes away someone’s voice and agency. Fansplaining is just as appreciated by fans as mansplaining is by women - not at all.
Can we take a moment to appreciate the fact she replied with simple sentences that I was able to google translate easily?? I’m so glad Koogi seems to take care of herself. Let’s all spread more positivity towards the author 💕
The idea of Harry reaching for a new legitimacy — whether successfully or not — is one I’m really interested in exploring at the moment. I’ve seen a handful of conversations online that basically amount to “he’s got a guitar now, he’s trying to be something more real than One Direction let him be.” I find that conversation so dull and meaningless. It aligns with a rockist mentality that men writing their own music and playing their own instruments is somehow more fulfilling or valid than a catchy pop hook or beat you can dance to. The most wonderful thing about this record, I think, is that it’s not only in keeping with Harry’s “old stuff,“ but that it is very likely the space he’ll continue to work in for a long time. I can’t imagine him noticing Top 40 trends and peppering them into his work on the next record, or clutching for some new and different sound to appeal to a more quote, unquote legitimate audience. Harry has always defied trends, whether through his personal style — wearing floral suits where his bandmates wore classic black or jeans and t-shirts — or, now, by backing the passion and dedication of the teen-girl fan base where, historically, newly solo ex–boy banders were rabid about distancing themselves from that audience in favor of new, older listeners. Even for all the trendy nostalgia in this record, he also shrugged off his producer’s suggestion to use outdated technology to make it; on the Rolling Stone podcast, Cameron Crowe said Harry was adamant about using the most up-to-date tools today, just as his heroes did in the ’60s and ’70s, rather that backpedaling into analog for analog’s sake. The idea that he’s somehow more “real” now that he’s nervously plucking a guitar (one he’s traveled with for, like, five years) is misguided.
This is Rick at his most exposed. It’s all he could ever give of himself to another person to pick over the deepest wound that the zombie apocalypse has inflicted on him. The third season – the conclusion of all the Shane and Lori drama, the birth of Judith, the loss of his wife – is Rick’s absolute undoing. In After, it’s played as the ultimate dig when Carl mentions Shane in the midst of his anger. For Rick himself to willingly bring the whole thing back in an effort to open himself up to Michonne is huge. It’s raw and painful and beautiful. You can tell how much it means for him to say, “Judith isn’t mine” by the way he breathes out afterwards – like it’s a breath he’s been holding in since the day she was born.
Rick’s reveal here should also be considered within a broader pattern that’s forming, too. Since these two became official, we’ve seen him much more emotionally open and direct than ever. His response to Michonne shutting down in her grief is to reach out (see also: Say Yes). And while this confession shows her the sacrifices he’s made to serve his argument, an inadvertent consequence – whether conscious or not – is that Michonne’s role as a parent becomes even more legitimized. Rick’s claiming of Judith is as legitimate or illegitimate as Michonne’s of both of their children. If Rick sees Judith as his, he sees Carl as Michonne’s.
Andy: It’s one of those watershed moments that happens between the two lovers, between Michonne and Rick, that brings them together.
Danai: It’s heartbreaking and it’s astounding and it’s painful, because on the one hand she loves him and sees more of the beauty in him, but he has been holding this inside. That he made the decision that he did is what makes him a beautiful leader. He sacrifices and he gets out of the way of his own feelings to do what’s right for others. That’s what’s beautiful about him to her. That’s why she trusts him and that’s why she’s been loyal to him, and part of why she fell in love with him. […] She would never have dreamt that he wasn’t Judith’s father from the way he treats this little girl.
I try to normally laugh when people post silly things on my posts, but when you start calling me a knee jern nationalist over my taste on oatmeal, I’m going to kindly ask you to go forth and multiply in the Biblical sense.
And in case that’s too complicated a phrase for your darling brain to comprehend: Go fuck yourself.
Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun use their many talents to send a message of hope and community to those who feel hopeless and alone. The band’s mission is for this message to reach those who struggle (usually with depression, since this is the struggle they (specifically Tyler) understand best), in hopes that it will also help the listener overcome the obstacles they share. They do send other messages, but this is the most immediate and by far the most important.
When a fan base selflessly rallies around this kind of mission and message for the sake of helping others to stay alive, it’s unspeakably beautiful and actually lifesaving. When that same fan base selfishly rearranges its priorities to put fan-status ahead of the mission, it’s unspeakably ugly and detrimental to everything it stood for to begin with. It isolates the message from those who genuinely need it most. It’s an ego-driven, life-threatening mentality.
If there wasn’t so much at stake, I wouldn’t care enough to write a single word about this. The reality, however, is that a truly lifesaving message is getting heavy pushback from many who claim to believe and live out these truths – all in the name of self-glorification. When that happens, we withhold goodness from so many people. Again, we withhold aid from those who need it, and I refuse to just sit here and watch that happen.
I’m not just assuming this negativity and selfishness exists, but rather watching it unfold firsthand. Furthermore, I’m not just assuming that people could really benefit from the message. How many times have you read “Your music saved my life” in the comments? Has it saved yours? Would you want it kept from you?
Let’s take a look at some (paraphrased) attitudes we constantly see:
1) “I’ve been a fan since [album title/year]”
I completely understand why somebody would be proud to have watched a band grow from the beginning. In that case, there would be few who could claim to have seen what you’ve seen, and that’s special in and of itself.
However, it’s not meant to be a trophy for you to shove in anybody’s face. The most likely reason somebody would do this is so that others might acknowledge and validate some high-level of fandom that they possess. Instead of seeking this approval for no good reason, acknowledge your fandom to yourself and move on. Validate your fandom by being a fan. Support the band and its mission.
Honestly, you’d be hard-pressed to find more than one legitimate instance in which you should bring up how long you’ve been a fan. The only one I can think of (and it’s rare as hell) is if somebody asked you directly, but even then, just tell them and move on. Somebody was a fan before you, and there’s likely a band you’ll love that – through no fault of your own – you haven’t even discovered yet.
Boasting the number of years you’ve served in the clique doesn’t drive any of your points home. Not a one. Instead, it divides us, which is foundationally against the message and mission of the band to come together and stay alive.
2) “I hate that they’re getting famous.”
If that’s the case, you simply don’t love or support this band. Let me clarify.
There are only two cases (that I am aware of) in which it makes ANY sense to be upset about your favorite band getting famous: 1) They did so by way of “selling out.” In other words, they sacrificed their mission and message and abandoned what they once stood for as a means to an end (but even in this case, you’d be more upset about the means (selling out) than the end (fame)). 2) Their concert tickets are now much more expensive, which makes it more difficult for you to see them live. In these two cases, absolutely be mad.
The reality you need to accept is that if you love this band, it should bring you unspeakable joy when fame allows their message to reach more people. Otherwise, you’re pushing back against the mission of the band, likely because you just don’t want to share, which brings me to my next point…
3) “This is my band.”
I believe the “this is my band” mentality is responsible for a lot of the issues I’m discussing. When you link your personal identity so heavily with something that is fundamentally meant to be shared, you will inevitably forfeit your identity to the public when it actually becomes shared. You will lose yourself entirely.
4) “I hate how people call themselves fans but they only know Stressed Out/Tear in my Heart/House of Gold/Car Radio.”
Show me even one person who claims to be a Twenty One Pilots fan while simultaneously admitting to only knowing one or a handful of song(s). Seriously, if you see somebody do both at the same time, comment it below. Let’s see how many actually exist.
In other words, those who are upset about self-proclaimed fans only knowing one song likely have no way of proving that the person actually only knows the one song. Rather, they assume the worst of a stranger based solely on whichever song they listed as their favorite. If it’s a radio hit, they often call out the poor soul who simply said they like Stressed Out. Even if they do admit to only knowing the one song, in most (if not all) cases, it’s paired with something like, “…but I love this band,” suggesting they expect to dig further into the discography based off of how much they love what little they’ve heard.
The truth is that these songs are powerful enough for one of them alone to move somebody. If you’re not willing to accept that truth because you feel somebody isn’t doing the entire catalog justice, you don’t even understand these songs, let alone support the mission they drive. No matter how ideal it would be for someone to know the whole catalog, no matter how cohesive and intentional each album is as a whole, that can’t possibly diminish the fact that each song can speak volumes by itself. It’s no crime for somebody to recognize that. In fact, it strengthens this community and allows it to grow.
5) “It’s ‘Twenty One Pilots,’ not ’21p’ or ‘TOP'”
I actually agree that we should spell out the band’s name. They requested that we do so out of respect. However, we need to realize something.
Those who abbreviate the band name are almost never doing so to diminish what Twenty One Pilots is. Abbreviating is common with band names, and people are usually just being people. If you’re seeking to invite the person to understand the spelling-out of the band name, do so kindly and in a way that fosters community. This is usually the route the clique takes, and I’m grateful for that. This is just a friendly reminder.
Again, this is no time to take people’s innocent ignorance personally (see point 3). There is never a need to prove how much you know just for proof’s sake.That divides the fan base and pushes back against the band’s mission and message.
EDIT: Since this article was posted, Twenty One Pilots has released official merchandise with their band name abbreviated in nearly every way imaginable (2NTY ØNE PLTS, TØP, etc), which I have to imagine was their decision. Do what you will and remain inviting.
6) “Vessel is not their first album”
Again, those who suggest Vessel is the band’s first album almost never do so just to get under your skin. Don’t let it anger you. Instead, realize that it actually makes a lot of sense for someone to believe Vessel is their first album considering the difference between independent releases and label releases (some of their work isn’t actually allowed by law to be sold commercially or publicly). Be welcoming and kind. Nurture the clique. Let it grow.
7) “Twenty One Pilots is not indie/rock/pop/rap/whatever.”
The lines separating genres have become so blurred at this point that it’s almost pointless to even try to assign one to a band anymore. There’s no reason to get upset if you think Twenty One Pilots has been misrepresented by genre. That being said, by all means have a discussion about what you think it might be. But don’t get upset. That just doesn’t make any sense.
For the record, they’re self-declared as “Schizoid-Pop” and I have no idea what that’s even supposed to mean. Discuss.
Being a part of the skeleton clique should make you feel proud. We are the foot soldiers in places the band can’t reach alone. By spreading this message, you help the band help others, and that’s all they want. That, and to see the clique grow.
If somebody flat-out disrespects the mission and message of Twenty One Pilots, by all means fight back. Don’t be rude, just be real. Defend the truth with more truth.
In that same vein, spreading this message is crucial. Let it through. Do not keep it for yourself. This band is not yours, it’s ours. Not everyone in the clique is guilty of this selfish mentality. In fact, I’d say the vast majority is still on track. However, I say again, we are slipping. Let’s find our footing.
My laptop is in the shop again because of that darn wireless network card thing, so I decided to check out what my desktop had to offer in terms of writing. I found this old self-indulgent writing piece that I started after having a rough day at the studio in college. And guess what? I finished it up finally!
So have a small self-indulgent writing thing with Ravus and an artist S/O~
Word Count: 1,525 Pairing(s): Ravus Nox Fleuret x Reader
“…And then she decided to go ahead and try using my food bowl for her gross paint water!
Can you believe her?”
my gf is playing fallout 4 at the moment and we were chatting about how the game had lots of possibly cool things but wasted its own potential (i feel) because of 1. railroading and 2. pacing problems.
take the intro segment of the game for example. (spoilers for those who haven’t played i guess). you start off by customizing the couple spoken of in the intro of the game, a husband and wife, one of which will be playable by you. but, you get the chance to customize them both, which in turn changes your baby’s appearance.
that’s really cool!
what isn’t cool, however, is the lack of ability to name your own partner or child. you only get to name the player character.
to add to that, the game expects you to, after little interactions with barely any choice, to be bonded enough with your spouse and child to be upset when they’re taken from you and invested for the rest of the game in finding your baby and avenging your partner.
it just kinda falls flat to me.
what i feel would’ve had more impact would be if the module that thawed out the pods was remotely accessed from outside or from the very beginning of the vault. this would’ve meant that, when the player is woken up along with their spouse and child, they have no clue why or what is waiting for them.
the player could then have some time to learn more controls and get situated in the game by traveling through the falling-apart vault with their partner and kid in tow. maybe make choices, like if they should interact with others’ pods. who carries the baby. searching for staff assistance or means for self defense.
once you make it to the exit of the vault, you’d find the elevator isn’t there. confused, you could begin trying to call it down, only it’s already on its way down.
just as the elevator stops, the player is faced by the institute, on their way to steal your baby. maybe you get a dialogue choice prompt here, decide to try to take your baby into safety yourself, or tell your partner to flee, or just try to attack the institute members. in the end, in the scuffle, your partner gets fatally shot (along with anyone you let free from pods), your baby taken, and you get dragged back into stasis.
if you’d had the chance to actually play a part of the game, a stage, with these other characters i feel there could have been some more legitimate attachment and drive to doing something about it later on.
A/N: This is what I wrote when that horrible episode about hypnosis came out. Blame @poipoi1912 for getting me so hyped up that I needed to write. Please note that the author of this imagine does not blame @poipoi1912 in the slightest, and was going to crack under the stupidity of season 18 eventually.
“The judge let that in?” I asked looking up from the tomatoes I was chopping.
“Yeah why not?”
Without looking up I said. “Because it’s stupid.” I could feel his anger rising, so I added. “No seriously there is no precedent. Except if you want to take that 20-year-old piece of shit, which doesn’t even relate. Plus it’s unconstitutional
What about Tanner v. United States?“
“There hypnosis is only for defendants. It assumes that the hypnosis was performed by a licensed practitioner.”
“What does it matter it worked. The guy is going away for a long time. Justice won.”
“I am not so sure.” Feeling the urge to triple check my criminal procedures book.
“He raped her.” As if it was ever that simple. I looked up from my tomatoes.
“I don’t doubt that. But there is such a thing as procedure. Are you telling me Miranda v. Arizona was wrong?”
“Of course not.” He had sat down and pulled the celery towards him and started chopping.