Fandom: A universal language

By Sheena Barnett | Daily Journal

“I guess I just like liking things.”
– Abed, “Community”
Trust me, Northeast Mississippi folks, sometimes the coolest place to be is the Elvis Presley Birthplace. I know, being from here, how easy it is to grow weary of our almighty rock ‘n’ roll king. But I’m not necessarily going out there to visit a house I’ve already toured. It’s the visitors that are so fascinating.
Any given day – even the dreariest, darkest days – at the birthplace, there are Elvis fans from just about anywhere. Their accents range from right down the road to across the pond to across the world.
I’m not an Elvis super-fan myself, but I am a fan, and I’m a fan of fans.
Wait, is that possible? Yeah, I think so.
I love fans. I love people who get so excited about something, whether it’s a musician, a football team, a character, a TV show, whatever, that they travel hundreds or thousands of miles, spend hundreds and thousands of dollars and, basically, turn into a kid in a candy store at the very mention of whatever it is they love.
So, these Elvis super-fans, who wear Elvis fur vests and have Elvis stickers on their car and spend their life savings to see where Elvis was born – these are my people.
I may be fans of different things, but I understand them and their passion.
Visiting the birthplace is sometimes like going to the Evergreen Theater in Memphis at midnight on the second Friday of every month. That night is when you’ll see “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” with the Absent Friends shadow cast, with a theater full of die-hard “Rocky Horror” fans.
My best friend Spencer is obsessed with “Rocky Horror,” so we’ve been traveling to Memphis at that late hour to see the movie and the cast a few times. The cast and fellow fans there are all so friendly, making you feel right at home.
I’ve never been a huge “Rocky Horror” fan, but thanks to Spencer’s love for the movie, the awesome cast and the good time we have there, I’m having a blast. I’m becoming a “Rocky Horror” fan in the process.
I guess I’m like Abed from “Community” – I like liking things. And I like people who like things. I like that sense of community you get when you meet complete strangers who dig the same music, or TV show, or movie, that you do.
You may have nothing else in common with that person, but if you can both agree that “Remedial Chaos Theory” is one of the best episodes of “Community” or that Matthew and Mary really belong together on “Downton Abbey” – well, that’s magic.
Sometimes it happens in a two-room shack in Tupelo, sometimes it happens at midnight when you’re doing the Time Warp with a bunch of strangers.
Wherever it is, it makes the world feel a bit more cozy.
Sheena Barnett is an entertainment writer for the Daily Journal. Contact her at sheena.barnett@journalinc.com