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Oct 13, 2022

On the latest episode of No Free Refills, Ezra and Tymika drink and discuss new show sponsor Dayglow Coffee while sipping on Drop Coffee’s Ana Sora Ethiopia and Dayglow’s own F01 before diving into the pop-culture internet phenomenon of stan culture.

Grinnell College describes fan culture, or fandom, as a term that “describes communities built around a shared enjoyment of an aspect of popular culture, such as books, movies, TV shows, bands, sports or sports teams, etc. Fan cultures are examples of participatory cultures. Participatory cultures involve fans acting not only as consumers but also as producers and creators of some form of creative media. Though most fan cultures, including sports fans and fans of music groups, have elements of participatory culture, media fandom in particular encourages creative expression and artistic production by its participants.”

What separates your typical fandom with standom is a combination of rabid loyalty, social media, and a bit of stalker behavior. NPR explains, “while some say the term is a combination of ‘fan’ and ‘stalker,’ ‘stan’ was first coined in 2000 when Eminem dropped a twisted allegory in a song called ‘Stan,’ about a man who was pushed to the edge when his idol wouldn’t answer his fan mail. The word used to be synonymous with overzealous or obsessed. But nearly 20 years later, it’s become a badge of honor for fans committed enough to show up and go all out for their favorite star on the Internet.” NPR warns, “if motivated enough, stans that congregate on social media actually can change the trajectory of their artist’s path — and the life of anyone who stands in the way. This shift in power dynamics can even dictate what kind of music the artist makes, how they perform it and who gets to hear it. It’s creating a feedback loop that can reward performative online personas more than genuine artistic vision.”

Stan communities discussed:

Nicki Minaj – The Barbz
Rihanna – Navy
Beyoncé – BeyHive
Mariah Carey – The Lambily

Stalkers discussed:

Ricardo López


The Meaning of Mariah Carey (on audiobook — Mariah Carey both reads and sings)