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by Ken Pellman (archives)
January 24, 2002
Are you an obsessed Disney fan? Has it gone to far? Ken discusses the topic this month.

How much is too much?

Ten Ways to Tell You're Obsessed with Disney

  • You've never dated anyone, and don't have any friends, that you didn't meet through some sort of Disney connection.
  • Your doorbell, car horn, voice mail, and cell phone all play Disney tunes.
  • The majority of your financial transactions involve Disney.
  • Your workspace looks like a satellite store of The Disney Gallery, and that's because you ran out of room at home.
  • The majority of your browser bookmarks are Disney related (Really, you only need LaughingPlace.com! 😉
  • The back of your left hand is regularly yellow from multiple handstamps.
  • David R. Smith, Dave Mumford, and Doobie Moseley each have you on their speed dial in case they want to check their facts or trivia. Or, you are on a first-name basis with each of these people, and you've never worked for Disney.
  • Your energy level is directly tied to the price of Disney stock.
  • Google.com bought your archive of Disney-related Usenet posts.
  • You believe December 5 should be an international holiday, and take it off from work every year.

If two or more of these statements describe you, and you're not making a livelihood off of Disney but rather Disney is surviving on you, you're probably obsessed with Disney. That's not such a bad thing in all respects. There are worse things to be obsessed with. Parents, I'm sure, would rather their children fall into this obsession as opposed to a death-metal band, for instance. But obsession of any sort can be a problem.

I'm no sociologist, but this sort of thing fascinates me to no end.

Obsessive Disney Fans Are Not Alone
Many different parts of our culture have dedicated fans of varying degrees. You probably know people who are more into Disney than you are, and others who are a little less into it than you are, even though Disney is their biggest single hobby. You can see the same patterns in fans of certain musical groups, Broadway shows, television shows, radio shows, film series, comic books, and sports teams. It isn't limited to entertainment, either - you can see the same thing with political parties and with religious groups, to give two other examples (and I'm in no way knocking political participation or religious devotion in general).

There's fandom, and then there's obsessive fandom. At some point, it crosses the line.

Remember when William Shatner, the man who played James Timothy Kirk, did that famous sketch for Saturday Night Live, in which he told Trekkers to "get a life"? There were people laughing at that who were worse off than Trekkers, only it wasn't Star Trek they were into.

Fans (or the people they are fans of) often come up with cute names that identify their interest (Phanatics, X-Philes, Smarks, Al-o-holics), collect memorabilia, have their own magazines and newsletters, develop their own vocabulary that can bewilder outsiders, have their own internal pecking orders, classes, celebrities, rivalries, and controversies, and organize into formal clubs.

The rise of the Internet has made obsessive fandom much easier to fall into. Web sites (especially with discussion areas), newsgroups, and e-mail lists add fuel to the fire.

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