Normal people tend to look at tin in a number of ways, either amused by their histrionic slang (“your favorite could never be”), impressed by their organizational prowess, or terrified by their willingness to launch full-scale bullying campaigns. The relationship is one of intrigue and suspicion, not recognition; and so even those who identify themselves as “chronically online” don’t always get the full motivation of stans, content to see them as just a curious part of online ecology. Here’s where Kaitlyn Tiffanyan online cultural writer on the Atlantic, intervenes. Her next book, Everything I Need I Get From You: How Fangirls Created The Internet As We Know It, dives into the trenches of an online fandom – the fried selves, the bizarre and sometimes dangerous conspiracy theories – drawing from scientific research and her own personal history loving One Direction. It tracks how fandom has shaped our contemporary internet: becoming our “ruling regime of commerce,” infiltrating our speech. The book’s balance of first-person experience and scientific analysis, humor and rigor, make it an irresistible read.
Below is an edited excerpt from Everything I Need, which I get from you, which begins with a search for Harry Styles’ vomit sanctuary and expands on the history of online fan sites, from Deadheads on the WELL to Directioners on Tumblr.
I’m looking for the shrine to Harry Styles’ vomit. I know it was on Tumblr — I remember seeing it there. In the fall of 2014, at the beginning of my senior year of college, I also remember a GIF set from Harry Styles, answering an interview question about the shrine to his own vomit, nodding diplomatically and saying, first in one frame, “It’s interesting. Sure, “and after a second,” Maybe a little niche. “
Those are my memories. These are the facts. That October, Harry Styles went to a party at the house of British pop singer Lily Allen in Los Angeles. The next morning, riding in a driven Audi, in his gym clothes, on the way back from a “very long walk”, he asked the driver to stop. On the side of the 101 freeway just outside Calabasas, he threw himself up near a metal barrier, looked up, and locked his eyes with a camera. He is sweaty, pointed; his hair is dirty, pulled up in a messy bun. However, dehydrated in gym pants and athletic socks, hand-on-knee at the roadside, he still exudes the elegance of Harry Styles. Their cheekbones find the direction of the light, thanks to a reflection or gift of God.
The day they were taken, the photos circulated in gossip magazines and on Tumblr and Twitter, and a few hours later, an Los Angeles-based 18-year-old named Gabrielle Kopera began finding the location and tagging it for posterity. She drove there alone, then taped a piece of billboard to the bar: “Harry Styles vomited here 10-12-14,” she wrote in large letters. The grainy photo she first posted to her own Instagram circulated later on Tumblr, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and all those looking celebrity blogs that are in fact just search engine scams. Even more than the Harry Styles photos, I remember loving the photo of this sign. Harry Styles vomited here! That’s what he did — but because we’ve only seen him vomit once before (a dirty story), and we’ve never seen him do it. this a strip of gravel, the sign suggested it was worth registering for posterity. Harry Styles vomited here! Six months earlier, the Los Angeles Times reported that the then 20-year-old Styles dropped $ 4 million on a five-bedroom house in Beverly Hills (a photo gallery of the interior of the home was removed from the story shortly after publication). However, he descended from the Hills, jumped out of the car in an elegant suburb, and vomited on the street. Why stop at a piece of billboard? Why not a plaque?