Thanksgiving Is Ruined
September 30, 2016
The USA has more reason than ever this year to be confused about this question.
Because maybe, in fact, it contains a few sub-questions:
1) Which Elvis?
Sun label Elvis only? Pre-army Elvis, plus the '68 "Comeback Special"? Hollywood Elvis? The Elvis that campaigned during the primaries, before he got the nomination and pivoted to the general? Specifying the Elvis may determine the fan's potential capacity for wrongness.
2) What is a "fan"?
This is related to the above sub-question, but goes deeper. Do "real life" fans only count? What if you're merely pretending to be a fan, on-line, but are very convincing, have many followers and drive the conversation? What if you're just trolling, but are extremely funny? What if you're meta-trolling, and none of the lamesream sheeple have figured it out yet? Or accidentally self-trolling, but nevertheless generating lulz? What if you attended an Elvis concert, but only out of a kind of "hate-watching" curiosity or from boredom? What if you refuse to tell anyone that you are a fan, and are thus part of the "silent majority"? What if you support Elvis merely as a clever and strategic chessboard move, to block the rise of the nefarious Fabian, Ricky Nelson, Frankie Avalon, Bobby Rydell or, shudder to think, Pat Boone? Or as a disposable stepping stone to help hasten the burning down of the whole pre-existing system?
3) What's the source of the "50,000,000" number?
Related to the above sub-question, but even more confusing, probably by design. Who gathered the data? Can the pollsters be trusted? Were the results peer reviewed? Might the results have been "rigged"? When was the survey performed? How? Internet Pop-up Poll? Self-Selected Sampling? Registration-Based Sampling? Snowball Sampling? Mitofsky-Waksberg Sampling? Troldahl-Carter-Bryant Respondent Selection Method? Kish selection grids? Random-Digit Dialing? Landlines, cellphones or both? Exit polls? And above all, have the results been "unskewed"? On the other hand, what if events reveal that the diehard fans of a particular Elvis are in reality quite few, but are very loud? Or armed? And refuse to go away?
4) How do we determine what "wrong"-ness is?
Is that determination even possible? Or if possible, allowable? This may be the key question, and an increasingly destabilizing one. After all, one equals one. A fan is a fan. By definition then, on some level it is impossible to be "wrong," is it not? Likewise with "misguided," "deplorable" or "an Elvis fan against one's own self-interest." Mustn't all fans be counted? Regardless of why they are fans or their inner motivations? Thus taken seriously on some level, and heard, simply because they exist? All the more so if coverage of these fans or their chosen Elvis pulls in viewers, or boosts circulation numbers or generates traffic? The sociocultural phenomenon of the fandom must be interesting because it exists. Or does it exist because it's interesting? How much more shredded, fraught, mind-bending and topsy-turvy can the criteria for deliberation about any and all of this possibly become?
Or on the contrary, should certain Elvis fans simply be considered too far beyond the pale, too outside of collective norms to be counted, countenanced or tolerated?
TiR is thinking specifically of Elvis fans (if any) who endorse the film "Harum Scarum" (1965) or refuse to denounce the version of the song "Old MacDonald" (1966) which is listenable here.