I spent today in a coffee shop in the Village going down the rabbit hole of One Direction fandom. I’m giving a paper at the NEMLA’s annual conference in the spring as part of a roundtable on fandom and scholarship on One Direction tinhatters and the fourth wall (here are an article and a primer on the phenomenon, for those of you blessedly out-of-the-know). Basically this meant that I wound up hunched over my computer, thanking my lucky stars that I had wound up in a corner table and didn’t have to worry about people walking past seeing that I was scrolling through a horrifying array of images and gifs of still-sort-of-pubescent boys in vaguely compromising positions.
As I waded through endless enraged comments and evangelizing about the pure and true love between Louis Tomlinson and Harry Styles (name-smushed into “Larry Stylinson,” whom I absolutely thought was a member of the band for an impressively long time), two band members who have gotten used to wearily proclaiming their heterosexuality over the past year, I found myself returning again and again, in my mind, toTodd Haynes’ 1998 cult classic Velvet Goldmine, the film on which I wrote my senior thesis last year. For those of you who haven’t seen it, it’s basically an imaginary biopic of David Bowie, if David Bowie werea whole lot gayer than he is in reality.