Pop Style Opinionfest: Why The John Mulaney Parasocial Kerfuffle Matters

Posted on September 10, 2021

Oh, you’re damn right we did. We inadvertently went minor-league viral on the twitters for wading into the fandom waters. We’re guilty of using the instantly over-used “parasocial relationships” to define the more emotional responses to the gossip (which had not yet been confirmed) that John Mulaney and Olivia Munn were having a baby together. We also tied it to some of the more concerned and moralistic responses to Oscar Isaac playfully getting lustful with Jessica Chastain on the red carpet that were happening at the same time. We were very clear that we thought such reactions were bad. And then all hell broke loose.

But this is, we swear on a stack of Vogues, not a “people were mean to us on twitter” podcast. Instead, we want to use this moment to explain a much larger point that can’t really be effectively discussed on social media. Parasocial theory, contrary to what some might suggest, is not some new buzzword. In fact, we explain how and why it has informed and influenced our own careers as bloggers and authors. This is not some idle observation on our parts, but something that dominated our progression from fan bloggers to critics, from amateurs to authors. In terms of being on the end of fandoms having extremely emotional responses to their totems being disrespected or disappointing, it’s been a nearly daily part of our working lives for fifteen years. We can’t not have thoughts on the matter. And while we accept that many might find our thoughts highly judgmental on our parts, they are based on years of personal exposure and have led us to conclude that an overly credulous celebrity-viewing public is bad for society overall.




So, yes. You’re damn right we went there. But we kept it light, we promise! Thanks for listening once again, dolls.


[Photo Credit: JOHN NACION/startraksphoto.com]

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