November 2012

Much Ado About Keanu Reeves: The Drama of Ageing in Online Fandom

by Shenja van der Graaf


This chapter will give particular attention to the intersection of the notions of drama and ageing in the context of online fandom by examining networked fan practices that center on the actor Keanu Reeves. The results of documented interpersonal exchanges that could be retrieved on (archived) forums and mailing lists, and so forth are used as evidence. The findings yield insight into how drama and the work it does in adult lives is age-related, and a mechanism to maneuver one’s own life course and the role of fandom in it. It demonstrates that notions of ageing in these ‘drama’ instances seem to defend one’s position in the community hierarchy rather than being used for self-reflection in one’s fandom over time.

Much Ado About Keanu Reeves: (PDF file, 262 KB)


Academic Essays, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, My Own Private Idaho, Speed, Devil's Advocate, The, Hamlet, Dogstar, Matrix, The


HAHAHA!!! (2017-05-12 07:36:30)
 This is a long, boring, old story, but I was surprised that I just now found this article on WINM.
It's hilarious, in a revolting sort of way. Keep reading if you're interested, but I'm not sure it matters to anyone but me, because I was there.
You may well be saying "why write about this now?"
I certainly wouldn't - although she could easily be one of the wacked-out stalkers - except that she persists, twenty years later, in trotting this out as her sole "claim to fame."

Back in the day, when all of the world including me was traipsing around after Dogstar, there were inevitably the opportunistic hangers-on a la Joe Charbanic. It can easily and conclusively be argued, however, that the most absolutely batty (to put it generously) psycho out there was Ms Van Der Graaf (if indeed that is or was her real name). I've never met or heard of a more cynical, devious stalker masquerading as a "researcher" - the first real sociopath I'd ever met.

This chick managed to wrangle an invitation to a silly but otherwise entirely harmless fan gathering in Cape May, New Jersey - this would have been something like 1998? Yeah, almost twenty years ago.

I wouldn't wish anyone to waste an absurd amount of time reading this drivel, but suffice to say that yes, I went to said gathering (against my better judgment, even at the time) because a friend was going and wanted company and I was fond of Keanu. "maybe it will be fun"

I figured we'd watch some movies, chat, walk on the beach - what could possibly go wrong?

Ms Van Der Graaf was a guest of the hostess of the shindig, introduced as "a fan." OK, that's cool.

It turns out that, unbeknownst to any of the other attendees, she was there to write a paper (???) about ageing in online fandom.

Is that weird yet? OK, yes, it's weird and more than a little creepy, but whatever.

Over the next three days, she would talk to people either alone or in pairs, and tell them of her long relationship with Keanu, interviewing him, decorating his apartment in Amsterdam, cleaning his house on Maui, blah blah blah...did we know that he's weird? and never failing to ridicule him and show her contempt for him. Because she could tell us things that she KNEW...and the worst of it, that made me literally ill, was her contempt for Jennifer. That was what convinced me that she was at best a sociopath. What very - very - little I know of Jennifer makes me think that she would have seen through this lunacy really quickly.

I know. ICK.

My problem, which I said early and often, to her and to others, as I know quite a bit about research - is, ewww, Keanu's personal life is none of our business and, more importantly, a "researcher" is not supposed to influence her subjects, and certainly not to include them in a paper - her "thesis" - without their express permission. The "drama" of which she speaks in the "abstract" above was entirely of her own creation, manipulating vulnerable, gullible people. Adults, to be sure, who should have known better, but it still sucks.

After that weekend, she continued to be in touch with people, promising meetings with Keanu, invitations to premiers and special Dogstar parties, etc. None of that, unsurprisingly, ever happened. One friend of mine literally went to her grave thinking that she was going to get invited to a premiere. Sad, but true.

It should be pointed out here that there is not nor has ever been a shred of evidence that she ever actually met Keanu. She even said "if you ask anyone in Dogstar about me, they'll deny it."

In addition to the extreme stalker/creepy/revolting factor, this is the worst excuse for "academic writing" that I think I've ever seen. "Well, it's for my thesis"
I asked "it's like 50 pages long, what kind of thesis is that?"
"it's my doctoraal dissertation" (Dutch)
me: "I'm planning on graduate school now - my thesis needs to be at least 120 pages"
""It's different in Europe"
me: "Don't you need people's permission?"
"Not in Europe"
me: "well, it's actually illegal in the US, and you are in the US."

et cetera, ad nauseam

This is the most extreme example I've seen, but it's part of what happens around celebrities, and I don't know how people handle it. Very sad. I can pity her, but I can also now recognize a sociopath when I see one.

Not one shred of this in any way affected my opinions about Keanu, because it felt like absolute bull from the get-go. But some people bought her whole line - she's a convincing, somewhat charming sociopath - and were for a long time enraged at Keanu for not inviting them to premiers, parties, etc. I think Isis was one of those people, because I'm fairly sure that she was in Cape May. Several of the UGossip crowd were certainly there. Ugh.

Guest (2017-05-13 00:24:19)
 Poor you!! UGossip crowd was there?! :D
I didn't discover this site or UG until around 2015, but watched and followed his movies/career since 1991.
It does seem like many fans get into a frenzy over Keanu, I guess because he is still a bachelor, maybe.
I guess the author of the thesis had her frenzy her own way.
It's a lesson learned not to take everything you read about people seriously. Everyone and anyone can be an author now with the internet.

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