Commonplace 13: Not a Fan

“I’m not a fan,
And I wonder if you really are,
Or does it make you feel smart?
A boy band with glasses,
Just minus the heart.
He’s shaking his ass,
And you call it art.
I’ll wait in the lobby; go meet him for real.
We can all go to dinner, yeah, and I’ll be third wheel.
So go get your t-shirt signed, fangirl.
I may or may not be here when you return.

So fuck you.”

– Ben Folds, “Not a Fan”

Ben Folds’ “Not a Fan” is a song written in an interesting rhetorical situation. Folds is a solo artist with a reputation for being married a few times and for writing about his career. This song depicts the relationship between him and presumably a spouse or girlfriend. The couple disagrees on the talent of a musician, one whom Folds is “not a fan” of. He essentially leaves his partner at the end of the song for being a fan of a musician he doesn’t like. As a solo musician himself, I wonder what Folds’ motivation was to write the song, and if it was about an ex. The rhetoric used by Folds is fairly heated, and ultimately it feels extremely personal to an audience.

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