Tuesday, April 20, 2010
The connection of fanaticism and fetishism is conveniently revealed in a video currently available on youtube.com that I consider required viewing for anyone interested in the phenomenon, consisting of an excerpt from Thomas Corboy’s short documentary Rock ‘n’ Roll Disciples (1986). A range of Elvis fans are interviewed, including Artie Mentz (an Elvis impersonator), Jenny and Judy Carroll (identical twins who believe they may be Elvis’s illegitimate offspring), and Frankie “Buttons” Horrocks, who has devoted her life to the witnessing and the celebration of Elvis. There’s a moment in the video during which Horrocks observes that no true female Elvis fan denies her deep desire to have had sex with Elvis. As she speaks, she is shown posing with the Elvis statue now standing in Memphis, her hand firmly gripping its crotch. Greil Marcus observes the image “is reminiscent of nothing so much as the statues of Catholic saints that in present-day Europe good Christian women straddle in pagan ecstasy, telling anyone who asks that their mothers said it was a good way to ensure fertility” (Dead Elvis 119)—that is, the image reveals the nature of the relationship between the fan and the fetish object.