Were ‘Stans’ the secret of the Corbyn surge?

The Labour leader is the only British politician to have wildly enthusiastic fans – but what do they have to do with Eminem?

Name: Stans.

Age: 17.

Definition: According to Oxford Dictionaries, a stan is “an overzealous or obsessive fan of a particular celebrity”.

Why haven’t I heard of stans before? It might be because you don’t read every new addition to Oxford’s various online dictionaries. It added the phrase a few years back, but it has had a resurgence in the last week.

But you said it has been around for 17 years. It has. Are you an excitable teenager with a Tumblr blog?

I most certainly am not. That explains why you’ve never heard of it. “Stan” has crept into use as a slang term popularised on the internet. If you don’t move in the right circles, you’ll miss it.

I’m still stumped. Can you tell me where it’s been used? Sure. In fact it was used in the Guardian on Friday morning to describe the vast crowd Jeremy Corbyn attracted in Colwyn Bay, Wales. It has also been used to describe Donald Trump’s biggest cheerleaders.

I get it. That’s right, the suggestion is that Jeremy Corbyn’s surging popularity in the general election was down to his supporters being more wildly overenthusiastic than those of his rivals.

They go the extra mile. Yes! They love him, and their love is infectious, and that is why Labour defied almost every opinion poll. Corbyn has stans, and no other British politician has.

So where does the name come from? Are you an Eminem fan?

No, but I did like that song he did about cleaning out his closet. Cleanliness is next to godliness, after all. Bit weird. Anyway, Eminem had a song called Stan, about an eager fan of his. That’s where the name comes from.

Great! And in the song, did this fan propel Eminem to greater and greater creative heights? No, not really.

No? Well, the subject of the song grows increasingly angry when Eminem doesn’t acknowledge him. He gets an Eminem tattoo and starts self-harming. He then gets drunk, overdoses on tranquillisers, locks his pregnant girlfriend in the boot of his car, deliberately drives off a bridge and kills everyone.

Oh, a stan is half-stalker, half-fan! And you’re saying that Jeremy Corbyn has these? Apparently so, although they’re much milder than this. Still, imagine if Theresa May had stans. Yeesh.

Do say: “I’m a stan!”

Don’t say: “I think I’ve always been more of an ollie.”

The GuardianTramp

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