A collective group of individuals who make up a social construct within the context of the post-modern American suburb. Usually, the persons who populate the fanshone participate in community endeavors, encourage free thought and creativity, advocate for the betterment of the community through culturally and intellectually enriching experiences, and in some sense serve as the "guardians" of said community against the destruction of civilization brought about by venture market capitalism and the mass media-induced stupification of society. One might even say, not so much in a legal sense but more in a humanitarian world view, the fanshone consists of individuals who are "good American citizens," that is, they are literally beneficial to the very fiber of American life. Though somewhat more nebulous, another means of discerning members of the fanshone is the perception of a golden aura which radiates from within them. This aura is a feeling one undeniably senses when in the presence of such a person, a kind of transcendental warmth and beauty which only comes from a talented, interesting, kind, benevolent, luminous being. Historical buildings, cultural institutions, community groups, religious organizations, and local leaders and innovators are all additional integral pieces of the greater fanshone network. Many times, the downfall of the fanshone in any community heralds the impending descent of the town into nothing more than a forgotten ghost-town outpost. Perhaps the easiest way to visualize the meaning and life cycle of the fanshone in a given community is to borrow a metaphor from astronomy. Consider the sun - when it burns brightly and provides life and warmth and truth to the solar system, one considers the solar system en masse to be healthy- However, such a star will inevitably exhaust its fuel supply, swell briefly, then collapse in on itself to become a neutron star; a black, cold, super dense mass of crystallized oxygen forever zooming through space. In the same sense, a community after the death of its fanshone is nothing more than a crystallization of its former essence, which hopelessly tries to emulate its once resplendent form, but ultimately fails in every possibly sense.
the public library, a community theater group, a voter registration drive, a wildlife preservation organization, a local festival, a historic landmark, a favorite deli or resteraunt, a thriving public education system, a food pantry, a religious group, a local concert... all are practical manifestations of the fanshone.
by Timothy S. Cushing December 26, 2008
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