Aurora Theater Shooting

James Holmes inspires Holmies fan groups: Real phenomenon or media overreaction?

We've noted the proliferation of James Holmes Facebook tribute pages, which continue to spring up despite the shutdown of what had been the largest of them.

The same thing's happening when it comes to Tumblr blogs, yet these sites are getting more attention because of the memorable nickname by which such "fans" refer to themselves: Holmies.

A Mashable item is labeled "James Holmes Tumblr 'Holmies' Shock Internet" -- a highly dubious assertion, but one that was certainly noticed by the mainstream press. Indeed, ABC News shared the item under the same headline.

As for the sites themselves, they're very similar in tone to the Facebook pages. Take This Blog's for the Holmies!, which supplements Holmes-inspired web flotsam like this mop-haired doll placed atop a My Little Pony....

...and Holmes's interpolation into the Scooby gang... ...with self-aggrandizement for the blog's creator, who dubs himself Jimbo Plaid Shirt. Rome For Holmes is more text-driven, and more apparently sincere. Emblematic is this exchange, presumably between the site's creator and a reader: Same goes for Swallow the Fruits of My Pleasure, which features this image.... well as the following mini-bio from the person behind the site:

i am a seventeen year old who since i can recall, has always had a fascination with serial killers/murderers. you name it. collumbine? ted bundy? btk? i love them. do i mean i love that they killed people? of course not. i would never kill anyone and i feel for the families who have lost loved ones. however, i'm always intrigued as to why they committed these crimes. how did they do it? what goes through their minds?

do i think james holmes is guilty? that is not my place to assume. i'm not the jury, but i am someone who is fascinated. i've researched the whole illuminati deal and have read tons of articles. this blog is simply to track everything out there in the media, discuss the issue with others and make sure people know the truth: that guilty or not, james holmes is mentally affected.

this bring me to my next point. i am a seventeen year old who suffers from bipolar disorder as well as borderline personality disorder. i have been through things that normal seventeen year olds wouldn't. and i will defend james' mentality until the truth is out. do not give me the bullshit about 'because holmes is white, it's a mental illness'. mental illness can effect ANY race. it effects everyone, everyday. and not everyone handles it the same.

No way to know if this profile fits the majority of surfers dubbing themselves Holmies. But like the Facebook pages, much of the material on these Tumblrs occupies a middle ground between adolescent identification with societal pariahs and the simple joy of making authority figures uncomfortable. As such, it's not truly capable of shocking the Internet, whatever that means. Indeed, it's utterly typical of stuff floating around us every day. But due to the horrific act to which it's connected, more people are noticing.

More from our Tech archive: "James Holmes Facebook tribute pages: Most notorious one down, plenty remain."

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts