I think the problem is that the discrimination that Elvis himself faced – being poor, southern and getting famous outside of the approved paths – and a lot of that discrimination is heaped on his fans – how dare we like someone like that.
Elvis is perceived as being vulgar, uneducated, lacking in taste – so fans are deemed to be the same for responding to what many think Elvis was about.
Mostly it’s because they don’t have a living memory or understanding of what the 50′s were like, how Elvis changed things, and how what they think about Elvis isn’t true.
The public image of Elvis is tainted by the faked his death undying hoax, the various love children, and what really doesn’t help are all the scandal tell all books that tell you little.
But I think a lot of it is anger based – people are mad that he came from poor rural roots to be so successful (that none of his so called social betters have ever topped him) and then Elvis pissed it away.
The whole dying in the bathroom joke is stupid, since most people who die at home, actually die in the bathroom – a combo of heart attacks (often on the toilet, and usually because they tend to happen first thing when the body is stressing up for the day) and shower/tub slip n falls.
So, they can’t give Elvis his due.
But mostly there’s so many stupid myths – the worst being that Elvis stole from black musicians (he didn’t) – that artists like Eminem promote (now, you want to talk about a musical thief…)
It’s easier to believe the lazy lies than realize that his Sun Recordings were an R&B song done in a Country Style and a Country song done in an R&B style – both delivered with a Southern Gospel fervor.
The country roots of rock n roll are ignored or neglected, either as some collective guilt thing or perhaps a slight revulsion to public sexuality, a need to remain prim and proper.
The other thing is the fringe areas always get the attention.
So the media focusing on the fringier Elvis Tribute Artists (or ETAs formerly known as impersonators) – especially the ones who are bad, are 300+ pounds, are kids, are women, are not white - give Elvis the carnival atmosphere
It’s sort of like how news media focus on the drag queens and little else about Gay Pride Parades
Elvis’ cultural impact was actually so huge that it’s almost background.
And the general public doesn’t know any better than to make fun of what they really don’t understand
It’s also funny how people will say, why like a guy who’s been dead thirty plus years.
But consider that film buffs aren’t teased or deemed tasteless for liking early films or actors
Half the time, people are in awe because they aren’t at all familiar with movies from the 40s or earlier.