Happy New Year, fellow cretins. I hope the weeks of festive binge drinking and culturally mandated gluttony have treated you well. I’m back from my splendid holiday sabbatical, every second of which was spent in Unibomber style isolation, studying humanity and current affairs from afar, searching for more fodder to feed into the raging furnace of my ire.
Suffice to say, there has been no shortage of ammunition, and not only is The Trendshredder back in full force, but today we’ll be doing things a little differently. Instead of Shredding someone, I’m coming to their defence. Not only to keep things interesting, but also because it’s high time everyone heard this.
So grab a snack and get ready to point out my thematically paradoxical contradiction as I pull a 180 on your assess and hypocritically tell everyone to stop hating on someone.
If you have a television, a twitter account, or any manner of external sensory organs, you’ve probably heard about the overblown scandal du-jour that is Justin Bieber’s pot habit. It’s been the headline story on my local news channel for the last few days, as has everything to do with that kid since a few years before he sprouted his first pubic hair.
Ermagerd! Jerstern Berber’s smerking a blernt!
I, like everyone else who’s ever seen him, have an opinion about Justin Bieber. It’s a thought that’s been bouncing around my head for a while now, and it directly ties into what I’m going to be talking about today. So here goes:
Does anyone else think we should just cut him some slack?
Yes, I agree that this is a surprising sentiment coming from someone who’s made a habit of lambasting famous people for exaggerated perceptions of misdemeanor via blatantly opinionated essays loosely related to pop-culture – but maybe someone like that has to be the one to say it for everyone to realize that it’s true.
I don’t think Bieber deserves the staggering amount of hate he gets. Sure, his music is awful, but he’s not the first kid to get super famous for making awful music. What’s more, beneath the veneers of factory assembled, surgically sterile pop music is a kid with some legitimate talent.
Or maybe it’s that he’s just that; a kid. Imagine if every single second of your awkward teenage years were relentlessly scrutinized across every major news medium in civilization. All of those social faux-pas, embarrassing mistakes, fiery tantrums and deeply personal lessons in humility that most of us lock away in our subconscious and strive daily to supress and forget.
How unbeliebably hard must that suck? When the shit hits the fan, as it inevitably will on the path to maturity, the entire world is watching. There was a kid at my high school prom formal dinner that got wasted and puked all over himself and his plate of chicken parmesan, right in front of everybody. I haven’t seen him in years, but it’s still fresh in my mind and I’d bet good money that it hasn’t left his either.
Justin did the same thing, only it just so happened to be on stage at a fucking sold out stadium show, and after a short break the son of a bitch came back out and finished the set. Like him or not, at least respect the grit it takes to keep on dancing around and cooing sweet nothings to a crowd of screaming girls right after spewing your eight dollar coffee all over your six hundred dollar shoes.
That’s funny, I puke when I hear Justin Bieber songs too.
Bieber doesn’t have the luxury of changing schools and starting over, either. He’s more recognizable than the Nike swoosh now and there’s not a damn thing he can do about it.
That’s a bad thing because for all the screaming little girls worldwide making their transitions into womanhood by virtue of his impressive voice and boyish charm, there are even more people who absolutely despise him, for a cornucopia of reasons, ranging in severity from satirical to sociopathic. I was among their ranks until I began to wonder; Why? Aside from his bad music, he doesn’t seem like a bad person at all.
In fact, he’s remarkably well behaved when you consider that he’s an 18 year old boy with infinite money who’s constantly surrounded by people paid to do what he says and tell him he’s awesome. Think about how 18 year old you would’ve handled that situation. If you’re anything like me you’d have a sovereign nation full of naked porn stars where a minimum blood/alcohol level of 0.30 is legally mandated and the national sport is Metal Gear Solid 2.
So what has Justin done that’s so terrible? Buy a Ferrari? Shit, wouldn’t you? The little bastard is worth roughly $110 million, when you weigh his lifestyle against that scale, he’s living beneath his means.
Smoke pot? By the glorious beard of Ryan Hurst! You’re telling me an 18 year old is smoking marijuana? That’s absolutely unprecedented in the history of always! And what’s more? He’s a celebrity? As I live and breathe, to the best of my knowledge no famous person living or dead has ever abused or experimented with any mild altering substances. It’s simply unheard of.
Get real, people. First of all, he’s Canadian. Canadians smoke pot like Americans buy guns, which is to say, proudly and with reliable frequency. Secondly, think about how many child stars had discovered the joys of dirty heroin needles well before the age of 18. Think about the tragic, empty, disfigured, pharmaceutical-based shell that became of Michael Jackson. Now look at Bieber. Sure, he’s got a lot of time left to fuck things up, but he’s doing ok so far, and the way society and the media soak their collective panties with glee whenever he makes the slightest misstep makes it seem like they want him to fail.
That’s some pretty fucked up shit, humanity. Bieber didn’t make himself a global sensation. We did that. Granted, he opted into the fame and I’m sure he doesn’t mind the fortune, but the speed at which he shifts from deified to vilified makes it look like we’ve been setting him up for sacrifice all along, like in old fairy tales how the hero never questions all the hearty meals he’s being fed until the moment it dawns on him that the kindly old lady is actually an evil witch who’s fattening him up for the kill.
Are we that evil witch? Is that what the world wants from Justin Bieber? Is that his destiny? To become another dead-eyed, washed up, drug addled celebrity burn out? Even though I’m someone who takes swipes at those people all the time, I can honestly say I don’t wish it on anyone, except Chris Brown, and the thought of it happening to an innocent kid that grew up a few hours’ drive from my house isn’t funny at all. It’s just really sad.
It’s easy to look at all his fame and wealth and let envy get the best of us, and I’m willing to bet that’s where most of his flack is coming from. If you say you’re not jealous of him to some degree you’re either lying or have adopted the Buddhist’s detachment from material possessions, in which case good for you, but how are you on the internet? Regardless, the boy has it all. The world is his.
You know you have awesome friends when they’ll photoshop a picture like this for free, with 15 minutes notice.
But as with every story of a rise to grace, he risks a terrible fall. Already he’s had his character attacked by a weird, possibly deranged milf claiming to have birthed his progeny and is currently dealing with the paparazzo who died chasing his car. So before his 20th birthday he’s got an insane woman demanding support for a child he’s never met, and a stalker who got killed following a car Bieber wasn’t even in at the time weighing on his mind. 18 year old kids should be worried about acne and getting laid, not illegitimate love children and dead photographers. And if you think that kind of pressure from the media doesn’t take a toll on a young mind, take a look at the withering remains of Lindsay Lohan, or better yet, the restless ghost that is Macaulay Culkin, and ask yourself if Justin Bieber has pissed you off enough to deserve a similar fate.
Do not sell this man any Sudafed.
I certainly don’t think so. Not only has he not done enough bad deeds to warrant it, but he’s also made a habit of doing quite the opposite. Beiber has on several occasions used his godlike notoriety to make positive changes in the world. Taking advantage of his millions of followers on Twitter, Justin helped a terminally ill woman get a lung transplant, and even flew 6 year old cancer patient Avalanna Routh (RIP) and her family to New York because it was her dream to meet him.
I think in the grand scheme of things, acts of kindness such as those, even if they are just PR moves, outweigh his awful music by a significant amount. Yes, he’s a bit of a douche, but weren’t you at his age? I know I was, and it’s difficult to find a person who doesn’t look back on their younger years with embarrassment when someone busts out the old year books.
Another reason people might hate Justin Bieber would be that he’s simply oversaturated. One of the reasons I used to roast him all the time was that you just can’t look anywhere without seeing his face. He’s humanity’s mascot. If our satellite broadcasts were intercepted by extraterrestrial species, they could be forgiven for assuming that he was our god, or at very least our exalted leader.
Hey, I get how that’s annoying. I’ve sent angry tweets to my local news station regarding giving Bieber top billing over relevant news several times. Curiously, they have yet to retweet.
Angry tweets: our generation’s version of the formal complaint.
The thing is, the media circus isn’t his fault either. All he does is sing and dance. It’s everyone else that froths at the mouth and freaks the fuck out over every little move he makes. I doubt that it was Justin’s decision to have his name on my TV screen every morning, or to place life-size stand-ups of his likeness in every mall and drug store in North America, or for Facebook to incessantly remind me that I may like him, like 25 of my friends do.
Wait, 25? How the fuck is that possible?
No, for all intents in purposes, he’s just a logo. A brand. A product – and it’s seldom the product that bothers people, it’s the way it’s advertised, and even more so, the people that buy it.
That’s right. It isn’t Justin Bieber you should hate. It’s his fans. The innumerable masses of shrieking, fainting, frenzied little girls and boys, and inappropriately enthusiastic adults that bolster the wide pillars of his empire. They are the reason our cultures’ shelves are stacked high with vapidity and impulse buys. It is they who subscribe to the magazines and buy the album on iTunes. They who comprise the mindless zombie horde demographic that will consume whatever they are told. It is they who deserve our resentment. Not Bieber, but the Beliebers.
They are to blame simply because if they weren’t so willing to consume, the product would be rendered obsolete. They’ll buy anything with that boy’s name on it, and you can’t blame the savvy advocates of a capitalist society for doing what they do best and exploiting an easily influenced market.
Speaking of exploitation, Bieber’s fans are so malleable that they’ve garnered the attention of the internet pranksters of 4chan, who decided to take a stab at exploiting them as well, by devising a cruel but darkly hilarious campaign to convince his naive fans to shave their heads, under the pretense of the singer having been stricken with cancer.
It worked, and unfolded pretty much how you’d expect it to. While joking about someone having cancer isn’t really funny at all, I must admit there is a certain impish charm to tricking a bunch of rabid fans into shaving their heads. The fans were embarrassed and angry, and the trolls were fed, but of course, not satisfied. Trolls never are.
Wig: $25. Learning not to trust the internet: Priceless
The next step was where things got downright messed up. With the precedent set that his fans were rife for manipulation, the devious minds on the 4chan message boards hatched a plan to push things even further. Thus was born the “Cut for Bieber campaign“, a movement that called for distressed Bieber fans to cut themselves in an attempt to convince Justin to change his weed-smoking ways.
Sure, Why not? That’s not a terrifyingly fucked up proposition at all.
So clearly it isn’t just his fans that are out of control, as apparently some corners of the internet are just as dangerous and seedy as any dark alley or unmarked van IRL. Through all the chaos of people shaving their heads and cutting themselves over things random people have made up about him, Justin Bieber must have some shit on his mind. Couple that with the violent emotional turmoil inherent of any 18 year old boy and we’re all lucky that he hasn’t taken to a bell tower with a diamond encrusted sniper rifle yet.
The point of all this is: Justin Bieber is nothing more than a young man who’s found a remarkable measure of success doing what he loves. He’s a kid from Ontario, living his dream, going around the world living the life we all wish we could. It’s too easy to resent that, and most importantly it just isn’t right.
If you must hate things, a need I can certainly identify with, then at least save your anger for those that truly deserve it. Let the actual bastards and verified fiends be the targets of your rage. Focus on the people who’ve actually done something worth hating. Not a kid whose only crime is being rich as hell and making popular music, because he’s not the first and he won’t be the last, and getting stuck in cycles of blind hate without questioning your motivation is the kind of behavior that leads you to incite internet strangers to convince little girls to cut themselves.
And annoying though he may be, Justin Bieber doesn’t deserve any of that, and I for one would love to smoke a fatty with the world’s richest teenager. If nothing else, you know the Taco Bell runs would be legendary.
Even if he does have the worlds most punch-able face.