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[personal profile] theferrett
Every teen idol becomes the Antichrist for lazy comedians. This bothers me, because I'm not in with your joke, man.

Currently it's Justin Bieber. This joke's the one that pushed me over the top - it shows Arnie the Terminator shooting Justin Bieber's Mom, presumably because travelling back in time to prevent Justin Bieber's conception is worse than, you know, NUCLEAR ARMAGEDDON. But you see gags like that all the time, all focusing in on how Justin Bieber is the worst thing in the world, which all sober people agree upon, and we'd have peace and harmony if he was removed. All of which assume that I agree today's flavor-of-the-month pop star is the harbinger of the end of Western Civilization.

The funny thing is, the people doing this? Are usually the same nerds who spent their childhood getting picked on for liking the uncool shit. So what do they do when they're grown up? They start picking on the so-called “uncool” likes of other teenagers. Sure, it’s mainstream, but the point is the same no matter which way you aim it: If you like D&D/Justin Bieber/books/teen pop, there must be something wrong with you, man.

Fuck that. It’s a big world. There’s always going to be some smooth-skinned, androgynous, non-threatening teenager who thirteen-year-old girls are going to fall in love with, and his lyrics are going to be insipid, and his songs are going to be simultaneously forgettable and earworms. That’s the way it works, and has always worked, since long before the days of Leif Garrett and Bobby Sherman and New Kids on the Block.

And thirteen-year-old girls, who are searching for someone young who speaks to them and maybe they could even kiss but isn’t so threatening that they have to think about OMG SEX because they’re not ready for that, not yet. They want to have some music that’s their own that nobody outside the fold really appreciates, the kind of thing where they can see someone else wearing purple and know that this is their culture, the zone that Mom and Dad and their older punk-ass brother won’t enter, and that somehow makes it more special because this experience is theirs and they don’t have to share it.

They’re going to fall in love. Maybe with the wrong guy, but we all have our grand milestone firsts as a kid - our first kiss, our first crush, our first boyfriend/girlfriend - and they’re unleashing and glorious and usually embarrassing in hindsight, but the first time always cuts deep. You go a little nuts, because you’ve never had this kind of experience before. And now you have your boy you can put posters of up on the wall, and hum his tunes, and yes you’re kind of in love with him but you’re also in love with the idea of owning this little piece of culture that nobody older shares and nobody else older wants to share. The scorn of these twenty-somethings just proves that it’s Meant To Be.

It may fade. In fact, it probably will. Most of the girls who love Justin now are gonna be embarrassed when they’re eighteen, that “OH MY GOD I DID NOT” refusal that only comes when you want to tell the world that you’ve never been thirteen ever, you’re eighteen, what’s wrong with you? And then, when they’re a little older, when they’ve been out for one too many drinks at the bar and the whole “partners fumbling at the bra strap” has become a mundane event, they might hear that long-forgotten tune on an oldies station and smile, because you know, it’s pretty terrible, but once that was mine.

I'm not gonna tell you how Justin Bieber is a great performer - he's a naive elf of a kid with a marginally acceptable voice and the kind of whiny pop songs that only someone with the heart of a thirteen-year-old girl can love. Just like every other stupid teenaged pop star, ever. And though this music is distinctly not up my alley, I’m not willing to agree that it’s so bad that anyone who enjoys it should be marginalized, or to joke that he’s the worst threat facing this world even in jest.

Sure, he’s mainstream. Mainstream culture can often be bad, but success does not automatically equal evil. Don’t be a snob, man. And you know, yes, those teenaged girls squealing look pretty dippy, and Justin himself is this enpurpled man-child with a bad haircut... But I remember a time in my youth when what I loved was big frickin’ dragons and white-bearded wizards and guys in day-glo Star Fleet uniforms that were just a little too tight for their guts, and people told me how what I loved was a universal sign of being too stupid to live - and it didn’t kill me, but it made me feel small. I didn’t like it.

So I ain’t doing that to anyone. Justin’s a mook. I don’t like him, and I think his music’s pretty dumb. But I’m not going to claim that he’s the end of civilization. He’s another singer, and he makes some people feel good, and that’s okay even if it’s not for me.

That’s all.


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