Last week’s publicized March 6th deposition of Justin Bieber (who was being questioned about an assault case involving his bodyguard and a photographer) went viral, collecting millions of views. This was hot on the heels of his Miami antics, after which he was charged with a festival of misdemeanors, which, in turn, was hot on the heels of his being taken in after allegedly doing $20,000 of damage to a neighbor’s house with a zealous egging prank.
I can guarantee after reading that last paragraph, you’re shaking your heads. And if you saw the deposition video, it’s not hard to believe that even the most placid and buoyant individuals transformed into That 70s Show’s Red Forman, beating their fists on the table, lamenting today’s youth through gritted teeth.
Always an accurate barometer for the public’s shared consciousness, Twitter caught fire, with users across the board voicing their near-bloodlust for Bieber. I am no exception. I cannot come up with a timely news story that I find more infuriating than a gifted and massively fortunate child bloated with ego, and devoid of any higher cognitive reasoning.
And that’s a problem.
Can you imagine what the world would be like if the young people of America were as outraged about any important moral or political issue that affects their quality of life even a fraction as much as they were outraged about a teenage Canadian dumb ass? While I won’t deny that there is a general awareness of, say, shifting power in Crimea and the effects it’s having on US politics, or the latest asinine bills put forth in Arizona, or the disappearing rights in women’s health in states across the country, the majority of us know little more than what we can glean from an exasperated Jon Stewart on the most recent episode of The Daily Show.
Yes, such political muck does have it’s moment in the sun, registering on Twitter’s trending algorithm, but even as these topics catch fire, much of the perpetuation is propelled by the need for young, excessive tweeters to voice their confusion and/or carelessness on the matters at hand. And there was that glimmering moment of hope when the 99% took a stand in venues across the US, but even that fell away when we became more interested in all the really funny 99% parodies on Tumblr.
I get it. Politics aren’t shiny, good looking, or particularly entertaining. But Bieber and Boehner aren’t really all that different. Justin Bieber has all the qualities of a rotten politician that seems to jilt us awake; he’s rich, arbitrarily handsome, completely out of touch with reality, behaves badly, and says one thing while doing another.
His idea of damage control is tweeting half-hearted and entirely contradictory advice that doesn’t even demand enough of his attention to contain adequate punctuation, and then posting a few photos with fans in which he looks like he wants to die.
And his throngs of literally millions of loyal fans do the rest, spewing infuriated and nonsensical diatribes in his defense, which we laugh at, as if we were watching baby chimps at the zoo throwing their own feces. It doesn’t sound all that different from a presidential race. Maybe Justin Bieber should be plopped in front of the press and made to read the CNN ticker so we all know how we really feel.
The sad truth is, train wreck fodder like Bieber’s downward spiral taps into the American love of feeling superior without putting forth any effort or requiring any higher understanding of any kind. And best if we can do it together, on Twitter. While this is a pretty glaring example of the apathy of most Americans, it’s nice to know that in an age of such stagnating political polarization, we can unite in one common notion:
Justin Bieber is a Canadian weenie.