Friday, February 18, 2011

In defense of Justin Bieber...

(Ed. note:  Before anyone accuses me of Bieber Fever, I'm not a fan.  I can name two songs the kid's done, and those are the two that they covered on "Glee".  In fact, before that episode, I thought his song about "I just need somebody to love" was sung by a 20-something black woman.)

So, apparently everyone in America who isn't a tween girl is mad at Justin Bieber right now.  (At least it seems that way if you do a Google news search for "Justin Bieber Rolling Stone interview".  Over 500 results for that phrase alone.)

For those over the age of 30, let me enlighten you to what all the fuss is about.  Justin Bieber is an adorably little squeaky-clean teenage boy who looks and sings like a tween girl.  Tween girls, being largely narcissists, go completely nuts for this.  He got discovered when he became a YouTube sensation after broadcasting videos of himself singing.  (He YouTubed himself singing pop songs.  Again, the tween girl comparisons just don't stop.)  He became Usher's protegee and skyrocketed to fame.

Part of his appeal comes from the fact that he mostly appears to have remained a pretty sweet kid, and wasn't the result of crazy stage parents selling him to Disney at a young age, but is rather just a little Canadian boy he wanted to be a singer so bad, he self-promoted and made it happen.  (Yes, he's Canadian.  This fact will be relevant later.)

Now, presumably because his publicist is a moron, he was interviewed for his cover issue of Rolling Stone, without a pre-agreed-upon set of questions.  (Something that is very common when interviewing younger celebrities, or those with diminished mental capacity, like Britney Spears.)  Rolling Stone, being pot-stirring sadists, decided to launch a pop quiz on hot-button American political issues on the 16-year-old Canadian singer.

The results were, quite predictably, disastrous.

He actually managed to offend people of every party, which is kind of impressive.  (At least we can unite the Red and Blue sides of the aisle with a distaste for the Biebs.)  Here are some of the topics they touched on in the interview:

(on which party he would support)  "I'm not sure about the parties.  But whatever they have in Korea, that's bad."  Well, okay, that's not so terrible.  No matter how much Republicans and Democrats may dislike each other, I think all but the most extreme would agree that the other party isn't as terrible as Kim Jong Il.  (I'm assuming the kid is referring to North Korea.)

(on healthcare)  "(jokingly) You guys are evil.  Canada's the best country in the world.  We got to the doctor and we don't need to worry about paying him, but here, your whole life, you're broke because of medical bills.  My bodyguard's baby was premature, and now he has to pay for it.  In Canada, if your baby's premature, he stays in the hospital as long as he needs to, and then you go home."  Okay, calling the U.S. evil may be a bit extreme, but even the interviewer denotes that it was done in a joking tone.  And it's obviously an issue that's important to this kid, since it affects someone with whom he's close.  If anything, his statement here is painfully naive.  He's a teenager; he doesn't understand possible political and social ramifications of privatized versus government-sponsored healthcare.  He just doesn't think it's fair that someone who gets sick has to worry about medical bills for the rest of their life.  (Which is something I think anyone who's ever been seriously ill can kind of agree with.  Like the year my son was born and our combined medical bills were around $200,000.00.  Wish I'd gone to Canada.)

(on abortion)  "I really don't believe in abortion.  It's like killing a baby."  (in cases of rape)  "Um.  Well, I think that's really sad, but everything happens for a reason. I don't know how that would be a reason. I guess I haven't been in that position, so I wouldn't be able to judge that."  Wow.  Okay.  (facepalm)  So, again, the kid doesn't exactly have a gift for words.  But he does admit that, having not been in that position, he can't judge.  Which is way more wise and progressive than at least a quarter of America's politicians.  And, again, he's answering the question very naively, like he's some kind of homeschooled 16-year-old kid or something.  Oh wait; he is.

To really illustrated how utterly ridiculous all the fuss over this interview has been, let's play a little imagining game.  Let's pretend we took all the 16-year-old American boys, and, without any warning or preparation, had professional interviewers quiz them about another country's complex and highly-debated political issues.  How many of them do you think would make at least a couple of boneheaded statements?  The answer I'm going with is all of them.

I feel bad for Bieber's parents and family right now.  They aren't lifesucking scum like the Lohans, just pimping their kid out for a buck.  Their kid wanted to be a singer and he did it by getting famous on YouTube, for crying out loud.  Not by being dragged to talent agents and Disney auditions.  I'm sure his family is doing the best they can to raise him in the middle of this tornado of unexpected fame and attention.  And as embarrassing and hurtful as it is for me when my kid comes home with a note that he bit another toddler at school, I can't imagine how it feels to have your baby maligned in the press as an America-hating socialist or anti-choice rape apologist.

So let's lay off the little pop singer for a while, huh?  We need to be focusing on the actual people in power who are spouting such narrow-minded and moronic generalizations.  They're the ones whose opinions actually affect our lives.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

His answers are no worse than those of "W"
(circa January 2001 - December 2008). And Bieber is only embarassing himslef, not an entire nation.

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