Friday 26 March 2010

Who is Justin Bieber?

This article by Marina Hyde appeared in todays Guardian.

Justin Bieber: an old person's guide

The teenage pop star has already conquered Twitter and YouTube – and you can't do anything about it

Justin Bieber on stage in New York

Justin Bieber on stage in New York earlier this month. Photograph: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Nickelodeon

You know how every time you say, "I don't believe in fairies", a fairy dies? Well, every time you say "Who is Justin Bieber?", Justin Bieber only grows stronger.

I could begin by firing out some essential facts about this riot-causing teen singing sensation – this darling of the tween tweetoisie – who has just announced his first world tour. I could tell you how he is Usher's protege, how his favourite colours are blue and purple, how his favourite sandwich is turkey, how he's scared of spiders, and how he stands at 5ft 3½in at the time of going to press.

But let's start with an experiment. Visit the front page of Twitter, right now, and I predict with absolute confidence that Justin Bieber will be trending. That's a helluva presumption, you might say. How can she possibly predict what's going to be trending at the precise moment I'm bored and desperate enough to read this so-called article? The trick, my ducks, is that I do it with mirrors. The fact of the matter is that Justin Bieber is always trending. He's the canary in the coalmine of spring/summer 2010 social networking, and if you suddenly don't see his name up there, I wish you best of luck with your Rapture arrangements.

My non-scientific research tells me that one half of Justin's Twitter traffic is caused by excitable tween girls cyber-fainting, while the other half is caused by people asking, "Who is Justin Bieber?". Like I say, ignorance only makes him stronger.

Nevertheless, it's reasonable for you to wonder who this mop-topped popstrel is, why he is being beamed into your world with increasing frequency, and whether you can just ignore him like you do the Jonas Brothers and the second-tier Disney girls. Is he going to be the next Justin Timberlake, or a blast-from-the-past pick for the 2015 edition of Dancing With the Stars?

Put briefly, Justin's story is this: he is Canadian, comes from good Christian stock, and he's the first genuine YouTube sensation to cross over into mainstream pop stardom. (Unless you think Susan Boyle is a popstar, in which case, how old are you?) It all started with his mother posting his musical performances on the site, then they went viral. Next Usher beat out Justin Timberlake in the race to sign him, and now the 16-year-old Biebster has a platinum album, while a world tour is on the horizon. As is puberty, one assumes, though Justin's ear-melting reliance on Autotune currently renders any early signs undetectable.

Now, there may yet be those among you still fighting surrender to Bieber's dominance, which is expected to go full spectrum by June. If you fit that profile, chances are you're a recovering stalker, who's maybe got Hanson's milk teeth in your box of special treasures, and who's thinking, "I swore I'd never let myself get hurt like that again." Also, you pay taxes, can drink legally, and no longer have to ask the permission of the bill payer if you wish to indulge in reality TV suffrage.

In which case, let me sell you on the legal history angle. This week, Justin's manager, Scott Braun, surrendered to police for failing to warn the star's fans about overcrowding at a shopping mall CD signing he staged in Willston Park, New York, last November, in which five people were hospitalised. State police say the minute it became clear the gig was overcrowding, they asked Braun to tweet fans telling them the gig was cancelled. But he refused, even changing Justin's account password so "he could control the event", and the abort mission instructions only appeared on the site two hours later. "By refusing to send out the cancellation Tweet and preventing others from doing so, he blatantly ignored police directives," rages the DA – and Scott now faces up to a year in jail if convicted.

Do you see, oldies? Human civilisation has just notched up the first case of a man being arrested for failure to tweet. This is Justin's world now – you're just living in it.

No comments:

Post a Comment