While twitter trends are unpredictable and oftentimes not a good reflection of what is actually happening in the world at that moment, there is one amorphous group that can be counted on to consistently be in the top ten: they are of course, the various pop fandom groups made up of preteens and teens (mostly) that back one singer, tv show or band and work hard to defend their identities. They go by cutesy names like “gleeks”, “directioners”, “twihards”, “beliebers”, etc. and they can be found all over twitter fighting the good fight.
Preteens and teens are especially good at doing this because they literally have all the time in the world. They have absolutely nothing better to do than to sit online and stoke virility. Their trends have become so common that seeing something like “#43millionbeliebersstilllovejustin” trending is par the course on twitter, something to be ignored and skipped over as more serious trends like “Cairo” or “#badbandnames” engage your attention.
Last night though, the preteens rose their little idol worship obsession into something more: the collective consciousness of the rest of us. Sometime on the night of August 16th, a hashtag began trending that was obscure enough to beg for the uninitiated to click it “#RIPlarryshippers”. Who was Larry Shippers? Did the world lose another celebrity struggling with substance abuse and paying for a life of excess? No.
— RIPLarry + Elounor3 (@ellie_chase7) August 16, 2013
Reading a few tweets exposed that Larry Shippers wasn’t a person but in fact 14 young, fresh faced One Direction fans who, like sunni and shiite muslims, had been recently engaged in a sectarian war with other One Direction fans over whether two bandmates (Louis and Harry) were romantically involved. It’s apparently a big deal if your version of a big deal is following the lives, rumors and Public Relations releases of pop bands. Unfortunately, it took tragedy to remind these preteens that even if Louis and Harry weren’t together, ALL Directioners were deserving of life. The tragedy was the alleged suicide of 14 (or 28 or 42 or 56?) “Larryshippers” (Larryshippers = people who were pro-louis and harry having sex) after a scathing documentary that was released on England’s Channel 4. So damaging was the documentary, so tasteless and unfair, that teens were driven to suicide over just watching it. It was like a more efficient “Ring” video.
Also it happened to be complete nonsense. It is, without a doubt, not true. Not one scrap of evidence supports that a single child killed themselves over the Channel 4 video. It simply did not happen. But that wasn’t going to stop the Directioners who were really gaining traction with this thing.
Manufactured outrage is nothing new. Fox News has built an entire network on the premise. People love to feel outrage. I suspect it has something to do with the simplicity of it. Channel 4 is a “hater” and because it hates One Direction (probably from jealousy), it made an unfair and untrue documentary that was so mean that it drove kids to suicide. Immediately after the outrage began, One Directioners started posting anti-bullying pictures and numbers to suicide hotlines. It’s well meaning, but completely misdirected. The message being lost when the same “anti-bullying” fans threaten to kill people working at Channel 4 for being mean. It also assumes that a documentary picking on One Direction fans is somehow driving people to suicide, which it wasn’t. These kids are at risk of bullying and do commit suicide sometimes, but for all the uninteresting reasons that most kids do.
The general sense of bafflement (as an outsider) continues as you watch other “fandoms” come to One Direction fans’ defense. Directioners started retweeting this picture, taken from a tweet of a belieber:
Which then led me to learn that until recently One Direction fans and Justin Bieber fans had been engaged in a twitter war (as a preteen there are lots of wars you need to keep track of, none of which have the names Syria or Egypt in them).
I would give almost anything to watch this night unfold from the perspective of the Channel 4 team that made the documentary. So many emotions were probably at play. I’m sure there was a mix of bafflement and surprise, but also perhaps a sense of powerlessness. Do they need to respond to something so silly? The public at large would probably mostly miss the fake, viral, twitter story but still… a bunch of preteens were going around saying that their tv show just killed 14 (or 28 or 56?) Larryshippers. I still would love to find out what they made of the situation. As far as addressing the outrage, Channel 4 wrote a piece about itself and calmly documented the oddity of the rumors.
It would be easy to believe that this type of event is unique to the unchecked speculation machine of the 21st century Age of Social Media, but I’m not so sure. The faces are probably younger (adults move on to more mature forms of gullibility such as Birther movements and Death Panels) but the premise of an unfounded claim whipping an ignorant group up into a frenzy is a common human experience: think Jews poisoning wells rumors common in the Middle Ages, or Salem Witch Trials.
As I wrote before, these events are probably extremely satisfying to those who allow themselves to become wrapped up in it. It’s so rare these days to be able to freely and openly lose yourself into a self-righteous, targeted outrage frenzy. The sense of community it builds – as proven by the uniting of even the bitterest of enemies: Beliebers and Directioners – has to feel great. It’s also rare to be able to feel like you are really having an impact and by seeing your group’s hashtag trending or retweeting a picture you are made to feel as if you, individually and in a group, have contributed to the success of something big. That’s gotta feel pretty satisfying.
As a whole, the experience of fandom is replacing religion. And here politicians and clergy were terrified that science would destroy people’s belief in God, when it has now been replaced by worship of another kind. It is only when looking at fandom as frantic as this that the Old Testament’s God’s commandment to not worship any god but Him is so reasonable. I guess, in his mysterious way, God knew that in 4000 years he would have to compete with Harry Styles and his smile.
A dangerous threat indeed.
But what is also remarkable is how much fandom borrows from religion: Unquestioningly loyalty, policing of group membership by self-appointed members, fanaticism, fantasy, and even group ritual.
One of the things that struck me about last nights twitter event was how many Directioners invented ways to show solidarity with their (not at all) dead comrades.
— xJUSTINxAUSTIN♡ (@xJETSKEEHx) August 16, 2013
GUYS IN 45 MINUTES pic.twitter.com/iKslENLjF4
— ☆ josine ☆ (@paynerhampton) August 16, 2013
— chloee (@Chloenicole1D) August 16, 2013
— #RIPLarryShippers (@wishyouhadme87) August 16, 2013
i have an idea!tomorrow write in your hand 1DFamily and send me an photo!rt if you will do that!please #RIPLarryShippers
— ♥RIPLarryShippers♥ (@Proud_Directio3) August 16, 2013
It’s enough to make a Directioner get dizzy. If I wanted this much group enforced shared ritual I would be Catholic!
Last nights Billboard Music Awards was full of insanity. It also might have been one of the most interesting awards shows in recent memory because at least it tried. It was full of watercooler talking fuel, flying kicks and a demonstration to the younger crowd why Prince is the greatest. I would love to include a video of Prince killing it but it’s Prince so good luck finding one. Here is a Perez Hilton article that has the video embedded (for now).
Even though Miguel’s painfully awkward and painfully painful Power Ranger kick to a fan’s head will get the most attention (and by this point I’m sure my grandparents have even seen the memes so if you’re working on one delete it now, you’re too late), we can’t ignore that Justin Bieber. Got. Booed! Take that Justin!
Justin Bieber was booed at the Billboard Music Awards, despite winning two awards and performing twice.
The “Beauty and the Beat” singer was accepting the Milestone Award when the crowd seemed to erupt in boos. Looking a bit confused, Bieber went on to assert that he thinks only the “craft” and his music should be considered, arguing that “none of the other bull” mattered.
Despite the deep-seated schadenfreude we as a society have towards Justin Bieber and despite the fact that he makes this ill will worse by constantly characterizing himself as some sort of victim of “haters” trying to keep him down (the “everybody said I couldn’t do it” routine is getting beyond tired, especially now that he has close to a trillion dollars), we need to keep some perspective here.
Justin Bieber got booed, which I guess serves as a validation to the millions of music critics out there who are brave enough to stand up to a 19 year old boy singing primarily for 13 year old girls and are willing to put their reputation on the line to make fun of Bieber’s music. What a relief it must have been to finally see people hating Justin Bieber. That has literally never happened before and I bet it felt good to finally prove that your musical instincts didn’t lead you astray. You’ve proven once and for all that you are a straight shooter who knows when a song is garbage and no sorry I can’t go to the Pitbull concert with you, I’ve, uh, got a thing.
But before you rejoice too much at a clear victory for legitimate music let me say this: Justin Bieber was booed by people who willingly went to something called a “Billboard Music Awards” show. These people, collectively and on average, probably have the worst taste in music in any room in the world. Getting booed by this crowd is like NASA getting criticized by Michelle Bachman: I find it hard to care.
It is also unclear why they were booing. It was probably for reasons as dumb as:
1. Selena Gomez fans who still feel jilted by the breakup.
2. One Direction fans who hate Justin Bieber for the same reason Star Belly Sneetches hated the ones with no stars upon thars.
3. Maybe they were huge Anne Frank fans?
So, music hasn’t been saved after all. In fact, its as bad as it always was. Justin Bieber won some awards. He got booed. He called himself an “artist…[who] should be taken seriously.” And maybe he should be. Remember the Jonas Brothers once said they were the next Rolling Stones and screw those guys right?
- Justin Bieber: Booed at the Billboard Music Awards! (popbytes.com)
- Justin Bieber — BOOED at Billboard Music Awards (tmz.com)
In honor of the fan who rushed on stage to hug Justin Bieber. I came up with a movie concept that, I think, could do really well in both foreign and domestic markets.
On a trip to Dubai as part of his world tour, Justin Bieber is framed for the kidnapping of the Sheikh’s daughter. As to not garner any more publicity or incite the crowd, the police allow Justin to finish his concert before he is to be escorted out of the stadium and taken to prison, probably for LIFE. Just as the concert is winding down, and Justin faces the inevitable, a fan rushes the stage and attempts to hug the superstar. Security tackles the guy and leads him away BUT WOULDN’T YOU KNOW IT, Justin Bieber winds up in the same police van on the way to prison! The fan proves himself to be a lovable, if overly obsessed, doofus and Justin is dreading spending the whole van ride with him.
CUT TO a sheep herder leading his fluffy charges across the highway. The police van comes over the crest of a hill just in time to see the sheep directly in their path and spins out of control, flipping several times (or if Michael Bay is directing: several thousand times). Justin and the fan, dazed but unhurt, slowly crawl out of the wreckage to see that the two prison guards are knocked unconscious (this ensures a PG13 rating). The sheep herder keeps walking oblivious to the whole crash and we wait a beat as the audience CRACKS UP when it turns out he had headphones on and was listening to Justin Bieber’s new hit song!
“We have to call the cops” Justin screams in that angelic voice of his.
“No, Mr. Bieber. No! You don’t understand! The police never intended for you to get to prison. They will make it look like a suicide.”
“What are you talking about?”
“You know nothing of the Sheikh or his daughter. You won’t understand.” The fan kicks a rock and stares out into the desert sands, frustrated.
“What won’t I understand?” Justin says, dreamily.
“In your country, is there anyone SO important that the whole nation could be brought to its knees if something happened to them?”
“Yes actually,” Justin says, finally understanding. He walks over to the fan and puts his arm on his shoulder. “You have to get me out of here, sir. That person, the most important person in my country, that person is me.”
So begins a wacky, road trip comedy between two strangers united by circumstance and love for Justin Bieber.
I’m assuming Adam Sandler will play the part of the Fan but Eddie Murphy is probably available too. Justin Bieber will, of course, play himself in what is set to be the biggest role on his career.
- [VIDEO] Justin Bieber Gets Attacked in Dubai (1015jamz.cbslocal.com)
My relationship with Justin Bieber could be described as “distant” to “nonexistent”. Our interests don’t seem to overlap much and we don’t go to the same parties. Because I follow the news, and sometimes even watch Good Morning America, I’ve always been vaguely aware of what the biebs is up to, though. Most of the time I don’t care, but some of the time I enjoy it in that self-consciously decadent way that I enjoy hearing about Will.i.am’s tribulations. Recently though, Justin Bieber did something that did actually offend me but first a list of things that he’s done that haven’t:
None of these seem particularly interesting or surprising coming from a boy who from the age of 12 has been encouraged to bask in his own greatness. He’s acting like a kid who has been insulated from criticism by a large circle of worshipers and handlers should act. I will say that it is a narrative will get less “Justin what will you do next!” and more “Justin, get help” if he continues on his current path towards self destruction. But leave the little primates out of it.
Impulsive buying of pets is nothing new. People do it every Christmas. Celebrities, having more money than they know what to do with, are particularly susceptible to getting inappropriate and exotic pets, probably for reasons more to do with show and status than care for the animal. That certainly seems the case for Justin Bieber, who made headlines when he bought a baby Capuchin monkey and could be seen (mostly by a torrent of “selfies” he put on his instagram) cradling the adorable little infant. Nobody questioned when the other shoe would drop. Nobody bothered to tell Justin that this new arrangement couldn’t possibly last unless he was willing to make sacrifices that he was obviously not willing to make.
So it was that on March 28th, Justin and company (including the baby Capuchin) touched down in Germany as part of his world tour….and the animal was immediately seized for not having the proper papers. You see, bringing animals from one country to another is kind of a big deal. It’s kind of a problem because most people doing so aren’t teen heartthrobs, they’re smugglers trafficking in the lucrative market of exotic pets to foreign buyers with money to burn (so people like teen heartthrobs) and animals are often carriers of diseases that governments and scientists aren’t eager to see spread to untapped regions.
So now Germany’s custom officials have placed the monkey into a German shelter. And while he doesn’t seem to have any interest on getting the Capuchin back, at least Justin Bieber has shown some concern for his former baby (baby, baby, ohhh), or at least his representatives have:
The first email, Brettmeister said, asked how much time Bieber would have to provide the necessary paperwork before Mally would be euthanized. The shelter responded, explaining animals in German shelters were not euthanized.
The second email thanked the shelter and wrote, “Our team is looking into the idea of placing Mally at a zoo in Germany. Would you happen to have any recommendations for places that Mally would be safe and thrive? Again, we are very concerned that Mally is safe and placed in the best possible residence.”
So there you have it. This story ends exactly the way it was destined to. The Capuchin, who was never anything more than a prop for Justin anyway, is left in Germany. Justin has moved on. Apparently, back into the arms of Selena Gomez. And the primate, which served its purpose, is left in the hands of people who shouldn’t have to deal with it.
The only silverlining is that Germany has progressive animal rights laws and have outlawed euthanizing sheltered animals so Justin is spared the heartache of being single-handedly responsible for his pet’s death. Instead, it will probably be given to a zoo or sanctuary where it has at least some chance of living a more Capuchin-y life. But it shouldn’t have happened in the first place. That is why this story bugs me more than the others. Justin Bieber is an idiot but his idiocy should AT LEAST be contained to himself and those who willingly put themselves in his orbit. Leave the little primates out of it. I do have to admit though, if the Capuchin was euthanized, it would have been interesting to see what his eulogy would have been: “At least the monkey died being a bieleber…”
Author’s note: I refuse to call the Capuchin by Justin Bieber’s name for it “Mally” because Justin Bieber had the creature for less than a month and doesn’t deserve to name someone he cares nothing about.
Well it seems Will.i.am finally admitted that he may have sorta kinda stole a song that was not his and kinda sorta may have put that song on his new album (the inanely titled “#willpower”). It was fairly obvious and most people had already moved on with their lives (especially Chris Brown) but Will.i.am felt the need to come clean which he did…in a convoluted way:
Arty is a dope producer so I wrote this song to ‘Rebound’ this last year. I got in touch with Arty and showed it to him, did a different version to it ’cause I asked him [to] make it newer ’cause I don’t just wanna take your song and rap over it. But in a year’s time, time’s gone by [and] we preferred writing over and using the [original] rebound. Something happened and the clearance … hopefully we resolved the issue.
Um. What? Anyway, it appears it was all just an honest mistake that was definitely NOT intentional. It screams “don’t sue me” and we’ll see if it works but in any case I think we can all agree that #willpower is going to be terrible and inexplicably super popular. I for one think it’s too soon to be making Justin Bieber into a hologram. Didn’t he just die like a month ago or was that Margaret Thatcher?