Belieb it (or not?)
It started out, like most college gossip does, with a Facebook status: in this case, a simple post written by someone I knew from an organization I’ve since left. This quick line of text, however, made me more shocked than when I realized that James Marsters, my current celebrity crush (i.e. obsession), is older than my mother.
“Justin Bieber is coming to Cornell…? Seriously?”*
(*The actual text has been modified to protect the original poster.)
As Usher would say in Bieber’s hit “Baby,” this “had me goin’ crazy,” so much so that I sat in front of the computer screen with my mouth hanging open for a few moments. Wasn’t April Fool’s Day weeks ago? Was this bizarrely popular dude really going to become part of the class of 2016? Had he been to any Cornell Days? Did he read my blog?
Time to turn to the Internet. With a hunger for the truth rivaling Fox Mulder’s, I searched desperately through Google News (horribly misspelling JB’s name every time), and my frantic research turned up…nothing.
Well, okay, King Lear would chidingly tell me that nothing comes of nothing, so I’ll edit my dramatic exaggeration just this once for his sake. The one source I could find for this rumor was a poorly written interview conducted by the very mysterious “Froobop Media.”
Now, readers, I’m sure most of you have received chain letters during your Internet lifetimes: you know, the sort that says fun stuff like “Emily is three years old and dying of brain cancer/pneumonia/her disturbingly lycanthropic tendencies. Each time you send this email to someone else, Emily will earn 5 cents towards her cure. IF U DONT FORWARD THIS U DONT HAVE A HARTTT!!11.” See, I’m the sort of girl who used to enjoy writing skeptic’s tirades in response to those who apparently had hearts (sorry, “HARTTTTs”) enough to forward me such touching material. Therefore, I determined that the Bieber incident was nothing more than a similar attempt at gaining attention, and I forgot about it.
When I logged onto Facebook this morning, though, I was told by my CreeperFeed–I mean, NewsFeed–that ten more of my “friends” had posted about Justin Bieber’s imminent matriculation, and, unsurprisingly, not one of these statuses seemed particularly excited about it.
Justin Bieber tends to polarize the public–I wonder how such a celebrity could even survive college. There’s really no middle ground in the Bieb-Debate: you’re either a member of the “Justin Bieber is so [bleep]in’ ugly and can’t sing and what is wrong with today’s music?” crowd or the clan of teenie-boppers (and not-so-teeny boppers) who will happily threaten anyone (e.g. Selena Gomez) close to “their” man.
Such polarization is, in my opinion, unique to the modern fan-omenon. Take the Twilight series: while many people think that Bella, Edward, and Jacob’s awkward paranormal love triangle is one of the greatest stories of all time, there’s also a sizable group of folks who’ve made their own anti-fandom out of viciously hating everything fanged and sparkly. (Trust me, I used to be one of them.)
Though pop idol worship has been around since Lisztomania, I feel that such hatefulness amongst different factions of fans is a product of the Internet Age. The anonymity of public forums often brings out the worst in people. For instance, one of my good friends told me that she’d recently posted a tweet observing that Nathan Fillion (of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog, Firefly and Castle fame) looks like a llama. Moments later, some random girl halfway across the world sent my friend a hateful response ordering her to stop saying such cruel things about “her” beloved actor and threatening to “kill” the next person who did so.
My friend’s reply was, allegedly, something along the lines of “You’re right; I take it back. He doesn’t look like a llama–he’s way more of an alpaca.”
Have you heard the Big Red Bieber rumor? Even though it’s false, how would you feel about sharing the Hill with good ol’ Justin? Waiting in the soft serve line with him at Appel? Hearing him hum “Baby” under his breath in Libe Cafe?
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