My mom hates Justin Bieber, like, sincerely and wholeheartedly. She hates him with a robust, full bodied vigor which is hard for her to communicate without getting flustered and inarticulate.
A lot of it, unsurprisingly, has to do with her hatred for arrogance (a character flaw she is not unfamiliar with, having raised me and been married to my father). Most of us can identify pretty easily with this, I think — and for a long time, I did, too. In many ways, Bieber does embody a lot of what’s wrong with contemporary pop culture.
He is, to all intents and purposes, not a likable dude.
But what gets me about my mother’s hatred of young Mr. Bieber is that she’s not an inherently hateful person, not by any means. She is, in fact, loving and compassionate to a fault. And yet anytime the pop star’s name is brought up, for whatever reason, she immediately scowls and starts to muttering foully in Spanish under her breath.
Which doesn’t make any sense to me, because he’s never really done anything to her personally, and there are a number of people who have that suffer no such indictment.
The prevailing mystery here being just why it is that this kid — and he is a kid, lest we forget — inspires so much loathing in so many people who don’t really have any discernible reason for feeling that way. I mean, the level of mass adoration/abhorrence that Bieber garners is something usually reserved for genocidal dictators, warmongering drug lords, or lascivious heads of state.
An important distinction to make, however, between JB and the Hitlers, Escobars, or Slick Willys of the world is that these latter three are in actuality adults. They’ve had time to grow, and should therefore be held accountable for their actions. Bieber, on the other hand, only recently turned 21, and has lived the majority of his life in a societal spotlight that is ruthlessly scrutinizing and presumptuous.
And I feel bad for him….because to have to go through young adulthood a slave to tabloids and paparazzi is something like my idea of hell. Adolescence is a time of enormous insecurity and angst, as most of us are aware, and I simply cannot fathom having to endure it with the eyes of the media — and indeed the world — fixed relentlessly on you.
That’s not to say he’s got it all bad. I mean, he is hugely rich and famous — which doesn’t really appeal to me, if I’m honest, but some are into that sort of thing. There’s no denying, though, that growing up with a view of the world so distorted must be, on some level, deeply and irrevocably traumatic. And that’s something most people don’t really acknowledge in their assessments of the juvenile pop star.
The little I know about Justin Bieber suggests that we wouldn’t exactly get on. But what little I know about myself leads me to believe that there should be some amount of empathy or restraint exercised before condemning someone I don’t know well enough to judge. Yes, he is something of an asshole. He’s obnoxious and egomaniacal and generally deplorable in the public eye, but I can’t help thinking most of us wouldn’t be any better if we grew up the way he did.
Now, if Bieber were to show up at my mother’s house to pick my sister up for a date, I’d be singing a different tune altogether. But so long as the little fucker continues living his life of profound arrogance and degeneracy away from me, I see no reason to waste any time or energy on harboring hate for him.
After all, I was no prize at his age, either.