Sunday, May 1, 2011

A phenomenon

The sound of Justin Bieber echoes in the hallway. I can hear girl voices whisper that they love him.

I took them (my 8 year old daughter and her friend) to see him at the movies - in 3-D (no less) and I felt my own childish enthusiasm as we were enveloped in the joyful adulation.

The voice of adult sensible-ness, in my head, reminds me that it's spin and that they're promoting an image - Justin Bieber is a product.

But music conveys emotion so well. The footage of the concerts made me want to be there, jumping to the beat and singing along. I wanted to enjoy the excitement and the freshness.

He was also very talented. He sang and danced his sixteen year old heart out (and got strained vocal cords at one point in the movie). He was musically gifted, playing three or four instruments, and seemed liked by the people in his "team". His mum loved him (and he was born while she was still a teenager herself), his grandparents loved him, and other musicians treated him with respect.

It would be easy to dismiss the whole phenomenon, to look down on his youth or his popularity. But is that coming out of jealousy or is it because we feel people should have to work harder or wait longer for success? Sometimes that sort of attitude is a lack of generosity, an unwillingness to delight in the giftedness of someone else.

And I am fascinated by the emotional attachment that we can have to famous people - people we admire or aspire to or just want to know. There were lots of teenage girls in the footage who insisted that Justin Bieber was going to be their boyfriend/husband.

We all long for a connection, for relationship, to be known by another person, significantly. And perhaps famous people are a safe way to begin experimenting in adult attachment. Unattainable relationships have the safety of never having to face real rejection - because deep down we know they will not happen.

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