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Posted at 12:09 PM ET, 06/ 8/2010

Justin Bieber: The fever that won't quit

By Liz Kelly

The cover of Bieber's latest album, 'My World 2.0.' It sure is. (AP)

I'm not sure any other celebrity -- especially one born the year I graduated from college or not named "Elvis" -- has spawned as many Internet memes as 16-year-old wunderkind Justin Bieber.

Kanye West came close in the wake of his September 2009 VMA Awards stage siege -- you remember, when he dissed Taylor Swift, defended Beyonce and inspired a flurry of "interrupting Kanye" Web sites and viral vids all riffing on his "I'mma let you finish" speech. Well, sorry Kanye, but that (while fun) was a flash in the pan compared to the range of Bieber-inspired sites that have been propagated in the past six months or so.

In fact, over the past several months, Bieber's Web footprint (not to be confused with a webbed footprint) has grown from the typical -- his own early YouTube clips, Wikipedia entry, official site, a smattering of fan pages -- into full-blown phenomenon. A little research at Google Trends reveals that, at least as far as searches go, Bieber's popularity has grown from a mere blip at the beginning of January 2009 to today's current levels, which now outpace searches on "Kanye West" by two to one and "Twilight" heartthrob "Robert Pattinson" by more than six to one. And, to use an old Beatles comparison, Bieber is totally beating "Jesus" in the search game, too.

The interesting thing -- at least to someone like me who Just. Doesn't. Get. It. -- isn't the proliferation of gushy, pic-heavy fan sites, but the off-the-wall apps, viral vids and quizzes inspired by Bieber and forwarded around by, yep, me and all the other people who Just. Don't. Get. It.

To wit:

The handy Shaved Bieber Firefox add-on which allows the user to basically wipe all traces of the coiffed one from Web pages.

The Justin Bieber walks into a glass door video which, when it hit the net a few weeks back, inspired a viral flurry and racked up more than 1.3 million pageviews.

The How Many Justin Biebers Could You Take in a Fight quiz, which -- as advertised -- calculates how many Biebers one could potentially best in hand-to-hand combat. My score: 23 Biebers. I kick butt.

And, now, the baldly-named "What Would You Do to Get with Justin Bieber," which asks readers to submit Twitter-sized declarations of passion then allows other users to rate each entry as sweet/creepy/desperate/lamest. Some are obviously more serious than others. A quick selection gathered this morning (my comments in parens):

I would kiss him like a billion times. (mostly sweet)
i would love Justin through whatever if he went bald was chubby and lost all his money/ fame i would still love him for who he is :D (creepy, not surprisingly)
Honestly and truely, i would do alot for him but somethings are overboard i wouldnt stalk him force him black mail him or do anything to hurt him i would always tell the truth to him no matter how hard it is be ok with anything he says if he's happy im happy if he's sad im sad if he's mad im mad only thing is that he never lies to me (sweet as per visitors to the site, but kind of delusional if you ask me)

I get Bieber's appeal for teeny-boppers, as evinced by the above messages and ably explained by The Post's Chris Richards. But I'm not sure his G-rated good looks and pop savvy explain why the kid is such an Internet phenomenon. Maybe you can do better? Please try below. I'm all ears...

By Liz Kelly  | June 8, 2010; 12:09 PM ET
Categories:  Celebrities  
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Next: The same-sex kiss gag: Yeah, it's getting old

Comments

Maybe it has as much to do with the Internet as with Bieber?

OTOH, i hate to admit it, but he was delightful in that SNL skit with Tina Fey as the cougar.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | June 8, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Teen sensations come in waves.

Britney and Christina just walked over the Tiffany and Debbie Gibson ground.

Osmonds and Jackson Five yesterday, later Backstreet Boys and 98 Degrees.

So Justin Bieber (or his agent) figured it was time for a new teen boy to join the ranks of Elvis, Bobby Sherman, Shaun Cassidy, Aaron Carter, etc.

While the rest of the world was sucked into the latest crop of American Idol wannabes (honestly, can you even tell them apart anymore?), JB's team decided to go back a little further in history for inspiration.

Worked pretty well, didn't it? Now WHY Bieber in particular? You got me.

Posted by: td_in_baltimore | June 8, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

TD nailed it. Only today you have the internet to spread it around. Used to be you just had TigerBeat, et al. Now anyone can create a website or an app.

BTW, my goal in life is to have my own Wikipedia page.

Posted by: epjd | June 8, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

There's nothing new here. We Gen Xers just outgrew it, that's all.

Posted by: DCCubefarm | June 8, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

ep, I'm not sure exactly how Wiki works, but can't you start your own page?

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | June 8, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Nosy, I think starting your own wikipage would be the ultimate in narcissism. I try to avoid that. Some days I do better than others.

Posted by: epjd | June 8, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

ep, Ironically I've tried as hard as possible to keep as much personal info re myself OFF the Internet. On a couple of work-related sites I've only posted the most basic info indicating my professional bona fides. And nobody knows about my online alter ego!

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | June 8, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

What TD said, only I'd throw in Leif Garrett and Andy Gibb too.

Posted by: DCFem | June 8, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I can take 35 Biebers. But I lied about my height.

Posted by: kbockl | June 8, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

What I would do to be with Bieber is call his agent and ask how much he charges for an appearance. If I really, really want him, I'd offer double the price, then he can't refuse.

Because, really, that's how you get to "be with Bieber" these days, no?

But I believe that Justin is tapping into the deep subliminal urge in every tweenage girl to be attracted to someone who looks like Carol Burnett's grandson.

Posted by: mdreader01 | June 8, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Just to correct on earlier comment regarding the Jackson 5. While it may be true that the Jackson 5's rein ended (noting that they were the FIRST group to have their 1st FOUR singles go to No. 1 – NOT even the Beatles did that NOT even Elvis) and noting that their music is still played and loved today (unlike the Osmonds), it spawned the Greatest and Most Successful Entertainer of ALL time (per the Guinness Book of World Records and industry experts), MICHAEL JACKSON. And while I'm at it, noting that all boy bands and kids acts like Justin are all based off of The Jackson 5 and Michael Jackson. Even Just himself (foolishly) said, if Michael Jackson can go from being a child star to an adult star than why can't I? (Where shall we begin - but that's for another day).

So, while Liz included the Beatles and Elvis references she left off THE MOST obvious -MICHAEL JACKSON. Perhaps because in the end, NO ONE compares to Michael - NO ONE. If the internet had been around when Thriller came out and when Michael Moon walked for the first time, it would have crashed. Justin's success is based on good PR, a cute face, and fickle pre-teens. Michael's from the Jackson 5 on was based on his prodigy talent to his adult genius who was listened to by kids and adults alike by people from EVERY Race and Religion on earth.

So Liz, the next time you try to compare someone’s popularity to the industries standard of excellence, think Michael Jackson – THE MOST AWARDED ARTIST OF ALL TIME (AGAIN, per the Guinness Book of World Records - and just a plain FACT).

Posted by: pina3 | June 8, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I think pina3 is Tito Jackson's username.

Posted by: DorkusMaximus1 | June 8, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I just cannot stand that kid's hair.

That is all.

Posted by: Californian11 | June 8, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I'm with Californian11 - I want to chase him with a pair od clippers and shave his head!

And along with what a few people said, I don't think all the rage is different with him, it's just we have the internet and the super crazy papparazzi, and no celebrity can take a whiz without it beign front page new anymore. And since he's so popular with the youngins, everyone is capitalizing on it while it lasts. But he annoys me - I don't like his music and I don't like his hair. At least when I was too old to obsess over N'Sync, I still liked their music and to this day I love JT.

Posted by: luvlydawter | June 8, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

I think DorkusMaximus1 IS a Dorkus Maximus. You're just so original.

Posted by: pina3 | June 8, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Why Bieber?

Because he'll appeal to 10 year old girls who need a non-threatening boy to idolize & he'll also appeal to the lesbian crowd:

http://lesbianswholooklikejustinbieber.tumblr.com/

Posted by: wadejg | June 8, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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