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Posted at 5:44 PM ET, 02/22/2011

Justin Bieber's haircut and the dark side of Google Trends

By Alexandra Petri

Want a picture of Justin Bieber's haircut?

I have one. But, please, before you scroll down to look, take a moment to reconsider your life.

If you got to this article from Google, I hope you're ashamed. You are making us all look bad.

For many years, we as a society could walk past the aisle of Stupid Pop Culture Things and say, "Hey, that's not my fault!" When we passed magazines with giant images of Pamela Anderson in four dimensions, or bold, colorful tabloids explaining the Cruise divorce, we scoffed. "I am not interested in this," we would say. "Those things are for the Other People."

No more. Google Trends shows our national seamy underbelly.

At no point in the past twelve months did our interest (as gauged by Google searches) in health-care reform exceed our interest in Lady Gaga. It's hard to blame us - like health-care reform, Lady Gaga is known for futuristic numbers, being controversial in the Midwest, and wanting to make exceptions for conditions you were born with. Unlike health-care reform, she sometimes shows up places dressed as breakfast, and we are pretty sure she won't kill our grandmothers.

But we're also more interested in Justin Bieber than in Barack Obama. True, they have much in common -- both wrote memoirs, some people think both of them were not born here, and neither produces music I can listen to. But really? One of them is President of the United States. The other one is a sixteen year-old from Canada who is managed by a man on a segway.

Kanye West is more interesting to us than Hillary Clinton -- at least we Google him more. For this I cannot blame us. Sometimes Hillary changes her hair, but she has never replaced her bottom teeth with diamonds. Wake me when this happens.

We understand that important things are happening. "We would have Googled Qadafi," we pleaded, "but we have no idea how to spell it." Even if we could spell it, we're more likely to look up Glee. "After all, this Google search won't make history," we insist. True, but it might make browser history. And anyone who doubts the power of a single individual to change history should remember that -- thanks to the isolated acts of individuals -- more people right now are hunting for Bieber's haircut than for the Chicago mayoral election. And we are misspelling it.

A question everyone has asked himself about every article of news today: is this more interesting than Justin Bieber's haircut?

Millions of people have said, "No."

8_fullTMZ.jpg (Image from TMZ)

There's the haircut. I hope you're happy.

By Alexandra Petri  | February 22, 2011; 5:44 PM ET
Categories:  Epic Failures, Only on the Internet, Petri  | Tags:  America, Google, argh, justin bieber  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Hey, 20-something men, get off the couch!
Next: Changes for Chicago with Mayor Rahm Emanuel


Jon M. Chu is upset because Justin’s new haircut was not filmed in 3D. I got a great idea - GET SOME ORPHANS TO SHAVE HIM BALD! This time can be 3D video, more money to charity and would bring lots of fun and joy to orphans! (don’t worry Justin it will grow back quickly!)

Posted by: yulee1616 | February 22, 2011 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Wow. This is the most irrelevant article I have ever seen. This was poorly written and a sorry excuse to bash Google. Why would Google come up in a Bieber article anyway?

Also, who are you to criticize me about the way I get information. Yes, I used Google Reader to see this post. No, I will not be ashamed of that, nor will I ever be. Google does things to help people.

You guys seem to know the best way to get readers, just bad-mouth the source of traffic. Great job, plus your RSS feed- it goes to Google Reader 9 times out of 10. Go suck up to Microsoft.

Posted by: joobalee | February 23, 2011 12:14 AM | Report abuse

Google came up in the article to show that people in general are searching for items of no real importance. While important items, you the kind that are matters of life and death, are left in the dust. I did get to this via Google, but not because I searched for it, but because I have an alert that brings me news on a daily basis on search engines and other technologies. The marketers will use search information to determine how well their brand is doing, so searching for entertainers only increases their brand.

Posted by: pramseycom | February 23, 2011 7:24 AM | Report abuse

joobalee wrote, "Wow. This is the most irrelevant article I have ever seen."
I guess you didn't see her article on the national anthem?
The worst thing about this article, though, is that it stimulated me to waste more time cramming my head full of useless "facts". For example, I now know that NOBODY is interested in Lady Gaga OR health care reform in Bangladesh. How does that help me? We humans now know all this useless [expletive deleted] and Watson is still kicking our [smelly expletive deleted].

But you'll be happy to know that slightly more people searched for "ComPost" than "health care reform." I must have missed the ComPost article on organic gardening, but with the help of Google, I'll find it soon!

Posted by: divtune | February 23, 2011 12:22 PM | Report abuse

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