Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Bieber Fever



Young Cody, who was three at the time of this now famous video, sat around crying all day because she was in love with Justin Beiber, and had not seen him all day (or, really, ever.) Not one to let young girls cry, Jimmy Kimmel took matters into his own hand and brought the two together.

On Youtube, there is a full length video of the girl crying over Justin Beiber, because she knows he loves her, too. There is also a video of her mother reading comments left on the videos to her, as well as several videos from the family to Justin. These were recorded after he sent them to Disney World.

I just got to thinking about how this whole encounter was product of technology. A long time ago, Justin Beiber was just a somewhat handsome (arguably not, though it could be blamed on that awkward time in life that tweendom) boy with a great voice on youtube. He was discovered via youtube, and (after a bidding war between Usher and Justin Timberlake) became the hottest tween popstar since Zac Hanson sat behind a drum set.

But Justin's sound also changed. In his you tube videos, he is playing acoustic guitar, really using his pipes, and covering singer/song writer ballads such as Edwin McCain's "I'll Be." But when he became signed, he got a make over, had songs written for him to appeal to a young audience. His voice, which won him recognition on Youtube, has been auto-tuned. Technology allowed him to become an entirely new person. A person designed to draw in young girls en masse, but also to be someone their mom's could like, too.

Then, we have Cody, the young girl. Cody's mom chose to film her crying, and then posted it on youtube, where much like Justin, her videos became popular. Jimmy Kimmel then decided that it was worth the time of the American people to showcase this video and bring and end to young Cody's sadness. He also thought people at home would be entertained by this story. And who wouldn't be? There's probably no one who hasn't, at some time, felt a connection to a celebrity, however unwarranted or ridiculous.

In the video, Cody first makes contact with Justin on a cell phone, before he enters the room. When he is in the room, she actually tries to hid behind the phone, because she is so surprised to see his physical being. After all, she has never really seen him before, only his image.

While there are certainly bigger questions to pull out of both of these stories (why did a mom put her daughter sobbing about Justin Bieber on youtube? Why does she facilitate the relationship between her daughter and the people who like her? Why is the little girl in love with someone she only sees on tv and hears on a cd? What does it say that Justin is a "sex" symbol -or object of desire for so many young girls - at 13? Are these desires genuine, never before expressed at such a young age, or are they the product of how rapidly children are maturing in such a technologically advanced world, what are the ramifications of this?) I find it interesting to read the technological imagery which seems so secondary, but without which no part of this story could have been written (not to mention my own watching the video on you tube, and your reading this online.)

Justin also has an open twitter, in case this story gives you Bieber fever, too. The family in question also has a youtube channel, in which Mr. Bieber is very often mentioned. For better or worse, this family is tied to Justin Bieber through the technology that made them famous: Youtube.




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