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Apr 14 2013

I guess I’m a disbelieber now

Justin Bieber is simply not on my radar — I have zero interest in his music, and I think it’s just fine that the teens of each generation have their own celebrity heartthrobs (in my generation, it was Shaun Cassidy; who else remembers him anymore?) But I don’t remember Cassidy or Leif Garrett or any of the other fleeting pop sensations* getting quite so full of themselves as this. Bieber visited the Anne Frank Museum, and this is what he left in the guest book (this was posted by the museum itself, so it’s straight from the source, in case you find it unbelievable…errm, unbeliebable).

Yesterday night Justin Bieber visited the Anne Frank House, together with his friends and guards. Fans were waiting outside to see a glimpse of him. He stayed more than an hour in the museum. In our guestbook he wrote: "Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber."

Tonight Bieber will give a concert in Arnhem in the Netherlands.

Like I said, I don’t have any gripes about popular teenage singers. But when one rises to such extraordinary levels of asshattery, it’s hard to avoid commenting.


*OK, maybe Michael Jackson got to be that full of himself, to tragic results. And Kirk Cameron was briefly regarded as a teenage object of desire, and look at him now…but that’s more chronic egotism, rather than the acute narcissism Bieber is exhibiting.

114 comments

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  1. 1
    Marcus Ranum

    Score: Dead Anne Frank: 1, Bieber: 0

  2. 2
    Akira MacKenzie

    I can hear the teeny-bopper mobs right now: “Justin is not, like, a narci… a nesa… nersa… HE’S JUST NOT! WHY ARE YOU, like, BEING SO MEEEEEAAAN!!! (sobbing)

  3. 3
    carlie

    I just noticed that flooding my twitter feed as well. Yeah, but… the kid has been a pop star for years. His education has most probably been minimal and de-emphasized, so he has no perspective about history. He’s 19, so he has no global perspective on… anything. He’s a pop star, so he has a very carefully controlled set of people around him and doesn’t meet people from different backgrounds than he has. So yes, he’s a self-absorbed little twit, but he’s a carefully created self-absorbed little twit. This isn’t so much about him as it is about how kids like him are treated and what that makes them into. If you look at the track record of child stars, the ones who come out of it socially well-adjusted are the outliers, not the norm. (and as for the child stars of yore, I’m sure they thought a lot of stupid things that just weren’t all captured and shared with the world instantly via technology)

  4. 4
    Eurasian magpie

    (in my generation, it was Shaun Cassidy; who else remembers him anymore?)

    Funny thing is that I remember his older brother David, and I’m a damn sight younger than you are!

  5. 5
    Johnny Vector

    What carlie said. For every Neil Patrick Harris, there are a thousand Kirk Camerons. Also, if you ever get the chance to hear Patrick Murphy of Gaelic Storm speak Justin Bieber’s name, you should do so. Man, if speech could kill he’d need a license for his tongue.

  6. 6
    Argle Bargle

    PZ’s right. That isn’t self-absorption or even egotism but straight out narcissism.

  7. 7
    Argle Bargle

    I didn’t have a celebrity heartthrob. Although I’ve always thought Judy Collins had the most beautiful eyes.

  8. 8
    Elijah Terrell

    Don’t worry, Justin, I hear the Mormons have Anne covered.

  9. 9
    SallyStrange

    Bieber’s not just created, he’s created by Christians. Apparently his mom had a hard time with the fact that he was “discovered” by a Jewish guy, Scooter Braun, and that Braun’s label wasn’t explicitly Christian, until she prayed about it. I guess God reminded her how much more money the Bieb could make as a mainstream pop artist than as a kid singing songs for those annoying Christian radio channels.

  10. 10
    Naked Bunny with a Whip

    Hey, I’m watching Shaun Cassidy in the The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries on Netflix right now. He’s great at playing a character from a book series where the leads’ primary distinguishing characteristic is the color of their hair.

  11. 11
    PZ Myers

    David Cassidy was bigger — he had that role on The Partridge Family to make him famous.

  12. 12
    carlie

    Ulysses – how many people could come out of an adolescence where all day, every day, every minute of their lives, millions of people are telling them how fantastic they are, without becoming a narcissist?

  13. 13
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    You gotta be a special kind of asshole to make the life and death of Anne Frank all about yourself.
    Too bad that the kids are too small to have their own taste in pop music so banning the asshole here will not make a difference.

  14. 14
    The Mellow Monkey

    He is the product of his environment, it’s true. As are we all.

    The only hope to counteract undesirable behavior is to call it out, so that there is a disincentive and learning might result. Perhaps if people point out the narcissism, his handlers will at least work harder to make him hide it.

  15. 15
    carlie

    Mellow Monkey – absolutely. Hopefully there will be enough backlash to be a heavy wake-up call, but it’s not like it’s just his own defect. Celebrity culture is supremely narcissistic.

  16. 16
    Sili

    We should be grateful that Frank died when she did. Imagine the poor girl living in a time of Bieber.

  17. 17
    Olav

    Sili #16

    We should be grateful that Frank died when she did. Imagine the poor girl living in a time of Bieber.

    I know you are just trying to make a cynical joke. But Anne Frank was barbarously murdered in Bergen-Belsen. You say that is better than suffering Justin Bieber? Please get some perspective.

  18. 18
    Argle Bargle

    If Frank was alive today she’d be 83. That would make her a bit old for Bieber.

  19. 19
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    acute narcissism

    Every day he is getting a helluva lot less cute.

  20. 20
    Tabby Lavalamp

    (in my generation, it was Shaun Cassidy; who else remembers him anymore?)

    Anyone who enjoys quality creepy television that too few people watch and suffered too much network interference. He created American Gothic and Invasion, both great shows that didn’t get past their first seasons. He’s a talented writer who has become much more than former feather-haired teen idol and I will brook no disparaging of his name!

  21. 21
    otrame

    Hey, Shaun Cassidy turned into a reasonably successful producer. He was one of the producers of American Gothic, a TV show I liked quite a bit back in the day.

  22. 22
    otrame

    Ha.

    Jinx!!!!

  23. 23
    A momentary lapse...

    Bieber goes to Bitburg then goes out for a cup of tea
    As I read it on a blog somehow it really bothered me

  24. 24
    Chengis Khan, The Cryofly

    And the news is that on Tuesday. Bieber is performing somewhere in Norway. And the schools have moved their midterms. Nope I am not kidding. It is true. (http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/04/03/five-norwegian-schools-shift-exams-for-bieber-concert/)

  25. 25
    pwdm

    With respect to the Anne Frank episode Justin comes across as rather full of himself. I note that I often read statements on a certain many-tentacled blog site that give me the same impression of the blog author. :) Give Justin credit – at least he spent time at the Frank museum.

  26. 26
    SallyStrange

    pwdm – that remark just comes across as desperate to knock PZ for something–anything! PZ more narcissistic than Bieber! Story at 11!

    Whatever.

  27. 27
    ChristineRose

    I sort of follow Justin as he’s from Stratford, Ontario, where I make pilgrimage every summer to worship my childhood crush, classical actor Brian Bedford. (Pee-Zed and I are of an age, and the other girls never understood why I wasn’t swooning over Shaun, Lief, and Donny.) Justin’s a weird paradox as Stratford is a small town where you can barely walk down the street without being bumped by Oscars and Emmys and Genies, yet he still manages to be the most famous person there.

    Despite being of questionable talent and unquestionable fame, the Bieb came across as fairly nice and normal until very recently. It may just be the media vultures descending, but I find myself hoping he gets professional help.

  28. 28
    davenash

    The surprising thing to me is that his image staff didn’t prepare him, “Tomorrow you will visit the Anne Frank Museum and at the end you will write these words into the guest book: … “

  29. 29
    sigurd jorsalfar

    Yes, Justin, Hitler’s great crime was that he deprived so many people of their lives before they had a chance to hear your music.

  30. 30
    robro

    I’ve never heard a song by this guy, nor seen a video. I only know him from news antics. Sadly, based on some recent headlines, he seems set to become the next mega-teen-star with difficulty entering adulthood. I wonder how his Christian mom felt about the Selena/Bieber “sex tape” scandal. Next up: Bieber DUI (may have already happened), Bieber busted with drugs, the Bieb in court, going to rehab, coming out, going to jail…etc. But always in the news. The media engine eats people, especially the young and tender ones. Parents who push their kids into that are just not right.

  31. 31
    epicure

    I’m ever more grateful that when I was an adolescent there was no such thing as a “teenager”. No pressure to conform to a fashion, certainly no adulation of moronic guitar abusers. As for singers – well, they sat at the end of the saxophone section, and only the most revolutionary of them expected to sing the whole number – most just got a vocal refrain in the middle of the arrangement.

    Happy days – and then came Presley… I thought it was a joke, just not as funny as Stan Freburg… And nowadays – well, peole seem to think this jokers matter for some obscure reason…

  32. 32
    epicure

    I’m ever more grateful that when I was an adolescent there was no such thing as a “teenager”. No pressure to conform to a fashion, certainly no adulation of moronic guitar abusers. As for singers – well, they sat at the end of the saxophone section, and only the most revolutionary of them expected to sing the whole number – most just got a vocal refrain in the middle of the arrangement.

    Happy days – and then came Presley… I thought it was a joke, just not as funny as Stan Freburg… And nowadays – well, people seem to think these jokers matter for some obscure reason…

  33. 33
    The Vicar (via Freethoughtblogs)

    @epicure:

    Eh, there have been heartthrob stars with delirious fans far longer than Elvis. Go read some of the shenanigans people got up to over some of the 19th-century and 18th-century composers and performers — it was on a smaller scale because there were no music recordings or broadcast media, and no cheap mass-manufactured goods, but there are few stupidities in the modern scene which don’t have their templates there. There is a story of a woman who kept a smelly cigar stub on her person for decades because (IIRC) Paganini had once smoked it, people swooned over Liszt, and Beethoven (who could have a nasty sense of humor) apparently used to respond to letters asking for a lock of his hair by sending goat shavings. People embroidered pillows with celebrity signatures and named foods after them (chicken Tetrazzini, anyone?), collected photographs when that became possible, and put up with any amount of bad behavior (Caruso was apparently a notorious womanizer).

    Say what you like about Kids These Days, at least don’t blame them for things which they didn’t come up with.

  34. 34
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    You sound bitter, epicure.

    No, I shan’t get off your lawn.

    Bieber was sort of terrible from the beginning, see also his abortion comments. (Robro, he’s already been caught enjoying herbal refreshments.)

    Admittedly, this is a new level of awfulness and narcissism even for him.

    On the other hand, I’m kinda really grossed out by the “LOL stupid teenage girls! Liking stuff! Like music designed to be entertaining and danceable and stuff! SO DUMB.” I mean, we’re a culture where being liked by teenage girls is automatically seen as a bad thing, and that’s kind of really fucked up. I mean, Bieber is vile, but not because his music is popular among young girls.

  35. 35
    Aria Ahrary

    One should not expect anything out of a teen with spotlight for most of his life as a ‘musician’. His screaming groupies seem to be sweeping the modesty out of his life too. I have no idea what Justin Beiber sings, but he has fans who made him where he is now. Now it’s time for his parents to send him to school to give him a real education. BTW I have no expectations what teen stars say or I’ll be highly disappointed.

  36. 36
    pixelfish

    I already wasn’t a fan of the Bieb based on his statements about his abortion:

    He does have a solid opinion on abortion. “I really don’t believe in abortion,” Bieber says. “It’s like killing a baby.” How about in cases of rape? “Um. Well, I think that’s really sad, but everything happens for a reason. I don’t know how that would be a reason. I guess I haven’t been in that position, so I wouldn’t be able to judge that.”

    From: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/justin-bieber-talks-sex-politics-music-and-puberty-in-new-rolling-stone-cover-story-20110216#ixzz2QSvRZWo9

    And his mom funds anti-choice movies where the profits go to crisis counselling centers. :(

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2013/jan/22/justin-bieber-mother-anti-abortion

  37. 37
    sadunlap

    This isn’t so much about him as it is about how kids like him are treated and what that makes them into.

    FWIW there’s a popular belief (maybe true) that during a Roman Triumph a slave had the job of standing next to the honored General in the chariot to whisper in his ear, over and over: “glory is fleeting.”

    What fame and fortune does to adolescents who have neither the emotional maturity nor the education/training to deal with it turns out dreadful cringe-inducing behavior like this last bit. It’s not so great for grown-ups, either.

    Not to excuse the clueless behavior, only making a critique of the pernicious nature of fame. In a book of quotes by famous people about fame my favorite is by the actor Bill Murray: “If your dream is for fame and fortune – try fortune first and see if that doesn’t do it for you.”

  38. 38
    redjuggler

    Pixelfish, while I’m pro-choice, and certainly no fan of Beiber, I have more respect for the anti-choicers who do not want an exception for rape or incest. If the argument is “It’s a living person”, then why should it matter who the parents are, or how the act was done?
    OTOH, when people say that they would allow an exception for rape, what they are really arguing is that women need to be punished for engaging in sex.

    Of course, saying I have “more respect” still doesn’t mean that there is very much…

  39. 39
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Attention everybody: Epicure an an adolescent was deeper, wiser, and more individuated than you as a teenager. Also, get off their lawn.

    Hey, Epicure, did insurance cover the implantation of that massive stick in your ass, or did you have to pay out of pocket for it?

    JFC. One can criticize Presley for having appropriated African-American music and capitalized on it, but the music itself is damned good. Anti-pop snobs are tiresome and full of themselves, no matter what decade they’re sneering at.

    Happiestsadist:

    On the other hand, I’m kinda really grossed out by the “LOL stupid teenage girls! Liking stuff! Like music designed to be entertaining and danceable and stuff! SO DUMB.” I mean, we’re a culture where being liked by teenage girls is automatically seen as a bad thing, and that’s kind of really fucked up. I mean, Bieber is vile, but not because his music is popular among young girls.

    No fucking shit. Do we see anything liked by adolescent boys get so much hatred?

  40. 40
    mnb0

    Well, PZ, that only shows you have forgotten what kind of asshattery you were capable of at the dumb age of 19. I haven’t, though I am old enough to recognize the name Shaun Cassidy indeed. Bieber’s comment is stupid and insensitive – typically 19. But let’s take a look at the keyword: hopefully. It means that Bieber would see it as a great honour if Anne Frank were his fan. Or he would have written “No doubt ….”. So Bieber is clumsily expressing his wish that Anne Frank would accept the only thing he has to offer: his music.
    Disclaimer: I’m not a fan (heh heh) and neither is my 18 years old son. But according him I happen to understand teenagers. Certainly I’m not one of those old geezers who whine that “we didn’t things that stupid in our days”.

  41. 41
    cubist

    Hm. My initial, reflexive reaction was the guy was trying for “believer” and committed a typo, but my good friend Google tells me that “belieber” has been a term for Bieber-fen for the past three years. No plausible deniability for you, JB!
    Fuck that douchebag.

  42. 42
    microraptor

    No fucking shit. Do we see anything liked by adolescent boys get so much hatred?

    While not wishing to sound like I’m condoning bandwagon hating of things which are popular, I will as if the musicians that adolescent boys listen to is as frequently given the same level of invasive marketing and obsessive media attention as that which is marketed to adolescent girls.

    I can’t think of any that immediately come to mind, but I don’t listen to mainstream music that much anyway, I’m more into 70s & 80s heavy metal.

  43. 43
    Rip Steakface

    @40

    That’s a remarkably forgiving way to look at it. More than likely, Bieber was just being careless and threw that in.

    Considering I went to Auschwitz just last Wednesday, I’m surprised I’m not more appalled. Maybe that trip just took it all out of me.

  44. 44
    carlie

    Happy days – and then came Presley… I thought it was a joke, just not as funny as Stan Freburg

    Yes, young people in the 1920s never did anything ridiculous like flagpole-sitting or dance marathons, and young people in the 1930s didn’t do silly things like eating contests, and young people in the 1940s didn’t have boogie-woogie and invent the terms “hip” and “square”, and the 1950s didn’t have sock hops and beatniks…. No, the concept of people in young adulthood trying to find a way to gain independence from their elders while still holding on to the fun of unencumbered childhood is something that never existed until the 1960s.

  45. 45
    brive1987

    Once again stupid is as stupid does.

  46. 46
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Microraptor:

    the musicians that adolescent boys listen to is as frequently given the same level of invasive marketing and obsessive media attention as that which is marketed to adolescent girls.

    “Invasive marketing and obsessive media attention” != “scorn and contempt.”

  47. 47
    LykeX

    Hm. My initial, reflexive reaction was the guy was trying for “believer” and committed a typo, but my good friend Google tells me that “belieber” has been a term for Bieber-fen for the past three years.

    I actually read it as “believer” at first and thought he was simply another air-headedly offensive born-again moron. This interpretation is actually even more offensive; you’re at a museum for a holocaust victim and you’re thinking about whether she’d be a fan of your shitty music? Fucking perspective, anyone?

    I really, really hope that this was a result of him being on the spot, expected to write something witty and he just went for the first thing he thought of.
    If this is how he really thinks, he’s going to have a hard time when reality strikes and nobody gives a shit about his teen-star status.

  48. 48
    Ken Kohl

    Ulysses #7. Suite: Judy Blue Eyes, indeed

  49. 49
    unclefrogy

    the subject of this post is in my opinion more a product than a musician.
    Many things that have been said in this thread I could disagree with like terms like hip and square were adopted by youth but did not originate with the youth unless by youth you mean black jazz musicians.
    Elvis was never very popular with me while he is undoubtedly a social phenomena of some significance not so much musically other than being a white guy playing country western blues and a crooner intimating the style of Dean Martin. Every bit as much a product of promotion as any teen idol today.
    I would suggest that the pop stars that are popular with teenage boys these days are likely in the “hip hop”, “noise-punk” or “metal” styles.
    that one is seen as an insensitive dolt is no surprise.
    Pop music is modern vaudeville and not very high on the “art scale”. just one small step away form advertising.

    uncle frogy

  50. 50
    LykeX

    Here’s some real music.

    That said, pop music is underrated. I think it’s sad that pop music gets such a bad rap, because it lets people who are actually just bad musicians hide under the label of “pop artist”. Pop and poor are not actually synonyms, although they often end up as that.

    The big problem with pop music is that it often takes a decade or two before it becomes clear what was good and what was bad. The bad stuff is forgotten and the good stuff is still played. That’s also why it always looks like the music of the past was better and the artists of today just suck.

  51. 51
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    LykeX: Excellent point on pop music.

  52. 52
    Stardrake

    Epicure: So, you were “FRAAANNNKIIIEEE!”-proof? And that goes back to the early 40′s….

  53. 53
    shamimahmed

    dumb celebrity!!!

  54. 54
    Rip Steakface

    @51 and 50

    I keep trying to make the point to people that pop music has always seemed terrible and on the decline to everyone’s who’s ever listened to it at the same time it’s popular and new because the good stuff hasn’t floated to the top yet like it already has for previous decades.

    Observe: we can safely ignore the worst dregs of 70s pop for the most part (when was the last time you heard a Captain and Tenille song?) while enjoying its best contributions (go on, tell me that Queen is bad. Try it.). Right now, we’re still being bombarded with the worst briefly rising to the top before falling to obscurity (for example, LMFAO) while the good stuff struggles to be noticed as it hopefully, eventually, will be (example: Lupe Fiasco, a conscious hip-hop artist).

    I would suggest that the pop stars that are popular with teenage boys these days are likely in the “hip hop”, “noise-punk” or “metal” styles.

    I’m an eighteen year old teenager. The vast majority in the United States prefer hip hop. Noise punk is practically unheard-of, I have no idea where you’d get the conclusion it’s popular.

    Metal is a vast and varied genre going back to at the very least 1970 (making it 43 years old at minimum – not exactly some new, hip thing!), with styles ranging from blues-inflected hard rock with heavy distortion like Deep Purple to simplistic, raw-produced black metal to intensely complex and haughty progressive metal. There’s combination of genres going on for days. The wonderful thing about metal is its variety. There’s every form of vocals, every instrument, every lyrical idea from death and depression to ecstasy and triumph, every possibility – it’s the freedom of rock ‘n’ roll taken to its zenith. It is to rock what jazz is to blues. And all this? Not particularly popular in the US.

    And guess what: the only music that is even close to metal (and is hardly related to any of what came before it) and even close to popular in the US (note: not really that popular) is deathcore and metalcore, both basically heavily-distorted genres of hardcore punk with some metal-ish ideas (like solos and lengthier songs). This may have been what you were confusing with noise-punk.

    Other teenage boys don’t seem to idolize any person in particular. The closest two things I’ve seen to idolization is with a few jackasses who do a lot of underage drinking (a small, loud minority) and listen to a lot of LMFAO (an awful, awful hip-hop artist) or Macklemore (an actually extremely talented independent hip-hop artist who happened to get a massive radio hit – note his staunch defense of gay rights in Same Love… listen to that goddamn song).

    Oh, and electronic music is the actual burgeoning new underground giant. As much as I dislike it, it’s the next big thing. The only reason you don’t see more electronic artists on the charts is because of the common lack of vocals and the fact that middle-aged people haven’t decided to adopt and promote it yet. All it takes is a Skrillex type artist getting picked up by Universal or Sony and being promoted to hell and back, and it’ll burst forth.

    /overly long, somewhat off-topic post

  55. 55
    Rip Steakface

    Also, I kept saying “in the United States” because it appears the situation is much different in other countries. In Poland, where I was from the beginning of the month til Friday, it appeared that heavy metal is incredibly popular. When I asked about the band Vader, a Polish death metal group (as in the incredibly brutal stuff that causes Christian moral guardians to wrinkle their noses with disgust), not only did most people know of them, but they listened to them. I can’t get a single American I know in meatspace to say they like any death metal. The next most popular form of music that wasn’t pop? Jazz.

    Why yes, I do feel like moving to Poland after visiting the place for the past couple weeks. If only the country wasn’t so thoroughly dominated by the Catholic Church (96% say they’re Catholic)…

  56. 56
    vaiyt

    The only thing I have to say is – in a decade or two, people will look at Bieber’s entry and think he was a guy who couldn’t spell.

  57. 57
    Argle Bargle

    LykeX @50 (and others making similar comments):

    The big problem with pop music is that it often takes a decade or two before it becomes clear what was good and what was bad. The bad stuff is forgotten and the good stuff is still played. That’s also why it always looks like the music of the past was better and the artists of today just suck.

    Sturgeon’s Law: 90% of everything is crap.

    It just takes a while for the crap to get separated from the non-crap.

  58. 58
    SallyStrange

    I am increasingly impressed by Macklemore’s rhyming skills and by his values as well. And his musicality.

  59. 59
    Rip Steakface

    @58

    Damn right. We’re talking about a guy who values thriftiness, equal rights, and doesn’t toss out monosyllabic, by-the-numbers raps like other artists (*cough*modern Dre*cough*). That Same Love song has frickin’ trombone. I adore trombone. It’s wind ensemble’s counterpart to cello, another beautiful instrument. For reference, I’m a percussionist whose favorite wind ensemble instrument is marimba followed by snare.

  60. 60
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Sturgeon’s Law: 90% of everything is crap.

    I prefer Ellington’s Law: If it sounds good, it is good.

    Doesn’t mean I’ll listen to it, of course. If his music is still being played 20 or 30 years from now, I’ll accept that it’s good. Then again, I don’t listen to radio, so take that with a grain of NaCl. A large one.

    He seems to be in a star bubble, surrounded by yes-people, protected from reality, outside the rules the rest of us live with, and he probably believes what his pet propagandists tell him. Kind of like Kim Jong Unh (though with far less power (and far less likely to start a war)). Still seems to be a narcissistic asshole, but I can sort of understand why people like him become people like him.

  61. 61
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    This is why we need a tax bracket that takes 90% of all income above a certain amount.

  62. 62
    unclefrogy

    mr steakface
    you are probably right about “noise-punk” I was referring to the bands whose vocals are a distorted kind of “cookie monster” growl. I have no idea what they are saying.
    I am familiar with electronic music and know some very good musicians , groups who are doing that sort of thing though they tend to be highly influenced by Jazz and do a lot of improvising I also find ambient music interesting though Afro-pop is what will really get me excited so I am not very current with American pop musical tastes.

    uncle frogy

  63. 63
    unclefrogy

    mr steakface.
    if you really like trombone I might suggest looking up Rod Oakes
    trombone and electronics
    uncle frogy

  64. 64
    robro

    @Happiestsadist #34 — “…he’s already been caught enjoying herbal refreshments.” Well, caught on camera, but apparently not busted, as in cops. But don’t worry, he’s “growing and learning everyday” so I’m sure there’s nothing to worry about.

  65. 65
    robro

    @Steakface #55 — “I can’t get a single American I know in meatspace to say they like any death metal.” You haven’t met my son, then. The deathier the better. Reznor is light listening for him.

  66. 66
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Point: Trent Reznor does not (and has never) recorded metal, death or otherwise.

  67. 67
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    What bothers me the most about this isn’t the fact that Bieber is a self-obsessed asshole†, but the fact that he didn’t learn enough from the museum to realize that Anne Frank wasn’t known for her infinite love of popular music.

    I mean, why even fucking bother to go if you’re not going to learn something?

    †Whether it’s his doing or not is kind of moot.

  68. 68
    Steven Brown: Man of Mediocrity

    OT but thanks for putting me on to Macklemore. Never heard of him but I think I can add him to the very short list of hip-hop artists I can stand to listen to.
    In general I find even the talented ones tend to have far too many offensive messages in their lyrics.

  69. 69
    Rip Steakface

    @62

    Ah, the unfortunate part about the label “cookie monster” is how over-generalizing it is. Genres ranging from death metal to crust punk to even classic rock (Boris the Spider by The Who is commonly considered to contain one of the earliest examples of a death growl) have used harsh vocals (a more accurate, non-pejorative term).

    Two extremely different bands that both use extremely different harsh vocals:
    Opeth – Deliverance
    Suicide Silence – You Only Live Once

    The former is progressive death metal (my favorite kind). Varied riffs, nonstandard song structure, a great range of lyrical motifs and themes, influences from various forms of music… great stuff, once you come to terms with some of the stylistic choices (like harsh vocals).

    The latter is deathcore. In my opinion, this is the lowest, most awful, least representative form of metal/post-hardcore that exists. Pretty much revolves around tough-guy bullshit lyrics (“I’m gonna kill you cuz I’m so hardcore! Fuck you! Fuck you!”), boring riffs, tired song structure, and worst of all, breakdowns. These are when the music slows to a crawl and all you get is some slow beat with occasional guitar bashes. Sucks the energy out of a song in milliseconds. I apologize if you listened to more than five seconds of that song, because I find it repulsive.

    The former has two vocal styles: clean baritone vocals (the singer is pretty multitalented, he’s playing guitar at the same time too), and an old-fashioned (style dates from the late 80s) death growl. He just happens to be one of the best growlers in the business, capable of sounding like a demon summoned into this world from the realms of the madgods. In case you can’t tell, I really like Opeth, even if the songs can get a bit overly pretentiously long.

    The latter is mostly post-hardcore screams and roars. More than anything, they just make me think they’re trying to be Machine Head crossed with Slipknot (another awful band) and failing, and it bugs the hell out of me.

    The latter is what’s more popular in the US, while there’s great variation in what is popular outside the US for any sort of metal (from high-minded, over-the-top, rather cheesy German power metal to old school heavy metal in the Accept tradition from Sweden).

  70. 70
    The Vicar (via Freethoughtblogs)

    Sturgeon’s Law: 90% of everything is crap.

    Wheeler’s Addendum to Sturgeon’s Law: Except crap. 100% of crap is crap.

  71. 71
    Marcus Ranum

    Do we see anything liked by adolescent boys get so much hatred?

    Masturbation?

    Casting my memory back to the distant days when I was an adolescent boy, that seemed to be #1 thing in my world. But only because Skyrim wasn’t invented yet.

  72. 72
    yubal

    Anne Frank was not “a great girl”. She was a normal girl with normal wishes who happen to live I fucked up times. I am sorry for her rhathat she was not allowed to grow up and live her life as so many other innocent people in her time and ours. And the times before and after. The “great” thing about Anne Frank is that we have her dairy preserved. A good read although I still wonder if she wanted others to read it. The awful thing about this guy is that he could not even have one short break from being full of himself and think a little about others.

  73. 73
    yubal

    I do not like the autocorrect function of my tabloid.

  74. 74
    Marcus Ranum

    Also, I kept saying “in the United States” because it appears the situation is much different in other countries. In Poland, where I was from the beginning of the month til Friday, it appeared that heavy metal is incredibly popular.

    I hear Rammstein and Apocalptica and Laibach all totally bomb outside the US. Except for when they play to packed stadia. Well, not Laibach.

    It’s interesting to me because categorizing music seems as pointless as categorizing wine. Conoisseurs sit around talking about the “lingering fruity palate” or “monster bass riffage” or whatever but they may as well be saying “na na na nananananananana” as far as I can tell. As my favorite wine expert once said, “my favorite is: whatever is in front of me.” If you don’t like the music, just leave. Social darwinism (applied to music) will do the rest.

  75. 75
    LykeX

    @yubal
    Well, preserved dairy is nothing to be scoffed at; it’s very nutritious.

  76. 76
    Marcus Ranum

    PS – RED FANG

  77. 77
    chigau (違う)

    If doG did not want tpyos, xe would not have created words like diary/dairy or psychics/physics.

  78. 78
    Rip Steakface

    @74

    I just find it entertaining, so I do it. That’s the reason I imagine most do it.

  79. 79
    unclefrogy

    if you like growlers give a listen to
    malatheny and the mahatella queens

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sJKEos_qhA
    I will go now and maybe dance a little
    uncle frogy

  80. 80
    yubal

    I agree. But he undeniably created the internet snd smartphones. So what are we going to do about it ??

  81. 81
    erikthebassist

    The cure for Bieberism.

    Henrik Linder is the one true God of Bassism, which a radical religion that proposes that bass players are people too.

  82. 82
    chigau (違う)

    yubal
    I don’t think there is much we can do.
    Use only words with less than 10% overlap with other words?
    Not listening to Bieber?
    [I know that has nothing to do with typos but Bieber is the topic and not listening to him is a good thing.]

  83. 83
    No One

    69
    Rip Steakface

    I’m white and wrinkly, oddly I liked Suicide Silence. I call that style “frustrated orchestral opera”.

  84. 84
    ekwhite

    uncle frogy@79

    I love Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens. I was going to respond with a little Miriam Makeba, but I couldn’t embed the YouTube link…

  85. 85
    brive1987

    I’ve actually spent time thinking about this a bit more and applied the principle of charity.

    Nope. It still doesn’t work.

    Even the most charitable interpretation paraphrases to “She is so cool, I hope she would have been a teen fan of mine”. How hard would it have been to say “leaving this house I feel 1 inch tall. I wish I could have met her, at least she leaves a legacy which will last forever, vale Anne.”

    Justin Bieber – first step on the moon:
    “… one giant leap for mankind – you better Belieber it”

  86. 86
    microraptor

    Invasive marketing and obsessive media attention” != “scorn and contempt.”

    No, and I was unclear in my original post. What I’d meant to say was that having all that media hype was provoking the scorn and contempt, either via the “it’s popular so I’m going to hate it” method or because of irritation due to seeing/hearing it everywhere.

    Not trying to justify it (except maybe in the case of Twilight), just figure out the cause of it.

  87. 87
    yubal

    Chigau

    We can raise children to the best of our knowledge and hope this will make their llife experience better.

  88. 88
    yubal

    …and thereby change the future

  89. 89
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    “Belieber”, Jesus fucking wept. What an arse that kid is.

  90. 90
    noastronomer

    Bieber is certainly a narcissist, an arse, an awful singer, a complete fake and appparently a complete moron.

    But at least he went to the museum. Perhaps he learned something.

    Mike.

  91. 91
    nich

    I’m an eighteen year old teenager

    And I’m a 27 year old in my 20s. ;)

    if you like growlers give a listen to malatheny and the mahatella queens

    My favorite growler is a nice IPA…

  92. 92
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @nich

    I’m going to take a shot in the dark and assume Growler is a small brewery somewhere? I’ve never heard of it.

  93. 93
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @Ms. Daisy Cutter

    I’m totally with you on Epicure’s ridiculous ageism, but not quite on this:

    One can criticize Presley for having appropriated African-American music and capitalized on it,

    Rock n’ Roll grew out of Blues, which was “Black” music, but I see no reason why a White musician can’t enjoy it and allow it to influence their style. I dislike this whole notion of “White” music and “Black” music. Music brings people together, and that attitude only serves to undermine that quality. It’s the same argument that says White people can’t like or perform hip-hop, because hip-hop is “Black” music; or that Black people can’t like or perform classical music because that’s “White” music (yes, I’ve heard both these arguments). It’s an argument I dislike intensely, and one often levelled at Presley; and I think it does no more than enforce racial stereotypes and cause divisiveness.

    I’m not even an Elvis fan.

    I’m not having a go at you, just a general rant.

  94. 94
    nich

    No. A growler is a type of refillable beer bottle of about a half-gallon capacity sold by small breweries. Sort of similar to how one can purchase a giant mug emblazoned with Dale Jr.’s head at the local convenience store and fill it with soda pop, but instead of a bucket of carbonated corn syrup, one fills a growler with delicious beer fresh from your favorite brewery.

  95. 95
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    Ooooooh…. I’ve always just called them “bottles” :) No one ever objected. I’ll totally start using the proper term now, though. Thanks for the info :)

  96. 96
    erikthebassist

    thumper1990

    I agree with you in principle that music is at it’s best when it crosses cultural boundaries, and even argued for such in the Brad Paisley thread, but you’re missing a key point about Elvis and his place in rock and roll history with respect to western pop music’s racist roots.

    While I don’t think it was his intent, Elvis essentially stole his entire style from black artists who were never acknowledged for that influence. By putting a white face on it, record labels were able to sell black music to a mass audience, which reflected the racism of the time.

    If a black person performed it, it wallowed in obscurity*, but when a white man appropriated the very same music it all of a sudden became palatable to the much greater purchasing power of white Americans and sold millions of records.

    IOW, If America hadn’t been so racist at the time, you may have never even heard of Elvis as nothing he was doing was in any way new or original.

    *except in black communities, where they were buying up records by black artists like they were worth their weight in gold. There just wasn’t much purchasing power there.

  97. 97
    chigau (違う)

    There was a lot more than Elvis going on at that time.

  98. 98
    David Marjanović

    until she prayed about it. I guess God reminded her how much more money the Bieb could make as a mainstream pop artist than as a kid singing songs for those annoying Christian radio channels.

    Day saved.

    I know you are just trying to make a cynical joke. But Anne Frank was barbarously murdered in Bergen-Belsen. You say that is better than suffering Justin Bieber? Please get some perspective.

    Seconded.

    I’m ever more grateful that when I was an adolescent there was no such thing as a “teenager”. No pressure to conform to a fashion

    LOL, when was that? The 850s in central Europe?

    Seriously.

    FWIW there’s a popular belief (maybe true) that during a Roman Triumph a slave had the job of standing next to the honored General in the chariot to whisper in his ear, over and over: “glory is fleeting.”

    No, “remember that you’re human”. And somewhere in the triumph his soldiers sang mocking songs about him.

    “If your dream is for fame and fortune – try fortune first and see if that doesn’t do it for you.”

    Heh. So true.

    but the music itself is damned good.

    …Would people please stop making that kind of universal statement?

    Or do you really mean something by “good” that isn’t personal taste? If so, please tell me.

    No fucking shit. Do we see anything liked by adolescent boys get so much hatred?

    BZZZT! Apples and oranges.

    See, boys aren’t allowed to swoon like girls, because that would make them like girls. Heaven forfend. Boys are only allowed to like singers – female ones – for their body shapes and how well visible those shapes are on stage. Fine, they can like aggressive-sounding stuff like Rammstein, but they’re not allowed to… to… to fangirl.

    Why yes, I do feel like moving to Poland after visiting the place for the past couple weeks. If only the country wasn’t so thoroughly dominated by the Catholic Church (96% say they’re Catholic)…

    Here’s how Poland works: 150 % of the old people and 50 % of the young people go to church.

    I exaggerate, but less than half of the students on a dig go to church on Sunday. Times a-changing and all that.

    Death metal and black metal seem to be fairly popular throughout western and central Europe at least.

    Wheeler’s Addendum to Sturgeon’s Law: Except crap. 100% of crap is crap.

    Thread won.

    Anne Frank was not “a great girl”. She was a normal girl with normal wishes who happen to live I fucked up times. I am sorry for her rhathat she was not allowed to grow up and live her life as so many other innocent people in her time and ours. And the times before and after. The “great” thing about Anne Frank is that we have her dairy preserved. A good read although I still wonder if she wanted others to read it. The awful thing about this guy is that he could not even have one short break from being full of himself and think a little about others.

    All seconded. (Except the extra rha.)

    Oh, wait:

    A good read although I still wonder if she wanted others to read it.

    Yep, she did. That’s why she kept two versions: one that recorded things like her exploration and detailed description of her genitals, and one that didn’t. …Both have been published in the meantime, though.

  99. 99
    kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith

    On the other hand, I’m kinda really grossed out by the “LOL stupid teenage girls! Liking stuff! Like music designed to be entertaining and danceable and stuff! SO DUMB.” I mean, we’re a culture where being liked by teenage girls is automatically seen as a bad thing, and that’s kind of really fucked up. I mean, Bieber is vile, but not because his music is popular among young girls.

    I think it’s got more to do with what he represents – an overnight made-up child star who owes his popularity amongst teenaged girls (and quite a lot of older women who see him as an idealized son or son-in-law) more to the fact that he’s a rather good-looking white boy than to his music.

    A bit like the poor 3 or 4-years-old Jordi some time ago whose idiotic songs would always play on the radio (I don’t know if Jordi played outside of France and Quebec, though).

    I confess I’ve always disliked the child-star phenomenon, as a child because I’d be compared to them by relatives who’d hold them as perfect examples to be emulated, as an adult because I don’t like what it does to most of them.

  100. 100
    ChasCPeterson

    Or do you really mean something by “good” that isn’t personal taste? If so, please tell me.

    some people’s personal tastes are informed by more knowledge and experience and arguloably ‘oibjective’ criteria than others’, but then even the criteria apoplied are a matter of personal taste (as well as knowledge and experience).
    Somebody might consider Elvis Presley’s Sun recordings to be “damn good music” because of the rockin’ beat, somebody else might appreciate the craft of songwriting (maybe amn interesting chord progression or subtle symmetry to the chorus), somebody else just likes the lyrics and the sing-along melody earworm, somebody else appreciates the recordings in their historical context in the genesis of rock music.

  101. 101
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @EriktheBassist

    I don’t think his music was a carbon copy, but it was hardly original, no. I’m aware of that criticism of him, and I think it’s valid. Similar accusatons have been made regarding the Rolling Stones’ success in the US, though they were at least more original than Elvis. I guess I’m just reluctant to assume it was a deliberate and cynical attempt on his part to appropriate culturally-Black musical practices without giving credit when I think it’s far more likely he just liked it and emulated it. I guess what I’m trying to say is that the fact that happened is a criticism of US society at the time, not of the musician himself.

  102. 102
    freemage

    The painful thing is, he was actually close to something resembling a profound truth–that A.F. was, at the heart, a normal girl. If she’d lived today, even money would, in fact, be on her being a ‘Belieber’, or, if not that, then a fan of some other teen heart-throb. Recognizing that fact, that essential element of her own humanity, does not diminish her story; rather, it universalizes it.

    The only reason her story differs from that of my niece (who was a Belieber, but is now more of a Taylor Swift devotee) is because hers was impinged upon by a monstrous society based on some of the most fucked-up ‘values’ ever to come out of humanity. Anne Frank SHOULD have had that normal life, and it was stolen from her.

    Note: I’m not saying the Bieb was being anything other than a narcissist; I’m saying that without his narcissism, he might’ve been able to see, and thus give platform to, something much more profound.

  103. 103
    carlie

    Note: I’m not saying the Bieb was being anything other than a narcissist; I’m saying that without his narcissism, he might’ve been able to see, and thus give platform to, something much more profound.

    That would have been pretty great – if he could have said “I wish she’d had the chance to have a normal life like the teens I meet every day, and hey, maybe she would even have been one of my fans! (jk), but she didn’t get that chance, and it’s awful but I’m glad that so many people have worked so hard to keep the memory of what happened to her alive as a symbol that we should never allow this to happen again”.

    But as a 19 year old pop star on a whirlwind tour jotting something down while he was probably thinking of the next night’s concert? Not so much what happened.

  104. 104
    microraptor

    If a black person performed it, it wallowed in obscurity*, but when a white man appropriated the very same music it all of a sudden became palatable to the much greater purchasing power of white Americans and sold millions of records.

    I think that Fats Domino, Little Richard, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, BB King, the Coasters, Dizzy Gillespie, and Louis Armstrong (just to name a few) might disagree with that assessment.

  105. 105
    microraptor

    Forgot to add:

    Music was one of the few places where there was any decent level of integration in the US prior to to the Civil Rights Movement.

  106. 106
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    Rip Steakface: I thrust devil horns in your general direction.

    Also, who the hell is Justin Bieber?

    o_O
        o_^
          o_O

  107. 107
    roro80

    So evidently I’m the only person in the world who saw that tweet, and the other things he said about his visit to the House, and thought he meant that he wished she could have just been a normal teenaged girl who can think about normal kid things like silly pop star obsessions, instead of having to deal with the ugly realities of adult hate and genocide.

    Certainly it was a totally stupid thing to say, and even if my reading was the actual intention, definitely the way it’s worded makes it seem otherwise.

  108. 108
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    I think that Fats Domino, Little Richard, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, BB King, the Coasters, Dizzy Gillespie, and Louis Armstrong (just to name a few) might disagree with that assessment.

    Louis, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Dizzy probably would have. And BB King for that matter too (Elvis anyone?).

    Pretty sure that none of the black led Big Bands of Duke, Louis and Count’s time were as popular as white band leaders like Benny Goodman, Woody Herman, Artie Shaw, Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller. Yes Duke and Louis and the Count were popular but these others took it to new levels because of the racial situation in the states at the time. Early swing and other forms of Jazz were considered race music and just reaching out to white audiences was tough. It happened, a lot, but they just couldn’t have the reach a white led band could. I’m in no way suggesting the white band leaders were better, just that this was the nature of race relations in the 30′s and 40′s when they were at their peak.

    Dizzy is sort of a different situation as he was part of the swing big band era but along with Parker basically invented BeBop (with a few others) which is the base to much of jazz that has come since. The timing on this coincided with greater acceptance of the mixed bands or all black bands that were forming during WWII.

  109. 109
    erikthebassist

    I think that Fats Domino, Little Richard, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, BB King, the Coasters, Dizzy Gillespie, and Louis Armstrong (just to name a few) might disagree with that assessment.

    Jazz was highly integrated, Blues was highly integrated. Every one you named with the exception of Little Richard are / were Jazz and Blues artists. “Wallowing in obscurity” might have been a bit hyperbolic, but Elvis probably outsold every one of these artists combined.

  110. 110
    qwerty

    I seem to recall from viewing both the movie and the play about Anne Frank that she had a few crushes on the movie stars of her era. In the context of this, his remark doesn’t seem that bad as it seems to recognize her humanity.

  111. 111
    edmundog

    To be fair, she may well have been. She loved pictures of movie stars and singers and the like, as most teen girls do. Maybe he was just ineptly trying to recognize that aspect of her personality. I mean, the kid’s pretty dumb, I’m sure he was trying his hardest.

  112. 112
    unclefrogy

    “wallowing in obscurity”
    Big Mama Thornton
    uncle frogy

  113. 113
    Rip Steakface

    @108

    Ellington’s band was the highest-paid group of its genre in the country back in the 40s. I don’t know about the most popular, but it certainly contained the musicians of the highest caliber – you can see this in the music Duke wrote for the band, with the way he gave solos to whatever part he felt like giving a solo. Duke: “Alright, for this song… fourth trombone, first trumpet and second alto will have solos.” Why? Because he knew they could do it.

    @106 Antiochus

    \m/ >_< \m/
    Returned.

  114. 114
    Rip Steakface

    Apologies, *bass trombone, not fourth. It’s not very common to see a bass bone part marked as fourth in my experience, and it’s likewise uncommon to see a five-member trombone section (also in my experience… perhaps older players can enlighten me). I like 5 saxes (2 tenor, 2 alto, 1 bari), four bones (1, 2, 3, bass), four trumpets (maybe five), and of course a good five-member rhythm section (piano, bass, drums, guitar, vibraphone and/or auxiliary percussion… add in whatever else).

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