JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

A Really Big Dork

While watching tonight’s Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, I was dismayed to watch the TNT cameras flash to Justin Bieber, sitting near courtside.

Why dismayed? Because whenever I see Bieber, I am reminded that millions of young Americans consider him to be the personification of cool. And, to me, Justin Bieber is a big fucking dork.

Yes, I just wrote that—Big. Fucking. Dork. Hell, just look at him. Really, take a second and look at the photograph above. A. He’s wearing sunglasses indoors—for absolutely no useful reason. B. His hat has never before been worn, and was—almost certainly—selected by a stylist or “swag coach” (he has one) for the occasion. C. He’s wearing an all-leather outfit. D. The Mr. T chains. E. Knockoff Nashville Predator logo tattoo. Perhaps worst of all, as Bieber sat and took in the action, his bodyguard stood behind him, blocking the views of people who paid—what?—$10,000 a ticket?

Hmm … this sounds petty. I don’t mean it as such. I’ve got no beef with the guys from One Direction, with Usher, with Selena Gomez or Drake or the “Call Me Maybe” chick or most any modern pop standout. But Bieber … Bieber symbolizes everything I loathe in today’s trendy culture. It’s all about being as unoriginal as possible; following trends; playing it safe and allowing others to tell you what to wear, what to eat, how to walk, how to talk. “Justin, everyone wears their pants down low, with a little underwear showing”—Justin wears his pants low, with a little underwear showing. Justin, you can’t watch a basketball game without a bodyguard—Justin has a bodyguard. Justin, you should wear a molded plastic bag—Justin wears a molded plastic bag.

Perhaps, if his music was even remotely interesting, I could let this pass.

But the guy sucks.