US teenage pop star Justin Bieber released a book on October 12. First Step 2 Forever: My Story is supposed to be his autobiography.
The notion that a 16-year-old has been through enough turmoil to merit an autobiography is bewildering, but then, I suppose only something his ghost-writer had to worry about.
The book comes on the heels of Bieber releasing his own line of nail polish. Yes, nail polish. At least the marketing team behind “The Bieb” knows the target audience.
Here we have it: the real reason that an act like Justin Bieber exists. Not because he can sing (he can) or because he can write songs (he can’t), but because his milquetoast palatability is perfectly cut for the realm of selling stuff.
He is commodity fetishism nakedly personified with a complete lack of discretion.
Bieber seems blissfully unaware of his role in the grand scheme: an arbiter of business, whose talent comes well after all factors of profitability have been considered. (I could be wrong; he may well be aware of his role — if so, we are all unfortunately bound to be hearing more from him.)
But then, there could be signs of hope too: Dana Moran’s RedEye blog at Chicagonow.com carried a humorous October 13 post comparing Bieber to Krusty the Klown.
A character on The Simpson’s, Krusty is a children’s show host meant to embody all of the most shameless aspects of the entertainment industry — most notably his propensity for slapping his likeness on any product that can possibly make him a few extra pennies.
It might be a bit mean to compare such a character to Bieber, but hey, if the shoe fits …
[Alexander Billet is a US socialist and music journalist. This is abridged from his blog, Rebel Frequencies.]