Maybe I’m mellowing with age or maybe I don’t find the sport in shooting fish in a barrel, but I find that I’m more disgusted by the behaviour of the mockers than the mockees. Interestingly, it’s a video about some people’s complete lack of perspective that’s solidified my perspective – and it proves that in some people’s desperation to appear hip, they’re oblivious to their own hypocrisy.
This YouTube video of a bunch of Mexican girls going into histrionics over the fact that a Justin Bieber concert sold out has already started making the rounds. And, without fail, the critics came out with all guns blazing.
Of course, this video has everything that a supercilious hipster wannabe could ask for: Justin Bieber, kids embarrassing themselves in public, Justin Bieber, a Spanish audio track (because everything sounds more ironic in Spanish), and Justin Bieber. You see, you can’t be a hipster’s definition of cool if you like Bieber. And your cool factor only increases with the intensity of your hatred of the Canadian superstar – so out come the knives.
Unfortunately, instead of offering incisive – or even clever — commentary, those knives are as dull as the tired, retread comments they carved out.
There’s the “let’s kill Justin” lines, the “this is pathetic” statements, the “Bieber is the sign of the apocalypse/downfall of the world/tipping point for humanity” comments, and then – of course – my favourite: the pretentious “these kids need to think about what’s going on in [insert depressed country here.]”
Yes, mocking one bit of warped perspective with an equally egregious one always works. One blogger, in fact, suggested that these kids need to go to Somalia to see real suffering, while another comment started, “meanwhile, over in Africa.” And I’d say that level of pretension is worse than anything the video’s convulsing-in-tears girls did.
How offensive is it to sit in judgement of these kids by throwing genocides and tragedies in their face? Especially to do so from a pulpit of iPads, laptops, Blackberries, and other “toys”? When you’re ready to sell all your creature comforts and live an austere life so that you can donate all your disposable income to charity, then you can fire that particular volley. Until then, you’re a hypocrite.
I think we can all admit that the Mexican girls have perspective issues. But haven’t we always at that age? The pre-teen to teenage years aren’t exactly known for their firm grasp on perspective. Everything’s the end of the world. You’ll never find love like that six-week boyfriend or girlfriend; you know more than the combined intellect of the now-dinosaur-esque adult population; nothing that came before can compare to what you’re living now.
And, of course, the music you’re listening to now is far superior to anything that came before.
Of course, not all teens are like this, but the vast majority are – and always have been. The best part about getting older is that we learn what we don’t know. We realize the value of our history and our predecessors, and we learn to appreciate things that came before us. We stop seeing the world in blacks and whites, tempering our opinions, our passions, and our beliefs with shades of grey.
While we may not believe in things with the same fierce passion, our beliefs, loves, and understanding is so much richer and more fulfilling due to its depth. We learn it’s not just enough to believe, but to understand why we believe in something and to appreciate its ability to stand up to criticism.
These kids aren’t at that point. It’s not that they simply refuse to believe that Bieber isn’t the greatest singer ever; they emotionally can’t even entertain that thought. There’s not enough of a frame of reference to make that type of determination – not enough life experience and not enough exposure to other styles to even put a dent in their passion.
But likely these hipster pundits went through the same phase. Today’s Bieber is just yesterday’s Jonas Brother. And he’s no different than previous generation’s N’Sync, Backstreet Boys, New Kids, New Edition, Menudo, Jackson 5, Osmonds, and – yes – even the early Beatles.
So while the hipster will reflect upon their youth with reverence, posting images and comments in the appropriately ironic fashion (I point to the proliferation of crappy Saved by the Bell memes on the Internet as exhibit A), they refuse to allow today’s youth the right to have their own idols.
Hipsters on one side, thug-lite wannabes on the other (who held similar devotion for acts like Metallica, Jay-Z, and other appearing-edgy-but-still-corporately-secure talent), all taking shots at an easy target. And all shooting themselves in the foot in the process, but not self-aware enough to see their own hypocritical behaviour.
The kids in the video were just pre-teens and teens acting their age. They’ll grow up, they’ll mature, and they’ll gain the perspective that comes with the passage of time. It’s too bad that many of those mocking them didn’t do the same.
You can forgive the kids for being kids. The adults who are so damning in their criticism? They should know better.