Unless you are a twelve year old girl, your knowledge of things like Justin Bieber might be lacking. If so, don’t worry, I was just like you. A few weeks ago I was blissfully unaware of just how large the Justin Bieber fan following has become. Now it seems as though there is no turning back. I have, with one innocent click of a mouse, become immersed in a world of boy crazy tweens. Worry not, I am not one of them. Quite the contrary, actually; I am shocked, awed and horrified by them and what they have done with technology.
This story starts where all good stories do; Facebook. Years ago, when I used to teach horseback riding lessons to kids, I got to be friends with many of my students and their parents. It only made sense to stay in contact with the people I had met once I moved on from that barn, and Facebook seemed like a great avenue to maintain that connection. I became friends with many of the parents of the children that I had taught. When the kids eventually got old enough to have a Facebook of their very own, I became friends with them too. This is where things started to get weird.
One of my former students, we’ll call her “Liz”, recently developed a seemingly insatiable addiction for Justin Bieber. I watched in confusion as my news feed began to fill with announcements of her love for this boy she had never met. She began liking pages such as “Justin Bieber is my life” and squealing in unbridled glee every time someone posted a picture of her idol. Things took a particular turn for the worse when she began calling herself a “Belieber”, the name Justin Bieber fans have apparently given themselves. I was curious (and a bit terrified) of what I may find if I went to one of the “Belieber” pages, but none the less I did. The “Justin Bieber is my life” page has over 17,000 likes, their goal is to reach 20,000 by New Years Eve. The posts ranged from text speak to pictures describing how much they loved or hated Justin’s current hair cut. That was only moderately horrifying. Little did I know, there was a fan fiction section.
Fan fiction, put simply, is a fan’s response or continuation to a given topic. Most people within the fan fiction community write about tv shows or books that they want to continue or expand upon. Now, apparently, the next generation has decided to write about real, living people. Needless to say, I found this strange. These teenage girls were writing alternate lives of a boy they had never, and probably will never, meet. With a feeling of not being able to look away from a train wreck, I delved into the Justin Bieber fan fiction community.
Hours later, after losing most of my hope for the next generation’s writing ability, I began to see a trend. Justin Bieber kept dying. I was perplexed – why in the world were these girls killing off their idol?
I decided to consult Google with a simple search: “Justing Bieber dead“. I got 202,000,000 results. They ranged from desperate Yahoo Answers questions about his death to a BuzzFeed article detailing the many deaths of Bieber and the possible reasons behind it.
As far as I have seen, no one knows why these girls are killing off their idols. Some speculate that it is a way to deal with adolescent troubles, some just blame it on the “haters”. Whatever the case, the Bieber fan fiction fatalities are on the rise. The fans keep coming in droves, and Bieber is very rich and very much alive. He seems unfazed by all of his recent deaths, and maybe we should be too.
It is safe to say the next generation has inherited the technology that we grew up with and is now beginning to use it they way they want. Technology has opened the door for them to live out even their strangest Bieber fantasies. They can be whoever they want and do whatever they want through the anonymity of the internet. Maybe “Beliebers” are the next evolutionary step in literature and the way we use the internet? I can’t really be sure, but as long as my generation is in charge, I still find the idol worship, the snuff fan fiction, and the endless social networking site pages simply un-belieb-able.