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Justin Bieber: Based on a real boy

His swooshy hair, his viral videos, the indelible mark he's left on your daughter



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"I wanted to build him up more on YouTube first. We supplied more content. I said: 'Justin, sing like there's no one in the room. But let's not use expensive cameras.' We'll give it to kids, let them do the work, so that they feel like it's theirs." — Scooter Braun, New York Times

But it's not. The content, that is. It's not theirs. And since it's not theirs, it's not actually Bieber who they love. They love the Justin Bieber tweets, the Justin Bieber videos, the Justin Bieber dolls, the Justin Bieber hats, the Justin Bieber Christmas ornaments, because they don't actually know Justin Bieber at all. They know preapproved 140-character press releases. They know lo-fi produced videos, edited by adults. This idea that they are responsible for Justin Bieber, that they have played a real part in his creation and who he's become, is nonsense.

5. ability, talent, transformation

It should be noted (somewhere?), that children are not allowed to be paid to work (pesky un-cryogenically frozen moral compass) — unless it is to entertain.

The holiest and noblest of all professions, right? Just think about how many awards God has helped win for entertainers, young and old.

As adults, we patently refuse to consider a world without child entertainers, actors, singers. Who will sell cereal? Who will play the babies in television hospital dramas? Who will fill the pages of Tiger Beat every month? And, if you happen to be a parent of one such star, who else could possibly pay my bills now that I'm a dependent of my dependent? For example:

"Everyone's like, 'Wow, why is she upset, and why is she so miserable about things?' My parents signed me up with Ford [Modeling] at the age of 2. No 2-year-old wants to be working, but I had no choice." — Taylor Momsen (16),

Bieber's ascent began in earnest with a carefully orchestrated bidding war between pop superstars Usher and Justin Timberlake, both experienced teen heartthrobs. Upon signing Bieber to their quickly formed joint venture RBMG, Usher and Braun sealed a deal with Island Def Jam CEO L.A. Reid. Then came the co-signs from hip-hop proxies: Wyclef Jean, comedian Nick Cannon, even a doting Diddy — all shot with handhelds — instantly lending the kid the kind of cultural cachet a young Elvis would have killed for. Meanwhile, a loosely constructed Atlanta power team coalesced around him, including vocal coach to the stars Jan Smith, local 95.5 the Beat radio personality-turned-Bieber-bodyguard Kenny Hamilton, "swagger coach"/stylist Ryan Good, and such producers and songwriters as The-Dream and Tricky Stewart, also responsible for penning urban/pop hits for the likes of Mary J. Blige, Rihanna and Beyoncé.

The native Canadian's affinity for all things urban American has become even more pronounced with professional styling: the skinny jeans, the swooshy hair, the Supra Vaider hi-tops in black croc and suede — all combined with what Tina Fey described on "Saturday Night Live" as a smile that's "like watching a baby bunny sniff a tiny flower." The result: an innocent, sexless appeal to match his high-pitched trill. Kid Tested, Mother Approved™.

When Bieber opens his mouth, the most inspiring things spill out. Consider his message to a fan who dared to unfollow him on Twitter due to Bieber's lack of response: "I just write them a simple message like, 'Never give up,' you know? And it changes their life." Then there's his new-millennium wigger appropriation of Southern hip-hop lingo heard in his pronunciation of the word "shawty." He can even do the Dougie.

In 21 months (the gestation period of an elephant), Bieber went from strumming three chords and singing someone else's pop songs in his bedroom to selling a million copies of his coming-of-age EP My World, full of prepubescent dance-pop and R&B-tinged, purity ring love songs. Judging from the 70-plus concerts he's played to crowds as massive as 70,000 at a sold-out Wembley Stadium, not to mention the mayhem his public appearances cause, Bieber's audience is comprised of young girls who LOVE Justin Bieber. Of course, they are children who don't know their love is the product of a multitiered marketing campaign reinforced by their own 24/7 obsession with social media.

When there emerged the seemingly meaningless Bieber acronym "Believe In Everything Because Everything is Reachable," the all-consuming power of Bieber reached a crescendo. It might sound silly, but for Bieber's fans "everything" actually is reachable; Twitter and YouTube have made Bieber more accessible than any tween heartthrob in human history.

Any love of Bieber is also an unwitting love of his team of agents, managers, coaches, stylists and record label executives — but it's mostly a love of the shared experience of idol worship, the ability for fans to instantaneously bond over their collective Bieber fetishism. One of the latest markings of that communal obsession: Choose-your-own-adventure erotic Bieber stories spamming the Twitter accounts of relatively innocent Beliebers everywhere. Gift him your virginity on the sands of a moonlit Hawaiian beach or hold out for naughty hospital sex; the choices are infinite.

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