Forget being bigger than Jesus, Justin Bieber is now officially bigger than Twitter. Admittedly, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, not to mention almost as sacrilegious in these Tweet-fixated times as John Lennon declaring himself bigger than the world’s most famous hippie.
But if it’s an exaggeration, it’s not by much. If you’re one of those people who can’t trundle off to the crapper without taking your iPhone with you for a second-by-second update of the proceedings, you might have noticed something late last week. Suddenly, Stratford, Ontario’s number one celebrity—sorry, James Westman—was nowhere to be found on Twitter’s list of trending topics.
A betting person would suggest that a wise man suddenly realized that, as in olden days, a plague was about to be unleashed. And, as sure as Marilyn Manson made a deal with the devil to get back into Evan Rachel Wood’s pants, there’s a good reason to concur.
But first to the Bieber Twitter hubbub. Apparently the site did a news algorithm update, leading to this announcement: “The new algorithm identifies topics that are immediately popular, rather than topics that have been popular for a while or on a daily basis, to help people discover the ”˜most breaking’ news stories from across the world.”
To that we call bullshit. What obviously happened was that someone at Twitter headquarters came to the conclusion that Satan is again amidst us. Except that this time, he’s a fresh-scrubbed 16-year-old from the most evil place on earth, namely Toronto. Well, not exactly Toronto, but close enough for West Coasters, whose Canada ends at the Rocky Mountains.
Why is Bieber evil incarnate, you might ask? That’s easily explained. For those too young to remember a time that predates that fucking blowhard Al Gore inventing the Internet, the world has seen the thing currently known as Justin Bieber before. Except—just like the thing that crawled up inside Linda Blair in The Exorcist—he’s taken different shapes in the past.
In the ’80s, he was known as New Kids on the Block, which begat the squeaky-clean, sanitized-for-mass-consumption likes of Tiffany and Debbie Gibson. It took a tortured heroin addict from Seattle to finally drive a stake through the beast in the early ’90s, but he didn’t lie dormant for long.
By 1996, he had risen again, this time known as the Backstreet Boys, which begat the squeaky-clean, sanitized-for-mass-consumption likes of Britney Spears, *NSYNC, and Christina Aguilera (the latter at least having the good taste to eventually morph into a filthy whore). It would take a pasty brother-and-sister duo from Detroit to finally drive a stake through the beast in the early ’00s, but he didn’t lie dormant for long.
He’s risen again, and this time his name is Justin Bieber. And, as sure as Britney Spears couldn’t sing her way out of a shower stall at the Cecil, he’s going to spark a pop-music palace coup. He’s already powerful enough that he’ll get on a plane to Australia then get off announcing that he’s become new best friends with Slash during the flight.
But what’s really scary is the darkness he’s about to unleash. At a time when nothing is selling, our little Beelzebub has managed to go platinum. Label heads and radio programmers may be fucking morons, but they ain’t stupid. Now that they’ve seen there’s money to be made once again by going the hyper-processed, boy-/girl-band route, watch for the hell to start anew.
And if you aren’t sure what hell is, ask your grandparents what it was like being unable to escape “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” in ’98. At least Twitter has taken steps—however feeble—to stop the plague. Of course, Satan’s minions simply mounted a fresh and successful assault on Twitter by changing their Tweets from Bieber to Twieber, thus reassuming control of the trending topics list, but no one can say the effort wasn’t there.
Still, Father Merrin, where are you? God knows your services are required again.