An old story goes that, back in college, I got out of sorts one afternoon while watching MTV and had an emotional 'freak out.' Without willing it, I drifted across the street to the multi-cultural student union building for a smoothie, into which I gently wept over my despair at feeling out of touch with pop culture. The exact stimulus, I believe, was N*Sync, or something like them, on a stage in Cancun amid a throng of thong-clad beauties and their bouncing parts and here was my sudden and overwhelming lack of comprehension. Looking back it was probably just plain old jealousy. My spring break trip to Key West hadn't been so fruitful.
Since then, I've largely reconciled my connection with pop culture. I think in the maturation of (still) pending adulthood, which entailed the erosion of the dream of setting the curvature of cool myself, my efforts to be so have softened to the point that I'm really taking most things less seriously and not expecting much beyond face value. As a result, I've come to celebrate Justin Timberlake's entire solo catalog and I'm not afraid to admit it.
There's no shame in owning up to something that makes you feel good. So another thing I'm going to surrender henceforward is my effort to log and hold people accountable for instances of hypocrisy. We're all guilty of it and pointing it out (usually) as a means to justify something bad you want to get away with is not a constructive exercise. The better thing to do is expect it, since it's human, and get on to the constructive path of forgiving. It's what Jesus would have wanted.
So with my new enlightened attitude, I'm marveling at this new wunderkind, Justin Beiber, who's suddenly up there dancing and singing from the wisdom of his 16 year old perch about love and its travails. He may be an old soul, but the 20 year old me would have rejected this on grounds of dubious voracity. What does a doe-eyed, pre-pubescent Canadian queerbait have to tell me about love?
Then, what would I have to gain by keeping the Beiber at arms-length? That's what the older me has realized and so I'm embracing Beiberama and starting to plumb its pop-cultural richness for seams to lace into my own life.
Adidas Equations, to be precise -- loosely inspired by a sweet pair of purple kind that Bieber sports and they're driving my wife crazy. Only, not with the teenage fan-girl lust like I'd hopefully envisioned. It's more like crazy with fatigue at my antics, or something such that effects more weariness and ridicule than horniness and adoration.
Still I occasionally insist on these shoes, most recently on the ferry to Nantucket, because my point is this: Bieber doesn't act his age. Why should I?