Hey tween girls! Justin Bieber!
Now that we’ve got your attention, allow us to blow your mind: Is Justin Bieber real? We can’t prove that he is. Obviously, there’s an actual (Canadian!) person named Justin Bieber, who makes a living as a “musical artist.” We don’t dispute that. But beyond these basic facts, well, it’s just possible that Justin Bieber is the greatest hoax of the 21st century.
A quick recap of his “story,” shamelessly culled from Wikipedia:
Raised by a single mother in Ontario, Justin sings teaches himself to play “the piano, drums, guitar and trumpet.” By 2007, when he’s 13, Justin and his mom are putting videos of him performing popular songs on YouTube, “so that his family and friends that could not attend his performances would be able to view them.”
Via the magic of the Internet, a music exec sees Justin’s videos and flies Justin and Mom to Atlanta, where they meet Usher, who eventually beats out Justin Timberlake to sign Justin to his record label in late 2008.
By 2009, Justin has a hit record and thousands of screaming girls forcing him to cancel an appearance at a Long Island mall. It’s every young man’s dream!
Now, on the face of it, maybe all this doesn’t seem too implausible, until you listen to him “sing.”
Surprise! He sounds like a really, really over-produced version of a 15 year-old kid. Maybe a kid with an OK voice (that has yet to change), but still nothing that would make you think he was some kind of budding superstar, bursting with talent.
So how to explain it all? First, let’s be clear that it’s actually him singing. There are numerous videos to this effect that aren’t worth the trouble to fake, so he’s no Milli Vanilli. But it’s quite possible he’s Jesse Camp 2.0, or more accurately, 10.0.
Let’s apply Occam’s Razor to that wonderful story above, and assume that the simplest explanation is likely the correct one. Sure, all that stuff about a music exec seeing him on YouTube and whisking him away to stardom is probably technically accurate. But ask yourself if it’s more likely that Justin was plucked from obscurity (Canadian obscurity, no less!) and made into a teen idol due to his awesome talents, or for the simple reason that some music exec could?
Call it the Trading Places Theory, it’s at worst equally likely (and probably more likely) that someone in a record company office somewhere decided that it was too much trouble finding actual talented musicians, and since the public isn’t too picky about that kind of thing anyway, the ultimate expression of the current wasteland that is American culture would be to draft the first singing teenager they found on YouTube and make him a star simply because they could.
What’s extra twisted about this whole thing is if the Trading Places Theory proves true (and we’re confident it will), it would be a far greater work of art than any piece of music Justin Bieber could ever possibly produce. In Justin Bieber we may be witnessing one of the greatest works of performance art the world has ever seen, a work made all the more perplexingly brilliant by the fact that Justin, along millions of fans have no idea they’re a part of it.