Why We Hate Teen Idols, But Especially Justin Bieber

Baseball, Child Stars, Music, Teen idols


So, if you stick around after Saturday’s minor-league baseball game between the Augusta GreenJackets and South Carolina’s own Charleston RiverDogs, you’ll be treated to the on-field destruction of Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus merchandise. In fact, if you pitch in Bieber and Cyrus merchandise for the post-game bonfire, you’ll receive $1 ticket vouchers by your RiverDogs hosts.

The event is called Disco Demolition 2: You Better Belieb It, and it’s the unofficial sequel to the Chicago White Sox’s infamous Disco Demolition Night-cum-riot of 1979.

The White Sox promotion at Comiskey Park was ostensibly about America striking back at an oversaturated music form, and, for real, when Ethel Merman‘s making a dance track out of “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” things have gotten out of hand. But there might have been something bigger and deeper going on, too: Disco backlash, as embodied by Disco Demolition Night, has been interpreted as a particular kind of American striking back at the gay and black artists who popularized the music. The question now is: What to make of the Bieber and Cyrus backlash?

The RiverDogs say it’s about Bieber’s “numerous run-ins with the law,” Cyrus’ “controversial performances” and both artists’ music.

“Disco Demolition 2 is dedicated to the eradication of their dread musical disease,” Dave Echols, the team’s general manager, says on the team’s Website.

Not said, and maybe not even consciously understood is that it’s also dedicated to the proposition that we hate our teen idols.

Teen idols are heroes to tween and teen girls, and what do they know? Clearly, not as much as tween and teen boys who hero-worship, say, 19-year-old baseball phenoms or MMA fighters.

The bottom line: It’s not that we don’t respect Bieber (especially Bieber), although we don’t (and his recent inability to make no news other than bad news doesn’t help), it’s that we don’t respect his fan base.

Which sounds an awful like how the first Disco Demolition Night came to be.