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Front page news... Justin Bieber (again)

Date

Xavier Toby

We're surrounded by Justin Bieber updates on a daily basis.

We're surrounded by Justin Bieber updates on a daily basis.

Justin Bieber told a racist joke five years ago. A video of this was recently made public, and it immediately went viral.

The story here is that a 15-year-old boy said a very poor taste joke. That young man is now five years older, and in contrast to the recent complete disdain he’s shown for the law, his fans and his neighbours, Bieber immediately and eloquently expressed his immense regret for reciting this joke.

“I’m very sorry,” Bieber said in a statement.

Why do we have an insatiable appetite for Justin Bieber?

Why do we have an insatiable appetite for Justin Bieber?

“I take all my friendships with people of all cultures very seriously and I apologise for offending or hurting anyone with my childish and inexcusable behaviour.”

Eddie McGuire could definitely learn a few things from Justin Bieber.

Both McGuire and Bieber could of course back up whatever claims they’ve made against racism by becoming anti-racism campaigners themselves. Without any such action, it all feels a lot like they’re just saying sorry, without acting or being sorry.

Regardless, it’s extremely disappointing that  a star, admired by millions, said something so racist. I’m talking about Bieber here, certainly not McGuire.

What’s even more disappointing, however, is that so many people care so very much.

In other news, there were far more interesting things happening at every level of society.

Bieber’s a super, mega, whatever-star, with more twitter followers than grains of sand I’ve ever removed from my board shorts, who likely spends more on hair products in a day than I’ve earned in my entire life. Which wouldn’t be difficult.

So I understand why this was all worth mentioning. What I don’t get is why all Biber news is worth mentioning so often, and at such length.

News programmes spent almost the entire morning on it, newspaper front pages were dedicated to it, and a procession of apparent experts proceeded to analyse this issue from more angles than there are words in the original very poor taste joke.

A joke which was then made widely available by many of the news sources reporting on this story. Which nobody questioned at all.

The newsmakers know there is an audience for anything Bieber. So in the absence of any real news, they create it. A stream of opinions, speculation, graphics, replays, banter and then it’s time for an ad break and we’re all still watching because of the promise of some actual information that never arrives. All filling Bieber eager airspace with what effectively amounts to nothing.

One source told a UK paper: “This video is Justin Bieber's worst nightmare. Even after the year he’s had - when he’s never been far from controversy, this tops the lot.”

The ‘source’ could be anyone. It’s without context, evidence and meaning. So it is meaningless.

At this point the entire news machine has begun to devour itself, and it’s happened countless times before.

Recent examples include the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight, Rolf Harris and in my opinion anything to do with sport.

So the audience decides what is news, and if there’s no development on the subjects that interst us most.... well it just doesn't matter. 

Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian and is performing in Melbourne at The Butterfly Club in June 

His debut non-fiction book, ‘Mining My Own Business’ is available now.

Xavier

1 comment so far

  • Its because its a black joke. If it was an Irish, Asian, Englishman joke no-one would care, but any insult to black people is a hanging offense. Jeremy Clarkson is in the same boat. Has insulted almost every race on earth for years, but one offensive black joke and everyone wants his head.

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    Date and time
    June 04, 2014, 8:23PM

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