I watched a rather poor documentary today about the effects of using the internet. It was mostly stories of people getting in trouble for using social networks, like getting fired, or deported, or having strangers show up in their house, etc.
Anyhow, there was a bit about Justin Bieber’s girlfriend’s Facebook account getting hacked (which was actually just social engineered). None of that is interesting, but they did show a clip of throngs of young women and girls chanting, “Bieber”, and a bunch of them sent nasty messages to the person whose account was stolen.
The group of folks isn’t any different from those that one sees for other bands, like the Beatles or Elvis. But it struck me that people had done that for so long, and no one put a stop to it. Child exploitation.
Why else would they act that way? It isn’t a messiah, it is just one or a few people. And in particular, we either do not draw attention to groups of men shouting at women celebrities, or it doesn’t happen with the same frequency (neither would surprise me). I just don’t think an individual would whip into a hysteria on their own.
So that brings me to two conclusions: one, it is an entirely simulated experience, and publicity machines are put in place to encourage this behavior, or two, it is a natural phenomenon, and the supporting industries of celebrity are exploiting it for profit.
I can’t think of anything good that comes from fanaticism. It is an anti-pattern that hurts people in both short- and long-term ways, and runs against rational discourse and community engagement (though I would like to have that debated; are there stories of people bonding while in line to scream at someone they feel strongly about?).
I don’t know, maybe I am just tired. The age group is difficult for me to deal with, because my first reaction to stupid behavior is public mockery. But I try not to make fun of children, and I also don’t think anything I could say would be worst than reminding them of their actions in about a decade.