Love him or hate him?
Justin Bieber is clearly today's top teen idol. So why are some kids plotting to ruin his concert in Tel Aviv this Thursday?
For kids, Justin Bieber is a bit like matza. Some wait all year to smear chocolate spread on a piece of the unleavened Passover bread, while the rest would rather toss an egg on it and fry it up til it loses its shape and flavor.
Bieber, 17, is today's top teen idol. And yet a poll conducted earlier this month on the kid's portal Tipo (in Hebrew ) found that 68 percent of surfers despise him. The rest apparently spent their entire year's allowance on tickets for the Canadian phenomenon's sole concert in Israel - this Thursday at Tel Aviv's Ganei Yehoshua. With prices ranging between NIS 240 and NIS 495, surprising many parents, ticket sales have indeed been sluggish.
Until now, young Bieber fans got their fix via YouTube, where they can watch clips of him from every possible angle, or followed him on Twitter. On Facebook, many teenage fans tag themselves in photos where they've pasted themselves next to him, add his last name to theirs, and wage heated campaigns against those who can't stand him.
Hundreds of Facebook groups and anti-Bieber pages have been created: "Israel's big fight, Justin Bieber versus a garbage can!" (22,345 likes ); "Take Justin Bieber and bring back Gilad Shalit" (2,832 likes ); "Can this schnitzel earn more fans than Justin Bieber?" (40,972 likes ).
What is most noticeable about the names of these pages is that, apart from the schnitzel and the garbage can, Bieber does not appear to have any rivals. In the past, competing fan groups in the pop music world might have battled each other, but this Bieber monopoly has made the situation into Bieber against the world.Bringing back lost souls
Many girls have put up stickers saying "Justin Bieber fans keep out" on their bedroom doors. Over the past few days there's even been talk on anti-Bieber Facebook pages about sneaking into the concert and disrupting it. One girl suggested showing up with balloons filled with flour and tossing them on stage; others are plotting to fill the balloons with nails and screws.
Genuine fans of the teen star also enter the anti-Bieber sites, at first to try and retrieve lost souls and later on to fight back. Anyone fed up with reading about the pop singer online can install the "Shaved Bieber" application, which censors any mention of the words "Justin," "Bieber," and "Baby, Baby, Baby, Ohh," (from his hit song, "Baby" ). The developer of the application, Greg Leuch, later received death threats from teenage American girls who compared him to Hitler.
Only one girl asked the big question on the main anti-Bieber Facebook page: "Maybe I'm too blind, maybe I'm 'too under the influence' or maybe I just don't get it. But why does everyone hate him?"
One boy explained: "Because of what he does to most of the girls in the country. He makes them think he loves them, but the truth is that he just wants money. We're just trying to protect them from his and his entire family's lust for money."
Another young surfer noted: "Bieber negatively influences a lot of people. He doesn't really create music; people write all of it for him; commercialized music is terrible. Besides, because of him there are now girls who won't go near someone who doesn't have hair like Justin Bieber. This affects a lot of boys, because they have to grow hair like that for a Bieber girl to be willing to approach them."