Yesterday Vinay Menon had his say in the Toronto Star about Justin Bieber:
“Justin Bieber and I once had an agreement: He would sing and I would ignore him. He was free to record, perform and occupy a special place in the hearts of a billion young girls. I was free to snicker and turn a jaundiced ear away from his contributions to Western culture. But when Bieber became an adult last year — and regressed into an enfant terrible — our agreement was shattered like a teacup under an elephant.”
I’ve been doing a lot of reading about the Early Modern Period lately (and for you dummies out there, that’s what terribly smart people are calling the Renaissance these days) and one thing that differentiates the Early Modern period from ours is the notion that boys are another species. Not merely different from men, but another species. During the Renaissance, boys were thought of as closer to women then they were to men; they were not so much young men as another gender. There were three categories of people: men, women, and boys. Boys and women were alike because they didn’t have beards. That means they were dismissable, and well, frankly, screwable. Yes, if you were a boy you could get away with pretty well anything, including being the passive partner in sexual intercourse and wearing dresses in plays by William Shakespeare.
How much things change, and how much they stay the same.
Of course today we don’t think of boys as screwable and we certainly don’t they they should be allowed to wear dresses, but we certainly do think that between men and boys there is a great divide.
And we get very uptight when boys pretend to be men, especially when we know that they are really boys and should be dismissed.
The general reaction to Justin Bieber’s sudden ascent into manhood proves we share more with our Renaissance predecessors than we might care to admit.
Here’s the truth about Justin Bieber, according to moi.
He can sing.
And he’s probably gay, and/or ‘not sexually normal in some bizarre and hopefully wonderful way.’ I say this because he
a) bought a monkey like Michael Jackson did
a) bought a monkey like Michael Jackson did
b) dresses up like an angel and flies in the air like Liberace
c) comes from a fundamentalist Christian background
d) became famous way too early.
e) is just too cute for his own good
Now if Justin Bieber is gay and/or ‘not sexually normal in some bizarre and hopefully wonderful way’ then this new strategy (probably invented by his fundamentalist stage mother to further his career) where he
a) is very rude to people
b) pisses in buckets
c) takes his shirt off all the time
is a very good idea. As we all know real men are rude to people, and piss in buckets, and take their shirts off constantly to show off their fab abs.
Okay, so I don’t really know anything about Justin Bieber. But gay or straight, kinky or not, too many girls are in love with Justin Bieber and he is too pretty and likes to dress up too much – and therefore, he cannot never be a ‘normal’ adult male guy and will always remain forever -- to guys like Vinay Menon -- an annoying boy trying to pretend he’s a man.
The reason all this interests me is that most sexist homophobes think all homosexuals are Justin Bieber at heart: they think we are Peter Pani-sh, narcissistic boys who never grew up, and that we are not capable of breeding or defending the homeland with a loaded gun. These days, loads of gay men are putting on bow ties, wearing masculine looking Italian glasses (whether they are actually nearsighted or not), growing beards, and adopting children, all in an attempt be accepted as normal.
It won’t work of course. Because ideas about what is a real man and what is a real boy don’t just disappear (cuz we’ve been nursing these fictions since the Renaissance.)
So when straight men like Vinay Menon get annoyed with Justin Bieber I just have to laugh. Menon is pissed off because Bieber’s doing something that most gay men will never succeed in doing – fooling the straight establishment into thinking he’s normal. And whether he is or he’s not (normal), the point is he’s not a typical ‘regular guy’ and never will be. So it tickles my funny bone to see Justin Bieber – like Michael Jackson, Liberace, Noel Coward and all those other wily imposters before him – get the big money and the mega-influence in an uptight, straight, sexist world.
More power to you, Master Biebster. Keep taking off your shirt! (I especially like that terribly important aspect of your petulant young rebelliousness!)
Cuz hey, a crazy old pervert like me likes nothing better than a good trick.