(Okay, that post title has almost nothing to do with what I’m about to say, but I’ve been wanting to use it for a while and I’m tired of saving it.)
I was on the subway the other day and some guys were doing a sort of dance/comedy act to various recent hits. At one point this supremely catchy song came on. “I kind of like this,” I thought to myself, grooving along to the music. “Who is this girl singing?”
Then I realized it was Justin Bieber. Whoops!
The song was his smash hit “Baby,” which I then went home and listened to all the way through. And, you know, I was pretty disappointed with myself. I mean, the lyrics alternate between moronic (“And I was like ‘Baby, baby, baby, oh’/ Like ‘Baby, baby, baby, no’/ Like ‘Baby, baby, baby, oh’”) and creepily, age-inappropriately commitment-focused (“And we would never ever ever be apart…I’d buy you anything/I’d buy you any ring”), but the song itself is super catchy. I’m not going to lie: I’ve listened to it about a billion times in the past few days.
But if you’re afraid that I’ve succumbed to Bieber Fever, don’t be, because I watched the music video, and it is vile beyond imagining.
[Trigger warning for sexual aggressiveness and stalking.]
The basic plot of the video consists of Bieber chasing his ex-girlfriend around a bowling alley. And I do mean chasing, or at least physically pursuing, and doing the following charming things:
- He grabs her jacket and pulls her towards him, and she pushes his hand away angrily.
- He leans in, cups her face, and tries to kiss her, and she pushes him away (we can’t see her face) and walks off.
- He bumps into her, stands directly in front of her so she that she has to stop, and places his hand over her chest, almost but not quite touching her breasts, and she pushes him away angrily.
- He dances over to her as she sits on a stool and sits on the next one as she sidles away, then leans into her until she stands and walks away, with an epic hair toss.
- As she walks down some sort of ramp he keeps pace with her on the railing, at one point reaching down to grab her shoulder briefly and then letting go as she looks up at him; then she walks away.
- He chases her around and over a pool table and presses his forehead to hers. She’s clearly weakening, because she gives a little exasperated smile to the camera as she (you guessed it) walks away.
Then they have a danceoff, which I guess wins her over? He slowly progresses closer and closer to her over the course of it, and finally places a hand on the small of her back and pulls her hips flush against his own. They sway with their foreheads touching, then Ludacris gives him a “Way to go, dude” high-five/handshake, and Bieber and the girl walk out of the bowling alley hand in hand.
I watched the rest of Bieber’s music videos today, and two of the others also involve him being a creepy, creepy stalker who follows a teenage girl of color around a colorful set until she falls for him, but this one grossed me out the most. SHE IS PUSHING YOU AWAY, DUDE. PHYSICALLY, WITH HER HANDS. And yet he still persists! So here are the messages I’ve gotten from this video:
1. It’s totally okay to stalk your ex-girlfriend.
2. It’s also totally okay to keep bothering a girl who wants you to leave her alone. You can wear her down!
3. You can touch her if you want. Her body is not inviolate.
4. If a girl acts like she doesn’t like you, she probably thinks you’re cute and charming and wants you to keep harassing her.
5. Ludacris will like you if you do these things.
I don’t blame Bieber himself for this video, or for the other ones where he’s Creepy McCreepenstein. He’s like, what, four and a half? He doesn’t direct these things. And I will give him credit: when he’s not Autotuned to within an inch of his life, he has an impressive voice, and I was pleasantly surprised by his dancing ability. He’s a talented kid!
But good lord, do his videos give me the skeeve. Usher or whoever else is guiding this kid’s music video career, could you please dial down the creepy like, 20 notches? Because right now they just make me want to boil my eyes in order to clean them. And I’m horrified that the 8-year-olds who love him may be basing their romantic fantasies on the horrendous little dramas Bieber is playing out for us.