Eight Things I’ve Learned About Justin Bieber Without Even Trying By Rachael Maddux

If you are a person who does not regularly interact with children or teenagers, does not watch television shows or movies geared towards children or teenagers, does not listen to much mainstream pop music, and does not frequent celebrity gossip sites or subscribe to the likes of US Weekly, et al, it seems reasonable to assume that you would not know very much about this person named Justin Bieber other than the fact that this person named Justin Bieber exists.

Seems reasonable. Seems.

I fit all of the above criteria, and so in January, when I made it my sole New Year’s resolution to willfully remain ignorant about this person all through 2010—all I knew was his name and that he was a musician of some sort—it seemed like a doable task, even though I am a compulsive Googler and always up for some Wikipedia research on ridiculous celebrities. These plans were thwarted, though, when—like some kind of rodent-borne plague—”Bieber Fever” began to slowly creep across the nation.

Over the past few months, I have been unwillingly divested of my Bieber-related innocence (or, some might say, ignorance—but I prefer the former) as the wide-grinned youth has infiltrated corners of my life that previously seemed teen-idol-proof. I knew I’d truly reached the point of no return when, last week, I began volunteering information about Bieber to my co-workers—information that I did not even know that I knew!

It seems likely that the same thing has happened to you, so let’s share. Here are all the things I know about Justin Bieber, despite my very best efforts (and despite the fact that I’ve still never heard one of his songs all the way through). What maddening trivia about the world’s biggest teen pop star have you picked up along the way?

1. He is really young!
I did not know this until I accidentally saw him on the Grammys in February, but dude is practically a fetus. I am assuming he is also rather short—that, or Ke$ha is a total Amazon.

2. He’s Canadian!
Actually, I have no idea where I learned this particular fact. Perhaps it has just entered into the collective unconscious? Somehow, given the magnitude of the kid’s popularity, this does not seem entirely unlikely.

3. He was raised by a teen mom!
I went on a trip last week so I was in a few airports, at each of which I saw numerous Hudson News outlets with row after row of his People magazine cover on display. They were all staring me down as I waited for my flights; I couldn’t help but read the cut lines. So many exclamation points!

4. He’s Usher’s protege!
Last Wednesday, NPR’s Morning Edition told me all about the Obama Administration’s plan to revamp NASA priorities and about possible sanctions on Iran and—oh yes—quite a lot about the young star in question. Some folks hate hate hate it when NPR takes on pop culture (probably the same folks who are fuming that the words “Justin” and “Bieber” are appearing anywhere together on the Paste site), but for reasons previously stated, I usually enjoy it. Plus, Maura Johnston and Jay Smooth did such a great job breaking down Bieber appeal that I actually didn’t mind this particular brain-invasion.

5. He made this little girl cry!
You can blame my first viewing of this video on my bad habit of clicking on even the vaguest link in friends’ Twitter posts. All those repeat watches, though? Totally my own fault. Her sorrow is abject, hilarious and completely mesmerizing.

6. He looks like a lesbian!
Or, at least, some lesbians look like him.

7. He might have just gotten his driver’s license!
In Atlanta, no less. Some of my (male, thirty-something-year-old, married with kids) co-workers were talking about this yesterday. “Justin Bieber is from Georgia?” one of them said. “No, he’s Canadian!” I volunteered despite myself. But maybe he’s not! I don’t know! Maybe he’s not even human! This is confusing!

8. He’s part Muppet!
This is pure conjecture, but seriously, wouldn’t this smiling face look right at home among these guys?

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