I am not a fan of Justin Bieber. I’ve never knowingly heard one of his songs. I thought keeping the fans waiting for however long it was – 40 minutes? 2 hours? – last week was absolutely appalling. But then last night, I saw a tweet that said
Justin Bieber: “I’ll never come back to the UK”. WE DID IT, BRITAIN.
And it bothered me. Imagine Justin Bieber wasn’t 19, but 9. And it wasn’t Britain, but school. He turned up, full of himself, acting like a twerp (the word Go Fug Yourself decided was the perfect one to describe him). People called him a “fucking cock” and a “fucking moron”. He reacted (wouldn’t you?). He struggled to breathe. He went to hospital. Then he (or rather his parents) decided they’d have to take him out of the school. And the school children said, “WE DID IT!”
I ran this past David and he said, “Yeah, but he was getting paid…” Does that make it okay to call him a “fucking cock/moron” to his face and expect him not to react? Isn’t that still bullying? David said that at school, yeah, it would be, but in this case no. Because he’s a twerp. So it’s okay to bully people you don’t like? People who annoy you? People who are full of themselves? People who don’t live up to their professional responsibilities?
What if, I suggested, it was at work and not school. A 19-year-old turns up, full of himself, acting like a twerp. The next day he’s 40 minutes late. People call him a “fucking cock/moron” and when he reacts they laugh. He goes to hospital. They roll their eyes because, god, he’s only just started work and he’s already off ill? He decides not to come back. And everyone cheers. I’m still not seeing how this isn’t bullying.
Caro Moses wrote a brilliant post for Bea about the “culture of bullying” in relation to Mary Beard. Many people were (rightly) angry about what happened to Beard because she seems lovely and we like her. But it’s fine to bully Bieber right out of the country because he seems like a bit of a git? I’m not convinced.