The XX Factor

Bieber Fans vs. Wikipedia

I have a vague awareness that Justin Bieber is some sort of girl-look-alike boy pop-singer/commodity/teen heartthrob, though I’ve yet to (consciously, at least) hear any of his songs. Mostly he looms as a large, unexplored presence-a constant trending topic on Twitter and the brunt of snarky Web memes. To the over-16 set, Biebermania is mainly just a painful reminder that there’s a whole other big Internet going on outside of your own big Internet, and maybe also that crazy teens shall inherit the Earth. I only bring up the larger idea of Justin Bieber because Vanity Fair did so first, asking, “What’s the deal with Justin Bieber ?” It’s a question that few adults seem to be able to answer. Jessica Coen, in attempting to parse Bieber, wrote on Jezebel : “Justin Bieber is absolutely terrifying. Granted, I fear that which I don’t understand, and I don’t know much about Mr. Bieber.” (The title “Mr. Bieber” just reads SO WRONG.) Over at WidgetsLab , Derek Anderson answers the big question with the reasonable: “Must be someone … he looks like a kid to me.” And in a post on the VF Daily blog today , Juli Weiner goes further than others have dared and discovers that nagging feeling you get sometimes that Justin Bieber minions are taking over the Internet is really no joke.

Apparently Bieberites are waging war on truth, via Wikipedia, of course, and Wiki editors are doing their best to defend. Writes Weiner:

Most of the more colorful battles occurred before March 22 of this year, when Wikipedia noted “excessive vandalism” and “added move [sic] protection.” Perhaps the most contentious claim is the year of young (old?!) Bieber’s birth, for which, miraculously, there is no reliable source. Or, as Wikipedia editor “Barneystimpleton” wrote after removing the offending information: “NO. RELIABLE. SOURCE. FOR. 1994. BIRTH. YEAR. IS. NOT. KNOWN.” And as for the claim that Bieber was “the first artist to have all singles chart from an album,” Bdb484 erased the edit and noted “fa-fa-false.”

Well, then! Those born before 1990 may never know the truth about Justin Bieber, but it’s at least a little heartening that the tweens seem generally interested in chronicling, right?