Thursday, March 27, 2014

BELIEBER! The Justin Bieber Story

Have you noticed a trend in publishing in which authors pick titles that either refer to someone's relationship and craft, or else try to assume you're already into the story? In the former it may have started with A HANDMAID'S TALE, but now it's THE CARPENTER'S WIFE, or THE JUDGE'S DAUGHTER, or THE ZOMBIE'S UNCLE. With the latter, it's like the latest AND THE DARK SACRED NIGHT. Or it could be AND THE MOUNTAINS ECHOED, or AND THEN I FOUND YOU, or AND THEN SHE WAS GONE. You have to be creative with titles and promotion if you're a relative unknown. The closest I've come is "The Miraculous Plot of Leiter & Lott." Now, you might ask, who in heaven's name is David Leiter or Valerie Lott? And why the hell does the title rhyme? Is there a miraculous reason? It's a mystery. Solve it, I say. Ask away. But of course if you're already famous, or have a niche audience at your beck and call, you don't need to use suppuratives (no, wait, that's about pus!…I mean superlatives!) You don't need to refer to deities…because you're already a deity. If you're like, say, Kris Kardashian, you can title your book, as she did, AND ALL THINGS KARDASHIAN. Or you can just do a straight Selfie title like I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU KNOW ME FROM, by a young lady who is described as "one of the most prolific actresses of our time." You know what a Selfie is, right? That's where you take your own photo to post on social media: AND IN ALL MY SPLENDOR or AND THEN I FOUND ME might be an appropriate title. Or Kim Kardashian's upcoming SELFISH, which says it all. Which brings us to Justin Bieber. 
The new book about him is BELIEBER! by Cathleen Falsani. Is everyone trying to be him? No, but some are. Literally. His girl fans want to be his "one and only." Through the miracle of crowd mania and viral fame, he was given the opportunity to learns how to push the right emotional buttons, but this soon makes him blur into an ideal. Fans want so much to believe there is no artifice behind it. Bieber's own perception of himself blurs too, as he rides the emotional tsunami. Ironically, what they really seek is to believe in themselves. The emotion is because they can't quite get there, no matter how hard they try. Meanwhile, the true believer is calm and centered, with nothing to prove, no score to settle. My mother was like that. People knew she was the real deal within ten seconds of meeting her. To her, life was about sharing and love, not ego. Right up to the end, on her deathbed, she smiled through her pain and counseled others who came to her for advice. She never sought wealth or fame, and never took a Selfie. Yet at her retirement party four hundred people showed up, some weeping as they described what she meant to them. Such wisdom isn't likely at a young age, though. So advertisers (and sponsors) target teens and use them to promote products, playing along in a game they oversee. This includes records, movies, clothes, jewelry, junk food, you name it. You can play along, or learn why you do. Choose the latter, and you finally have a choice you didn't before. Instead of being a puppet, you're free of the strings. And you can choose on your own instead of following the crowd to a place maybe you shouldn't go.   

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