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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Close Pop Culture Shave

Justin Bieber Shaving from Greg Leuch on Vimeo.

 Every couple of years a new teen idol gets his or her shot at all the gold. From Buddy Holly to The Osmonds and New Kids On The Block to Justin Bieber, every so often someone becomes famous in an instant and saturates the market. With Google hitting the interwebs a little over a decade ago, stardom has become fast and explosive, making famous everyone from Anna Kournikova to Susan Boyle and everything in between. Because Google now controls over 90% of all internet advertising, their top picks become household names to everyone from Sri Lanka to the Arctic Circle. However, there will always be a segment annoyed by the rise of the hearthrob.

  With this in mind, techie Greg Leuch has come up with an app for Firefox and other selected platforms called Shaved Bieber. With this tool, folks annoyed by the constant mention of Bieber on social networking and other websites can erase mentions of The Bieb. While I simply choose to ignore references to pop-culture phenomena that are not my taste, some fragile souls simply don't have the resolve. I have considered installing the plug-in for the sole purpose of seeing how pervasive the Justin Bieber phenomenon has become, but I'll leave that to someone else. It's not worth my time.

  The pop star has become larger than life at the speed of sound, and the backlash has responded in kind. There were kids perturbed with their little sisters' obsessions with which New Kid or Monkee they wanted to marry to be sure, but since the internet has all of those pesky cookies and the instant gratification factor, some kids get overwhelmed. And when they get slammed, reverse psychology kicks in- they may have dug The Bieb or Ke$ha for a minute but hypersaturation causes a fall greater and quicker than in years past. Next year we will be on to new kids that will get their chance at fame and the opposite reaction that is behind the pet projects of those like Mr. Leuch's.

   As long as people keep reproducing, there will always be a fresh crop of 13 year old girls and new icons for them to faint at the sight of. If today's barely pubescent hero irritates you enough to want him removed from your browsing experience or you simply want to try out your own web culture experiment, click HERE to test out Shaved Bieber for yourself.

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