Happy St. Valentine’s Day Massacre to all you lonelyhearts!
This post is about Justin Bieber. Also Hitler. But first it’s about Freud.
Eros is the LIFE instinct. It is the drive of humanity to create, (pro)create, win, love, live.
Thanatos is the DEATH instinct. The drive towards death, decay, hatred, destruction.
Eros & Thanatos work together in an intimate dance, cosmically balancing each other out at every moment. Whatever is created must someday be destroyed so that new creations may rise from the rubble.
This is where I start to talk about Justin Bieber.
It is difficult to explain to people why I love tween culture. Screaming teen girls and mass consumerism. Why, in the body van sound system, I would follow up an early 80’s German synth masterwerk with a Miley Cyrus jam.
The answer lies in the Eros/Thanatos relationship- the cosmic balance, if you will. The other day at work I was unloading bodies into the body fridge and came across a white plastic bucket. My first guess was that this mysterious bucket contained a fetus, as this is a quite normal occurrence at the crematory. This particular bucket was larger than usual, so I decided to open the lid to take a gander at what was inside. It was not a fetus. It was seven fetuses. Large, well formed dead babies. Basting in formaldehyde, stuck in a dark corner of a corpse fridge. The crematory operator looked over my shoulder and in his thick East Los Angeles accent muttered, “ez like anemals, yes? Putting them like that.” As many fetuses as I have cremated in my day, I have never seen an entire bucket full of them. I’m still unclear as to where they all came from and why they weren’t separated, although I’m sure it’s all legal and above board somehow.
After a glorious evening of- “surprise! it’s a fetus bucket!”- getting into my car and driving home listening to Leonard Cohen is not an option. I need Justin Fucking Bieber. I need to hear someone telling me that I’m gorgeous and fantastic and to follow my dreams and that any second someone is coming to bring me flowers. “There’s gonna be one less lonely girl…”
This is a primal drive, a basic fundamental instinct. When a child is about 8 years old two things happen. One, they first develop feelings of love and desire (eros) and two, they discover the harsh reality of death (thanatos). Artists like Justin Bieber are designed, packaged, and set out into the world to act as beacons of unadulterated eros.
Last night I saw “Never Say Never: 3D” with a fellow Order member. For those of you not familiar, this is The Bieb’s memoir film- as career retrospectives are absolutely appropriate for 16 year old boys.
Bieber is Eros. He. is. Eros.
The film is based around his sold out concert at Madison Square Garden. We watch (in 3D) as young girls are whipped into a mass hysteric frenzy as Bieber floats about the crowd in a giant suspended metal heart apparatus. They love him, they require him. They cry and scream away their budding thanatos. Bieber loves them, creates life, and keeps the demons at bay. “I want to marry him,” they scream. He WILL be mine. I will posses him, subsume him. Make him a part of me so I am not doomed to be alone in this world I have only recently discovered contains the promise of death.
The mass unity of purpose of the crowd reads like the Nuremberg Rallies of the Nazis. If you replace those shrieking tweens with SS officers you have a match. I’m not actually comparing Justin to Adolf, but the principle is similar. Rallying around a charismatic figure that represents the steady drive towards life. Represents the pushing back and repression of mortality and fear.
This person is here to TAKE CARE OF YOU.
The only break we see in the film is when Usher, Bieber’s mentor, is attempting to get Justin to drink a green protein shake. “I don’t need this yet, I’m 16! It tastes like dinosaur poo!” Beiber insists, wrenching his face in disgust. “You won’t be 16 forever,” Usher says. Thanatos peeks in, winks at the young women, and returns to the shadows.
Viva la muerte!