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opinion

Why So Stupid?

On Justin Bieber and the lost youth culture

The Biebs havin’ a brew in South Africa, courtesy of his Instagram account.
The Biebs havin’ a brew in South Africa, courtesy of his Instagram account.

News publications went haywire over the news that Justin Bieber (you know that Bieber fever is an actual sickness) peed in a bucket before cursing former president, Bill Clinton. It was a landmark day in the career of the former tween pop star who made his mark offering slick rhymes over processed beats and landed straight in the hearts of young girls worldwide, like a wayward arrow from Cupid himself. Now I should admit here and now, before I continue further, that I've never listened to a full Justin Bieber song. I've heard snippets here and there, said “That's enough!” and changed the station without a moment's hesitation. But if you like his music, more power to you. Maybe you can explain it to me. I'd love to hear it.

Moving along … after hearing this story, I became even more intrigued with the idea of youth culture. Granted my generation was only a decade ago, I find myself sympathizing and coming up with excuses for our nation's youth all the time. And I think that's just an adult mentality in general. You witness people like Amanda Bynes, Lindsay Lohan and the like, and find yourself either not paying attention (like me) or you find yourself constantly perusing the headlines, trying to see what trainwreck has blow-torched its carcass across the fine print of the day. And for those that don't pay attention, you simply say “Where the hell are the parents?” Because back in our day … they were the answer, if not the reason. So I ask, where are the parents? Where are those people that protect their children against the tyranny and selfishness of the world and raise them to be little warriors that think and feel and make good decisions?

People act as if this lapse in youth judgment is a recent tip of the scale. Has the trainwreck/stupid phenomena not been going on for generations? Was the late Corey Haim not going to clubs and bars, getting loaded and having his image splashed in every tabloid that had enough space to welcome it? So, why are people so critical of today's pop stars and young actors? What makes them so special in regard to past generations in terms of who did it worse? By the time I was a teenager, Macaulay Culkin (who I revered as the coolest, loudest, weirdest child to fend off burglars) was already having his mug shot taken. I didn't fret because I figured if you're going to be interested in celebrity, you should read the tell-tale signs, if not follow the comebacks. Robert Downey Jr. anyone?

And the only sane words of advice I've heard being given to these young Hollywood dilettantes were from Helen Mirren, who simply said, “Don't be up your own bum.” Simple as that. Get your heads out of your asses, get to work, cash your checks, rank up those vacation days and go about your business in a calm, leisurely manner. Unless it is your ultimate goal to look like a buffoon every time the cameras are rolling and there's a tartini to sip. Or maybe it's just a teen angst-inspired rhythm that keeps them dancing the dance of dangerous paths only to find solace in the American courtroom while hearing a judge tell them they've had it all wrong. To them, maybe authority is the answer—but also the cause. One can only wonder. But it's like that saying goes … youth is wasted on the young. Maybe there is some truth to it.

But like any grown-up just barely skimming the headlines, you can't help but feel some sort of pity for these lost Barbies and Kens who think convertibles, clothes and coke make for one hefty recipe of a good time. Don't get me wrong, clothes are nice (and essential at times), but where's the weight of such extravagances? And who does it fall on? Everyone else, unless these celebs get better tax people to straighten out the numbers. But as long as these youngsters keep doling out good tabloid headlines, selling issues of papers that usually get the facts wrong, and still make time for red carpet appearances to promote that B-movie that almost went straight to video but managed to find decent distribution, then I'm sure we have even more spicy headlines coming our way. Who knows? Justin Bieber may poop on Mt. Rushmore and say he did it all for the nookie. Or was it the cookie?

opinion

Doubts and Droughts and Bark Beetles

What’s truly to blame for recent blazes across the Southwest?

I recently read some articles that were blaming bark beetles for all the forest fires. They said they are killing the trees, making them susceptible to fires. But, in reality, the drought is causing the problems. Bark beetles do not infest healthy trees, they infest trees that have been weakened. Trees and other plants give off chemical messages called kairomones. When trees are weakened because of lack of rain or for other reasons, the kairomones change and they attract bark beetles. Then the bark beetles give off insect pheromones that tells other beetles about the food source, the dying trees. Soon the trees are infested with bark beetles. As the trees further decline, they change their kairomones and other species of wood boring beetles come in. This process continues until the tree is dead. In the natural world, this is how it is supposed to happen.

Then lightning strikes, burns all the dried wood over hundreds or thousands of acres and eventually a new forest grows. Bark beetles aren't the cause of the fires, but they are part of the process. The drought is the cause, and whether the drought is man-made or cyclical doesn't really matter when the forest is on fire and your house is in the area. However, if we are doing anything to promote global warming and droughts, we need to change what we are doing rather than jumping into airplanes to spray our forests with pesticides to kill bark beetles, which has been mentioned in some areas.

I am not an expert on climates, but I do believe the drought is over. I think what we are experiencing in New Mexico and part of Colorado is our new climate, and maybe we should plan for it, learn to live with it and not expect any serious rain in the near future.

Neighborhood Watch

Close to Home

UNM halts plans to build a substance abuse clinic after neighbors protest

Longtime reporter Carolyn Carlson pens an opinion column about opiate addiction in Albuquerque.

[ more >> ] [ permalink ]

opinion

Misinfo on Obamacare

Among the lies
Among the lies

In this week’s opinion section, Jerry Ortiz y Pino posits that the right is straight-up lying about the Affordable Care Act.

opinion

Happy birthday, (un)Occupy!

Play Youtube Video
From the anniversary celebration in New York on Sept. 17.

Columnist Andrew Beale just moved to the Palestinian territories, but that didn’t stop him from penning a piece about the movement in Albuquerque he passionately supports.

(un)Occupy Albuquerque First Anniversary Celebration

Yale Park at UNM

Saturday, Sept. 29, 4:30 p.m.

unoccupyabq.org

More Videos

opinion

Walmart in the Bosque

The preserved open space at La Luz offers spectacular views of the mountains and the Bosque greenbelt. The project’s townhouses are at left. The Bosque School is in the distant center.
Jessica Cassyle Carr
The preserved open space at La Luz offers spectacular views of the mountains and the Bosque greenbelt. The project’s townhouses are at left. The Bosque School is in the distant center.

In the edition on stands now, Jessica Cassyle Carr wrote an opinion article about the big-box megachain planning to plop a store in one of the most pastoral parts of the city.

The move, Cassyle Carr writes, shows disastrous lack of foresight. But the city’s never said no to Walmart.

This issue will be on the agenda of tonight’s Council meeting at 5 p.m. in the Vincent E. Griego chambers in the basement of City Hall. You can also view it on GOV TV 16 or at cabq.gov/govtv.

opinion

OyP: This guv is a policy wrecking ball

Jerry Ortiz y Pino opines that Gov. Susana Martinez is on a neocon crusade of destruction. But the public can’t see it yet, he writes, because the media fawns over her so.

Most voters’ impressions of a governor are shaped by media coverage. On TV, we get split-second footage: She's cutting ribbons, smiling at children, waving to crowds, and looking perky at a rally or solemn at a memorial. ... The honeymoon ain't over yet, even after 18 months.

opinion

Video from the Chicago NATO protests

In this week’s opinion slot, Andrew Beale recounts his trip to the City of Wind to film and participate in the protests against NATO. He argues that biased mainstream media accounts are part of why more people get their news from Internet sources and from shaky cell phone videos posted to YouTube. Online, Beale’s piece “Don’t Believe the Hype” includes video footage he shot at the demonstration.

opinion

Bugs and the modern age

Just thinking about ants or spiders makes me itch and shudder. Every time I read this week’s op-ed from the Bugman, I got a serious case of the crawlies. Richard Fagerlund, a nontoxic pest management consultant, says the number of inquiries from folks who think they have bugs on them has increased drastically over the years. He posits that it could be a result of pesticides, pollutants or genetically modified food.

opinion

18 veterans commit suicide each day

That’s the startling opener to Alex Limkin’s column “Flashes of Light,” which is all about staying alive after war.

Limkin, an Iraq War veteran, took a trip with Outward Bound. The wilderness organization leads vets through the backcountry for free. It’s part of an effort to help people cope with post-traumatic stress.

Folks can apply here.

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