Justin Bieber and the American Dream

So you might have heard that outside of tween girls, not many people like Justin Bieber.  The infamous pop star has been accused of being a blight upon the face of the music industry.  He has been called every dirty name under the sun.  Also Legolas tried to beat him up.

One might ask, does this young Canadian pop star deserve all this hate?  I’m not here to answer that question, but I do want to get to the root of why people despise Justin Bieber so much.  I believe it has less to do with Bieber’s musical abilities and more to do with how we define the American Dream.

The American Dream means different things to different people, but it usually involves three elements:  gaining wealth, creating a legacy, and leaving behind something of worth.  Some people give greater weight to certain elements or the other, but most would agree that successful businessmen like Steve Jobs and inspiring activists like Martin Luther King Jr. lived the American Dream.

However, there are also two underlying assumptions regarding the American Dream.  The first is that the person who achieves it will be a hard worker.  The second is that the person who achieves it will do it through the sweat of his or her brow.

Thus, we come to Bieber.  He appears to be living the American Dream, as he has immense wealth and fame.  But musicians and others despise him, because he did not follow the  underlying assumptions regarding the American Dream.  For one, his success is mostly owed to luck.  Someone noticed him online and believed he was a marketable teen pop star.  Also, Bieber does not appear to be contributing anything of value.  His music is mediocre at best, and many struggling musicians write music vastly better than anything Bieber has produced.

When one thinks of the American Dream, one drinks of an ingenious businessman who produces something of value, not a teen pop singer that everyone save for tween/teen girls believe is terrible.

Justin Bieber is a firm example of why the idea of success being related to superior work ethic, and  general superiority all around is not necessarily true.  This doesn’t mean that one shouldn’t work hard or that hard work is never rewarded, but our favorite Canadian pop star shows us that luck and marketing play a rather large role in material success as well.

Also, it is important to remember that material success is not and should not be the only part of the American Dream.  Wealth is both fleeting and corrupting.  Leaving one’s mark, improving the life of others, and lifting someone else up, those are dreams that last.

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