The Rant recently beheld the following click-bait: “You Wont’ Believe Justin Bieber’s New Tattoo.” Oh, internet. Unless the Biebs had a Medieval allegory decrying the evils of usury with ink containing nanobots capable of animating the entire production, we had our doubts. Please. We guessed half the contents before taking a gander. There’s gothic arches and angelic beings and some skeleton-as-death action and heavenly light all presided over by an enormous cross. Only the growling bear on the left pec gave us some amusement.
What Biebs and none of the other poor pop culture fame hounds understand is that celebrity in this country exists within a Calvinism as suffocating as a Baptist tent revival. The Biebs new ink was as inevitable as his current Jesus phase and his wannabe parent and rowdy crew and white-boy badass posturing. As inevitable as his upcoming disastrous marriage and attempted comeback with the collaborator we never would have guessed and finally the reality show, Still a Belieber. Pop stardom is Nietzsche’s eternal return on Oxycodone.
Even Queen Bey, who seemed to smash the trope of the Wronged Woman with a baseball bat in Lemonade, immediately conceived The Baby that Will Fix Everything. But being Bey, she had to go big and have twins1.
The Rant used to think all those contestants on American Idol and YouTubers and Instagrammers convinced themselves their time in the limelight would be different. But the persistence of predestination or fate or whatever you wish to call it, is the comfort of a pattern, good or ill, you never have to claim responsibility for in the end. In our chaotic times perhaps a script, no matter how full of sorrow and damnation, provides a measure of comfort for an existence that seems to have lost any thread of narration or meaning.