Feb 152011
 
Authors: Phoenix MourningStar

Justin Bieber’s new concert movie “Never Say Never” came out this weekend. Sixteen years old and rich –– nice life. It wasn’t even a year ago that most of us, myself included, were cracking jokes about the Bieb. Sure, many of us didn’t even know any of his songs –– but we ‘hated’ Justin whats-his-name? Beeper…Beaver…? But here we all are; we all know his name, now. We’re all (pleasantly?) surprised he didn’t win new artist of the year at the Grammy’s … and just maybe we’re slowly becoming fans?

“Gasp! No way!” a friend shouted at this proposal. I’m not sure what she is so afraid of –– this is the same person who swore she would never stop believing in Milli-Vanilli.

I tried to reason with her, even admitting that I’ve actually listened to a few of his songs beyond posting them to friends’ Facebook pages with a message, “Here’s that song you asked me to find you ­­–– are you still going to his concert?”

Becoming a “Believer” has very little to do with the talent of this newest teen heartthrob. It has more to do to with the message Bieber is spreading. It’s the message that reminds you of junior-high love that says: anything can happen. I suppose Justin would say it’s a message made out of the same things as him: cupcakes, ice cream and flowers (see song lyrics for “Beiber Fever” ft Lil Wayne).

It’s really a message about determination. But for a teenager whose already gained international success, fueled by YouTube, it might not ring true to everybody. And I get that. Still, the message –– never say never –– is valid. Here are two examples.

The message is personified in a woman I met this weekend. As the oldest of eight kids, she helped her mother raise her younger siblings and immediately started her own family of four kids. At the age of 47, she returned to school to earn her bachelor’s degree and continued to law school at the age of 50. She worked as a lawyer on the west coast for a few years, then came to Fort Collins to ‘settle down.’

The second story is about my determination. I shared it with her: of being a high school dropout at age 15. I lived on the streets of L.A. volunteering at a YMCA in order to get showers and smuggling (sometimes re-selling) bagels from the shops of Santa Monica to keep living expenses low.

Then, living out of a van to go to college in Gunnison, Colorado and getting caught by the VP of Student Affairs sleeping in the student center when my “home” got stolen.

We both stared at each other for a few seconds, then almost in unison asked each other, “Damn, how did you pull that off!”

The answer really does summarize to never saying never, don’t quit –– or to quote ‘The Goonies,’ Goonies never say die!

I’m perfectly secure in my ability to potentially become infected with Bieber-fever without succumbing to a Bieber-gasm.

But I will admit, there is an undeniable feeling of attraction to a movie that embodies a message of positivity and puts it out there. It’s at least worth an hour of my evening.

I suppose I should borrow someone’s kids –­– who else am I going to talk to in line about the Backstreet Boys, the Bangles and Ke$ha?


Phoenix Mourning-Star is a graduate student. His column appears Wednesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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