Terrifying

I guess we can file this under the hashtag #kidsthesedays?

Last week, British GQ released the covers for their September issue, featuring the boys of One Direction with a cover each. Under each of the boys’ photos was a cover line, and the “Directioners” had issues with (to put it very mildly) the one for Harry Styles: “He’s out all night to get lucky.”

See some of their reactions below (and more here):

 

 

Now, I’m no stranger to teen boy band fan-dom, as you may already know, so I know a thing or two about “hating” someone who says something less than positive about my beloved Backstreet Boys. I officially “hated” *NSYNC for a few years simply because they were BSB’s direct (and very strong) competition.

But even when *NSYNC asked fans to buy multiple copies of No Strings Attached, to specifically beat Millennium’s one-week sales record, I have never felt the urge to feed someone’s insides to my dog. My teenaged “hatred” and “indignation” never reached a point where I thought of anything violent, much less verbalized it.

And it’s not just the “Directioners” either. “Swifties,” “Beliebers,” and Chris Brown (yuck) fans have all had their turns lashing out at people and institutions that had the courage to take a shot at Taylor and Justin.

How did things get to this point? Being a fan of musicians, boy bands and pop singers in particular, should be fun, silly, exciting and exhilarating and these kids have turned that experience into something serious and disturbing. Since when has being a loyal, loving fan entail issuing death threats? Since when was it ok to threaten to stab an entire company over a few words on a magazine cover? Since when was it ok to threaten to stab someone, period?

Part of it, I suspect, is due to Twitter, Facebook and all the paparazzi coverage Taylor Swift and her ilk get. That would explain the intensity of their fandom. The updates, the constant stream of information, knowing what Harry had for lunch, seeing an Instagram selfie by Justin from his dressing room is like fuel to an already volatile fire for these kids. We had nowhere near this kind of access to Nick Carter and Justin Timberlake back in the day. Thank God for that.

But that still doesn’t explain the threats. It’s one thing to be a screaming, hysterical, rabid fan, but the graphic and terrifying violence in these kids’ threats completely boggles and disturbs me. How could they possibly think that it is acceptable to write and say things like this? How do these young kids even come up with this stuff? Where are these kids’ parents?

All this is just too troubling, not just for the GQ staffers, but for these kids, and for the world at large, where the future generation threaten people with horrific violence over a few harmless words about a pop star and say things like “you need to be raped and murdered” when their beloved Chris Brown gets (correctly) called out for lip synching. And while we’re on the subject, what are we teaching young girls, that they are still pathetically loyal fans a young man who almost killed his girlfriend?

It’s so upsetting, that I don’t even know how to conclude this ramble of a blog post. How to get these fans to stop; how to make them realize that this is unacceptable, borderline criminal behavior, I don’t know (again, where are their parents?). What I know is, my future kids aren’t getting Twitter accounts until they’re 27.