I’m sure most of you have read the Wall Street Journal article from Tuesday, “Inside the Brains of Bieber Fans”. You can read the article here. While I recognize most, if not all of us are well-beyond Justin Bieber at this point, this article could have easily been written thirty years back on Duran fans and been every bit as applicable. The article even points out that back in the days of Franz Liszt (classical musician from the times of Romanticism during the 1800’s), his fans would throw their garments at him and fight over locks of his hair. Sound familiar???
We’ve commented many times over the “addiction” Duran Duran seems to have caused many of us over the years, and while my tongue might have been firmly planted in my cheek at the time, it appears I was more correct than I wish to believe. Hearing those familiar chords of Rio or even Hungry Like the Wolf release dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter involved in pleasure and even addiction. That rush you feel when Simon does his super-cool karate-style moves at the end of Notorious, or when there’s an especially good JoSi moment on stage, or even when Roger dares to twirl his stick or Nick gives you a good smile? It’s as intense as the feeling a chocoholic gets when they grab a square of their most favorite treat, and yes, it really IS addictive.
This is no surprise to the many fans who have stuck by Duran Duran over the years. There’s no arguing that when we see them live, we leave wanting more…and we chase after that same “high” we’ve experienced prior. There is a reason why many fans do as many shows as possible on a tour, and that there really is science behind it all.
Can this addiction be harmful? Like anything in life, moderation is key. Sadly, I’ve forgotten what moderation actually means. In this particular article, being on a computer for five or six hours a night following Justin Bieber blogs is given as an example of too much. If you could only see my blank stare at the moment… If that weren’t enough, the example of a person mortgaging their home only to go to New York and sleep on a sidewalk in order to facilitate their child’s addiction is also cited as being over the line. First of all, and in my defense, my house was already mortgaged, thanks. I will owe Wells Fargo for many more years, thank you. Secondly, who said this was for my kid???
The last nail in the coffin comes near the end of the article, when of course there’s a dissenting opinion of what is truly normal. I don’t know about anyone else, but I tend to be wary of folks who tell me what is normal, especially when they don’t appear to recognize good fun. In this case, Robert Epstein, author of Teen 2.0: Saving our Children and Families from the Torment of Adolescence, holds the hammer firmly in his grip when he says “Contrary to popular belief, there is nothing even slightly developmentally normal or healthy about ‘Bieber Fever’ and similar teen extremisms.”
Robert Epstein clearly needs to get a life and find some fun out there before he starts giving advice on how to kill the spirit of our adolescents.