Now Playing: shitty open mic night at a bar
I’m not going to lie, it’s tough to muster up enough give-a-shit to care about a dweeby pop star chillin’ with the most hallowed of all trophies, but the hilarious outrage and vitriol spewed at a teenager for being a teenager has muscled it out of me.
As a hockey fan and a Chicago Blackhawks die-hard, of course I gnashed my teeth more than a little bit when I saw pictures of Justin Bieber posing with the Stanley Cup in the Blackhawks locker room and tap dancing on the team’s logo. My reaction could probably be best described as annoyed. I definitely wasn’t surprised that it happened, he’s one of the most high-profile entertainers in the world right now, and his love for hockey (however polygamous his team choice may be) can only help the sport, not to mention the National Hockey League. He was playing a concert at the home of the reigning champions, and a photo op with the trophy is a chance for the NHL to reach out to his fan base to increase their overall appeal. I’m pretty sure the punk has more Twitter followers than all 30 NHL teams combined…someone check on that. His influence is ri-goddamn-diculous.
The NHL, and every other single (intelligent) business on the planet, is always looking to grow their consumer base, and grabbing them younger just sweetens the deal (just ask the tobacco industry). The interesting thing about hockey is that two lockouts in the last ten years has told them that they can pretty much do anything and their core fans will never give it up. How many people will seriously stop watching NHL hockey because this scrawny, overblown, snap-chatter took a picture with The Cup? Oh, it’s because he committed the greatest locker room faux pas by setting foot on the team logo? Honestly, I understand and completely abide by that tradition/superstition, whatever you want to call it. (Justin Bourne outlines it PERFECTLY here. Read it.) But this kid didn’t know the rules, and nobody probably told him that was off-limits. I don’t think he’d do it on purpose, he IS Canadian, I’d like to think he knows enough to respect a hockey team’s maxims if he is made aware of them.
But…but how could the Blackhawks even let him into the locker room with The Cup in the first place?! One look at the revenue that concert brought to the United Center, merchandise, and concessions vendors (including Wirtz Beverage) will give you the answer. Whether you like it or not, famous people bring money-spendin’ folk. And money spendin’ is good. That affords them certain opportunities most of us plebeians don’t always get. Life is rough, I know.
Much of the rage directed towards this incident stems from people not in Master Bieber’s target demographic. If it were someone more appealing would there be less backlash? I remember far less hatred towards Def Leppard WHEN THEY PLACED THE CUP UPSIDE DOWN while partying on-stage with Darren McCarty and Kyle Quincey, and that’s the exact brand of ignorance on display here.
I posit that we, as Blackhawks fans, should gather up much more anger over the fact that Billy Dec spends half his pathetic selfie-taking summer turning unattractive people away from his bars while he harasses the champs with instagram pic requests and making interns re-straighten the brims of his terrible hats.
I must say, wringing hands about the way the Stanley Cup is being celebrated IN OUR CITY, AGAIN, is a fantastic problem to have. Oh, and they also took The Cup to a children’s hospital Tuesday, so…ya know, balance. Let’s just all agree that this is a step up from Jim Belushi and be done with it.