“That fucking Justin Timberlake should burn in hell.”
If the following statement got your attention, imagine how I felt considering I was sitting right next to the fellow who uttered this curiously hateful dig in the middle of an otherwise placid coffee break. It’s curiously hateful to me, because I can’t imagine anyone could possess that much hatred of Justin Timberlake. The dude seems imminently likable, and I’d probably feel that way even if he dumped me for Jessica Biel; considering she’s way hotter than me.
I was faced with a dilemma, not unfamiliar to those of us who pay attention to breaking news that’s actually breaking news. I could stay put and learn where all this enmity for Timberlake was coming from, or I could take my coffee and get to stepping before some bad shit went down. I never considered running, because I figured that would only have made the bad shit happen a lot more quickly.
And so I remained in my seat, sipping at my coffee whilst anticipating what the nut job in the next seat over was talking about. I’m not proud of the fact that I was prioritizing his explanation while forsaking my personal safety, but I’m guessing it has something to do with a writer’s DNA. Sad to say.
Then it happened, he began his explanation. Initially, I was relieved he wasn’t screaming about the voices in his head and I was even more relieved that his missives weren’t dressed up in metal jackets. To the contrary, he was rather calm and collected in his approach. When I thought about it, a calm and collected bat shit crazy fellow with a celebrity grudge kinda did seem scarier. Even if a screaming bat shit crazy fellow with a celebrity grudge is pretty fucking scary too. Yanno what? Both.
“You might be wondering why I think Justin Timberlake should burn in hell.”
Personally, I was overflowing with a morbid curiosity as to how an event which occurred thirteen years ago could be used as a conversation starter. In need of an exorcism. I can’t see wishing anybody eternal damnation. Not even Marie Osmond.
Then it occurred to me that the person sitting with him was an unsettling individual in her own right because, really . . if you’re an associate of the dude in the tin foil hat, then you too should be fitted for a tin foil hat, and restraints. Unless you’re a vastly underpaid mental health babysitter who is just trying to get through the day without becoming the lead story.
“Well, do you remember that Super Bowl halftime show with Janet Jackson where they showed her nipple and everybody turned her into a villain?” He asked his friend (hostage?).
What? Dude, I can’t figure out whether you’re even dumber than you are nutty, so I’m gonna say it’s too close to call!
I didn’t actually say that, I simply thought that.
“So people hated her while Justin Timberlake became a star!” He said with a full throttled indignation befitting a person who watches reality television for a living, without actually making a living out of it.
“He’s a fucking star and Janet Jackson disappeared!” He continued. There were more words, laden with clueless adjectives and mindless observations that were the conversational equivalent of daily marijuana use; the only difference being his words were killing my brain cells without any payoff whatsoever.
Alright, Spam brain . . for one thing Janet Jackson was vilified by peeps who should’ve been banished to that village in the M. Night movie for having their heads up their puritanical asses. And for another thing, Timberlake wasn’t one of those peeps. And not for nothing, she was deified by dudes such as myself for the moment AND the moments after it when she didn’t bow to the bashing but confronted it head on. Oh, and the album she launched after the controversy overcame the initial backlash to go platinum. And YouTube was born as a result! And what? Justin Timberlake’s master plan was to loose her areola so’s he could catapult into stardom? Because I don’t remember the part where he was a Walmart employee before Janet’s boob went solid gold viral. So why don’t you finish your coffee and head back to your padded apartment Chachi?
Again, I didn’t actually say any of that.
The episode did make me realize just how costly the price of fame really is. You have the paparazzi who scavenge your personal life for morsels and you have to deal with the fickle nature of executives who bottom line your talents into a little glass jar. You have to navigate trolls and bloggers and Kelly Ripa without a safety net. And if you’re really lucky, you never come face to face with a nut job who hopes you burn in hell for something that happened thirteen years ago.
Cary Grant had it easy.
(Note: If you’re simply interested in doing some research into this ancient history of a conversation gone wrong, it’s at 4:06.)