(As this appears in my Gazette blog)
“What the f*** is the difference between yeah and yes?”
That sounds like something any number of rock ‘n’ rollers and other folkie rebel types (Hello, Arlo) might say, yes? Or should I say, yeah?
It was Justin Bieber this time — according to a Mirror report citing a TMZ article — in response to a lawyer who seemed to be trying to piss, or should I say, urinate, Bieber off, after Bieber had responded to a question with the word “yeah.” The lawyer asked: “Do you mean ‘yes’ “?
Yeah, I probably would have responded pretty much the same way Justin did. And maybe I would have added, “Like, get real, man!”
This post could go in a few directions now. I could talk about how Justin seems to be the victim of institutionalized bullying — by police, the media and certain lawyers who seem bent on publicly humiliating him. I mean, have you ever heard of anyone else’s police urine test video being released to the public? Have you ever heard of the media even seeking such a video? And have you ever heard of a lawyer correcting a person’s ‘yeah’ in court?
Could you imagine how the Rolling Stones’ album Get Your Ya Yas Out would have been received if it had been changed to Get Your Yes Yeses Out? Or The Beatles She Loves You Yes Yes Yes?
Gimme a break . . .
Justin, ‘yeah’ is perfectly fine unless you are addressing the Queen or writing headlines for mainstream newspapers.
Which leads to another direction for this post: The F and U words.
Let’s start with the U word — urine. There, I said it. Funny how many people are uncomfortable with that word. It’s not a word many editors want to see on the front page unless it is a health story, and even then it probably won’t appear in a headline. Problem is, the alternatives aren’t much better. So, when the urine test story broke yesterday, no doubt a lot of editors thought twice about how to play it. Usually, anything about Justin draws a lot of reader interest. But this one was plain distasteful. I’m sure many editors and readers were disgusted by the gross intrusion into Justin’s privacy. But most of the media ran with the word, anyway. And the story. And some linked to the YouTube video.
But there’s no way mainstream media will run the complete F word, no matter who says it, be it the pope, the Bieber or anyone else. I can’t even run the whole word here, because another editor is sure to pounce on it and sanitize it. It’s a matter of showing good taste, editors will tell you — even if people do use that word more often in daily life than they use the U word.
Just a picky copy editor’s observations.
So, perhaps Justin is doing more than challenging the establishment by being a rebellious 20-year-old, like so many rebellious 20-year-olds before him. Perhaps he is unwittingly challenging the world of words, too. I mean, who would have thought we’d be singing “I’m a Belieber.”
One more direction for this post: I fear for Justin. I fear for his life. I pray the media do not hound him to death.
Hold on tight, Justin.