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The Big Hurt: Bieber Silences Youth, Kings of Leon Sell Out

The week's best press releases
By DAVID THORPE  |  July 19, 2011

big hurt 722 main

I hadn't originally planned a press-release review for this week, but some PR blasts require immediate attention.

Justin Bieber and PhoneGuard, Inc. Join "Remember Alex Brown Foundation" To Launch a Campaign To Encourage Responsible Texting

This one's right up my alley in the roiling confluence of Bieberwatch and PR stunts. Our boy hero is teaming up with a company called PhoneGuard to preach safe phone habits and memorialize a young lady who died while texting on the road:

"As a 17-year-old driver, I am aware of the countless distractions that we teenagers face on the road, and texting is one that is preventable. There are too many young people, like Alex Brown, whom we've lost because of texting while driving, and it is my hope that, through this partnership with PhoneGuard, we will raise awareness of this issue and create safer conditions for everyone on the road."

But this isn't just another celebrity-endorsed "don't text while driving" campaign. I'm fine with those; I think it's important to educate teens about the dangers of texting on the road, especially since it's inevitably going to kill me. (Not as quickly as it'll kill my friend Sherman. He confessed the other day that he once replied to a text while riding his motorcycle on the freeway. He even had to take his gloves off first.) But this time, it's not just about education. This is much more ominous:

"PhoneGuard's revolutionary Drive Safe™ anti-texting while driving software application suite disables the texting, e-mailing, and keyboard functions of a mobile phone in a vehicle that is in motion."

Clearly, Bieber believes that education has failed, and America's teenagers are so reckless and untrainable that we have to gag them in the name of safety. A better headline: "Bieber silences youth with anti-expression shackles!" I may not agree with the practice of texting while driving, but I'd die for every American's constitutional right to do it. Probably soon.

Oddly, PhoneGuard CEO Scott Frohman seems to imply that Bieber helped design the software: "Justin has played a key role in developing the program and his extraordinary reach will make him instrumental in promoting it," says Frohman. Did Bieber do a little coding on the back end? I e-mailed the people at PhoneGuard asking them to clarify that statement, but they wisely ignored me.

Kodak Gives Away Tickets to Kings of Leon Concerts This Summer on Facebook

Bieber releases are my personal weird fetish, but I think we can all get chubbed up for a classic sellout. If you're one of those bad idiots who still considers Kings of Leon a rock band, let's disabuse you of that shit, stat: they are now a brand, like Nickelback or Bisquick.

It's a hell of a chore even to figure out what this press release is saying, but there's a lot of stuff about a KoL music video sponsored by Kodak; see if you can make a lick of goddamn sense out of this grammar tornado:

"While filming the Kings of Leon hit music video 'Back Down South,' Kodak gifted the '80 fans, who starred in the video and captured exclusive HD videos and photos with new KODAK PLAYSPORT Video Cameras and KODAK EASYSHARE TOUCH Cameras, marking the band's first brand integration into a music video."

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6 Comments / Add Comment


"I may not agree with the practice of texting while driving, but I'd die for every American's constitutional right to do it. Probably soon."

You make absolutely no sense at all and show how ignorant you really are on the seriousness of the whole issue of texting while driving. Search YouTube for 'Utah Texting While Driving PSA'... talk to those surviors about constitutional rights and then do an update. Foolish foolish article.
Posted: July 19 2011 at 11:00 PM


Developing this program (education campaign) to stop texting while driving-they don't mean developing the software. It is not a constitutional right to endanger the lives of others like your friend on the motorcycle did. Glad he didn't hit a minivan bringing kids hime from soccer practice.
Posted: July 20 2011 at 12:59 AM


wow, you are a dumbass. how did you get hired?
Posted: July 20 2011 at 11:43 AM


To compare Kings of Leon to Nickleback shows that your perspective is as flawed as the new marketing scheme the band has agreed to. Though it is dissappoining that they have agreed to this ploy, it is ignorant of you to overlook every other individual aspect of the band and instantly categorize them into mainstream-sellouts. Maybe the music video idea is a bad one, but the song is still excellent, as is every song on this album and every previous one. Instead on focusing on the true intergrity, talent and individuality as a band, you choose to magnify the business/financial aspect of the group. Your article poses an interesting question that should be easy for a true music lover to answer: does one formulate an opinion of a band based upon the amount of money they make or the quality of their music?
Posted: July 20 2011 at 12:44 PM

Owl Man

I read this while driving. Also while gay.
Posted: July 21 2011 at 4:15 PM


Excellent comments. I, too, feel that Mr. Thorpe is not treating these SERIOUS Bieber-related matters with the solemnity they clearly deserve. For shame.
Posted: July 21 2011 at 5:26 PM
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