Western culture has a lot to be proud of. The Mona Lisa. The Rolling Stones. Mrs Brown’s Boys. But there can be no doubt that this week, we reached our apotheosis, our crowning glory, the absolute apex of achievement in all the grand history of Western civilisation. For this week was the week that Justin Bieber challenged Tom Cruise to a fight in the octagon.
That’s right. None of the words in that sentence is a typo. That happened. Specifically, Bieber tweeted, “I wanna challenge Tom Cruise to fight in the octagon. Tom if you don’t take this fight your [sic] scared and you will never live it down. Who is willing to put on the fight?”
There’s a lot we can learn from this tweet. Firstly, that Justin Bieber is terrible at spelling and punctuation. Secondly, that Justin Bieber does not have Tom Cruise’s phone number: otherwise, presumably, he would’ve just texted him. But on a more profound level, Bieber’s glorious challenge teaches us something about the fundamental nature of celebrity in the modern age.
Think about this. You’re Justin Bieber. The world is your oyster. You have already scaled the peaks of the music industry. You are renowned worldwide for your unsettlingly high voice and ceaseless quest for innovation in hairstyling. You have your pick of the world’s beautiful young women with poor impulse control. Like Alexander, you weep, for there are no more worlds to conquer.
And then…you realise: no. In fact, there is one triumph you have yet to taste. One peak you have yet to scale. You wake up one day and you think to yourself, after all the platinum records, all the sold-out concert tours, all the groupies, all the haircuts, but there is still one thing I haven’t done: I have never defeated Tom Cruise in an Mixed Martial Arts bout.
This, you see, is the natural endpoint of a successful career in entertainment. Every superstar, if they are good enough, will reach that stage in their life when they know, deep down in their bones, that they must fight Tom Cruise in the octagon. It’s really the best way to know you’ve truly made it as a celebrity: when you realise that the only thing left for you to do is hurl yourself in a bestial rage upon Tom Cruise and attempt to beat him into a bloody pulp. As an aspiring writer and comedian myself, I hope I reach that stage one day. The day all my dreams have come true…except one.
The only question left to answer is: will Tom Cruise answer the call? It’s hard being Tom Cruise, because you’re the only person in the world who doesn’t have the option of challenging Tom Cruise to a fight in the octagon, and so he will die unfulfilled. But you have to admit, repeatedly punching and kicking Justin Bieber in the head and torso would be a pretty great consolation prize. Let’s hope he understands that as well as we do.