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Tilly: Keeping it Iowa Real

BY ZACH TILLY | JULY 09, 2013 5:00 AM

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Much to the dismay of Iowa’s seventh-grade girls and their eminently accommodating parents, notorious prima donna Justin Bieber was very late for his concert at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Sunday night.

Bieber descended from the rafters in a white suit and angel wings like the D-bag messiah just after 10 p.m. — damn near bedtime — more than an hour and a half after the crowd had been brutally assaulted by the music of Hot Chelle Rae and Mike Posner.

Bieber was reportedly greeted by a smattering of boos that almost certainly faded away as 13,000 spectators melted like so many candles into a churning puddle of tears and pubescent sweat four bars into “All Around the World.”

Des Moines was only the latest stop on Bieber’s international quest to frustrate and underwhelm the people of Earth. He’s spent the last few months systematically screwing people from London to Dubai, showing up late and discarding monkeys that no longer please him all over mainland Europe. And, of course, smoking reefer and sending late-night frowny-face texts to Selena Gomez (“I wnt u bak”) from the bathroom of his tour bus.

Considering that Bieber — the current captain of my 2023 VH1 Where Are They Now All-Star Team — is well on his way to becoming a full-on social pariah, I’d say he got off a little too easily in Iowa.

I know our state has an image to uphold as a bastion of unflappable Midwestern niceness, where the people are willing to suffer any indignity and forgive any transgression in the name of being inoffensive, but there comes a time when enough must finally be enough. We have to do away with Iowa Nice and start keeping it Iowa Real, or guys such as Justin Bieber are going to keep walking all over us.

Iowa Nice stays for the 10 p.m. concert; Iowa Real boos the time-wasting punk off stage and hits the road.

If you’re interested in keeping it Iowa Real in the coming months, you’ll have plenty of chances. Our fair state will be hosting many more jerks before the summer is through.

In a few weeks, Lance Armstrong will stop by for his first RAGBRAI since he came out as a doper to Oprah.

Iowa Nice says, “Well, everybody else was doping, and Lance has done so much for cycling and cancer research that we should welcome him with open arms.”

Iowa Real says, “Lance Armstrong lied for years and selfishly sold out his friends and the media just so he could perpetuate his image as a hero for a little while longer. He can ride, but don’t expect another adoring crowd.”

If biking isn’t your thing, a few weeks after that, the Harlem Globetrotters of social conservatism will roll in for a high-flying exhibition at the Family Leadership Summit. We’re talking confirmed appearances from Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, and Rick Santorum, the Meadowlark Lemon of telling gay people they shouldn’t be allowed to get married.

Iowa Nice says, “Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. Welcome to Iowa, fellas.”

Iowa Real says, “Gay marriage has been legal here for four years, and I have yet to see any part of society collapse into polygamy or general debauchery. Why don’t you take this sideshow someplace where the fear of social progress is still relevant? We’ll see you guys in 2016, when you’re all here stumping for Marco Rubio.”


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