Behind the Desk 83: Help Me Understand Justin Timberlake
BYT Staff | Feb 15, 2013 | 3:00PM |

Brandon Wetherbee hosts the talk show/podcast You, Me, Them, Everybody at the Wonderland Ballroom in D.C. and in Baltimore, Brooklyn, Chicago and Philadelphia. Listen to it online at He’ll be hosting You, Me, Them, Everybody Friday, February 15 at the Wonderland Ballroom at 7:30 p.m. with Co­host Jenn Tisdale, ‘Color Commentary’ with Haywood Turnipseed Jr, guests Marissa Payne, Gabe Canan­Zucker and Jonny Grave.


I do not understand the appeal of Justin Timberlake. I want to understand the appeal of Justin Timberlake.

This isn’t a judgement of the entertainer. I think he’s a perfectly fine actor, dancer and singer. A 7 out of 10 in most things. Why does a slightly above average performer garner respect and admiration from people I respect and admire?

My friend Harold proclaimed Justin Timberlake is the coolest white guy alive. I disagreed and posed Nick Cave as coolest white guy alive. I think I’m right. According to an unscientific poll of my friends, I am wrong and who is Nick Cave?

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Coolest white dude alive Nick Cave poses with statue of kinda cool dead dude JesusChrist.

According to my friends and seemingly everyone breathing but me, Justin Timberlake brought sexy back. I think Timbaland did that.


According to my friends and seemingly everyone breathing but me, Justin Timberlake makesgood music. I think Timbaland does that.


According to my friends and seemingly everyone breathing but me, Justin Timberlake was the ‘cute’ one in ‘N Sync. I think JC Chasez was the ‘cute’ one. Also, the dude that brought the group together totally stole money from a lot of people and is in the midst of a 25­-year prison sentence and most likely molested lots of boys, so kudos to all boy band members for living through that. Really.


According to my friends and seemingly everyone breathing but me, Justin Timberlake is a great “S.N.L.” host. I think he’s recycling Mickey Mouse Club style ‘humor.’ There’s nothing wrong with mugging for the camera, but there isn’t much too it. Mugging doesn’t work if you’re ugly. Ugly people have to use words. Ugly people tend to be funnier.

Funny guy

According to my friends and seemingly everyone breathing but me, Justin Timberlake is attractive. I think he’s a perfectly fine looking boy­man, like Joseph Gordon­Levitt, a permanent sidekick. I understand the appeal of Batman, but Robin? Robin is for leftovers.

Clooney is hotter.

According to my friends and seemingly everyone breathing but me, Justin Timberlake is able to bring talented people together. I think he has good taste when needed. Working with Jay­-Z and David Fincher for his new single is commercially and artistically smart. Working with McDonald’s and the Fergie­era Black Eyed Peas is a blatant cash­grab.


So what am I missing? Is he popular because 12­year­old girls had crushes? Can a million girlish crushes translate into a career? A successful, commercially and critically, career? Is Timberlake another Sinatra, growing with his fan base? Is he a new form of performer? Is he an old­-fashioned song and dance man?

These are sincere questions. I’ve gone from hating the guy because when you’re a boy you’re supposed to hate boy bands from sort­of admiring his attempt to break into good attempts at cinema (“The Social Network,” “Black Snake Moan”) to loving “Sexy Back” to not understanding why adult women find this male the best. He seems like a very nice man who loves his mom and has a good work ethic. But that’s it. No edge, no art, no pain, no soul. So what am I missing?

This morning I listened to The National’s “Conversation 16” from their album “High Violet.” I asked a friend if she knew the song. She did not.

She is happier than me. She listens to Justin Timberlake. I listen to Nick Cave and The National and think about things I do not understand that do not concern me. She wins. Sexy is back or something.

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful night.


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Recent Comments:
  • Refugio Mcnett says:

    Beginning in 1930, Mickey has also been featured extensively as a comic strip character. His self-titled newspaper strip, drawn primarily by Floyd Gottfredson, ran for 45 years. Mickey has also appeared in comic books and in television series such as The Mickey Mouse Club and others….*.

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