"The Dolan Twins" are a special kind of twin who got famous on Vine and are now famous on YouTube. They were born in the year 1999 and have 4.4 million subscribers. They are capital-F Famous, but you – a normal person – could not pick their chiselled all-American, clean-cut, good-looking faces out of a line-up. Teenagers can. They are incredibly famous among teenagers. There is an entire world beneath the world you know, undulating with fear and potential. The Dolan Twins are a new world order you will never know anything about.
So anyway, yesterday The Dolan Twins were in London for the MTV European Music Awards, which again is an awards show that you – a normal person – know nothing about, and again, which is incredibly popular among teenagers. Rita Ora hosts. They have their own infrastructure, the teenagers, their own shows and their own currency. They make Rita Ora do things for money. And the Dolan Twins, in town for the show and part of the teen charade, decided to organise a meet-and-greet for their teenage fans in the middle of Hyde Park. I think this embedded tweet is the greatest short story of our generation and should be lauded as such:
Grayson Dolan did not know about all the respect we were doing yesterday. He accidentally organised a meet-and-greet at the same time as respect. If you are wondering what a summoned army of twin-thirsty teens looks like – stampeding over the very concept of respect, clambering over fences made of deep respect – then thankfully there is footage live from the scene of the event:
I have circa one billion questions but I’m going to try to keep them down to five:
AM I SO OUT OF TOUCH? NO. IT’S THE CHILDREN WHO ARE WRONG.
For the longest time I have assumed Britain’s dads are faking it when they say – heaving, the dads, in that old elbows-first dad move that dads and dads alone use to get out of armchairs, heaving dads turning angrily puce – when dads go, "Kim Kardashian? I don’t even know who Kim Kardashian is!" Dads are very proud to have vast blank voids where cultural knowledge should live. Your dad: "Kanye West? Never heard of him!" Your dad: "What’s a Kylie Jenner when it’s at home!" Your dad: "I only know three famous people: Jeremy Clarkson, The Krays [counts as one] and Myleene Klass." But he does, you argue. You do know who Kim Kardashian is. Even if you don’t know who she is, you know she at least exists. Kardashian is ubiquitous. Ignoring knowledge of Kim Kardashian is like saying you didn’t know there was oxygen in air. "I didn’t! I thought it was just nitrogen and a composite 1 percent made of traces of argon, carbon dioxide and water vapour! I didn’t know oxygen was in there at all!" The dads are lying. They know who Kim Kardashian is.
But then, I think, when confronted with two twins so famous they can cause near riots that stomp over the entirety of respect: maybe dads aren’t lying. Who are The Dolan Twins? In fact, who are any of the hide-in-plain-sight sub-strata of famous people – incredibly famous people – who exist in culture but who I know nothing about. Jake Paul, for instance. Jake Paul is one of the most famous people alive right now and I can barely conjure up what his big boulder-chinned face looks like. There are fitness models on Instagram with millions of followers whose names you’ve never heard. People who were famous on Vine who are now famous on Snapchat. Consider this: if there is a form of social media, someone is famous on it. Who is the last person you can name who got famous from social media alone? My one is "Tila Tequila". I am a thousand years old. I am a hundred-thousand years old. My body crumbles to dust beneath the dying heat of the sun. I am your dad.
HAVE TEENS ALWAYS BEEN LIKE THIS
Watch the teens shred through a park shrieking like hyenas in pursuit of their genetically matching prey and think: were teens, you know, always like this? Or are these modern teenagers, a new super-soldier breed of teens, laser-guided mega-teens trained to yell and kill? Look at archive footage of teens screaming at Elvis, or the Beatles. Watch grainy camcorder reels of teens flooding malls to sprint after the New Kids on the Block. Teens in 2017 are very good at fanning out over their favourite popstars, yes, but that is because – in the form of smartphones – they basically have tools honed and designed to track and pursue them. The intensity of the behaviour itself isn’t new. It’s just a 2017-augmented version of it. We need to accept that there is a nascent human stage in our development where we – all of us – have severe and almost dangerous impulses to chase boys with haircuts over war memorials.
IS THIS MORE OR LESS DISRESPECTFUL THAT ACTUAL FULL-BODIED ATTEMPTS AT RESPECT
There has been a lot of discussion about How To Respect this past couple of weeks, a bizarre respect-as-a-fetish conversation that this country seems to have every November, in escalating loudness and tones (we are three years away from the end game of respect, which is Tommy Robinson, face tattooed black and red like a poppy, jumping off Big Ben onto the slick pavement beneath while simply saying the word "WAR"), and clearly The Dolan Twins violated respect by accidentally scheduling a hysterical fan meet-and-greet on top of it, and not cancelling the fan meet-and-greet in due time, and also not turning up to the fan meet-and-greet, so actually what they did is unleashed a rabid gang to pad around Hyde Park, hysterical and without closure, but then I ask: really, is this any less respectful that a poppy USB stick, or a very respectful pizza? In a way, a gang of teenagers sprinting around Hyde Park and stampeding each other is the ultimate expression of a freedom our ancestors fought so bravely for. In a way………………. that is the real respect.
WHY DO WE NOT BOTH FEAR AND REVERE THE SHEER POWER OF FANDOM TEENS
If two photogenic twins can send a grand total of three tweets saying they are going to be in Hyde Park and something close to a riot or a swarm of locusts happens, and people get knocked over and earrings get ripped out and screams are heard around the world, I am just saying: that is a power that should not be wielded lightly, and The Dolan Twins should have their Twitter passwords taken off them and given to someone responsible, and the UK government should sit up and take notice of the sheer power of teens, because if used wrongly – if the power of teens fell into the wrong hands – then who knows what a mess this country could fall into. Imagine if The Dolan Twins told teens to tear Parliament apart, brick-by-brick. We’d be waking up to a state of emergency this morning instead.
ARE PERSONALITY CULTS A THING NOW
Been a big year for personality cults, hasn’t it. Big Donny Trump is obvious the biggest benefactor of it, but there are little sub-cults here and there as well: this weekend, fans of American talk show host Sean Hannity have been destroying their coffee makers because he told them to; the entire alt-right is seemingly built on a fragile ecosystem of men verbosely yelling racism in front of maps. Allison Mack from Smallville has a sex cult now? Like: it’s been a big year for cults, plus every teen alive is a member of at least one celebrity fandom. It makes you think, really: in the old days, when we built religions, did we really do it to incite order, and peace, and answers to the cosmic questions? Or did we just do it because it’s quite nice having someone to look up to sometimes? That we, humans, always need someone to admire and scream hysterically at? Maybe the original Dolan Twin was....... a friend of mine I like to call "Jesus Christ".
Something to think about, certainly.