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Why are people pretending not to know who One Direction are?

I mean COME ON.

Image: Yui Mok

THIS MORNING BROUGHT reports that One Direction are breaking up next March, in order to spend some time pursuing their own solo projects.

According to The Sun, the group will reunite after a year.

Inevitably, the news has brought much of Teen Twitter to a state of near-hysteria. But it has also caused an odd brand of internet user to emerge from the woodwork: the person who pretends not to know who One Direction are.

Take these commenters on the Guardian, who – let’s bear in mind – have just read an entire article about One Direction:

There are so many of these mysterious individuals in the Guardian comments that they have gained a sort of sub-following on Twitter all of their very own.

And these oddly oblivious people are not just in the comments section on news sites. They are out there, roaming free on social media.

And they are legion.

So let’s refresh.

Source: Ian West

One Direction, like them or not, are currently among the contenders for the biggest musical act in the world. They have sold more than 50 million records in their five-year existence and performed to a collective total of 7.5million fans. 

They have performed for Queen Elizabeth II. They have made two globally-released movies. They have improbably put Mullingar on the global map.

Their activities are exhaustively chronicled, not just by the celebrity and tabloid media but by broadsheet newspapers and TV stations around the globe. A Google News search for ‘Zayn Malik quits One Direction’ yields roughly 1,670,000 news articles.

You may not be able to name a One Direction song, or any of the individual members, but to claim that you have no idea who they are – as a person consuming media on the internet – is frankly a nonsense. You are pretending.

Source: Associated Press

So please. By all means, criticise our culture’s obsession with celebrity. By all means, observe that other things - like the war in Syria, for example, or the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean – are more deserving of our attention.

But don’t pretend you don’t know who One Direction are. That’s just a bit silly.

NB: there is a subsection of the One Direction fandom that uses the phrase ‘who are one direction’ as a way of expressing hurt, or bafflement, or even excitement at the groups’ actions. That’s not what we’re talking about here. Just to be clear.

More: 7 things Zayn Malik should do with his massive Perrie tattoo, post-split>

More: James Corden teaches One Direction the five D’s of Dodgeball in hilarious video>

About the author:

Michael Freeman

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