Everything is stupid, and so are we. Welcome to Jezebel’s Stupidest Summer Ever, a season-long celebration of our worst, most idiotic thoughts and opinions.
As a reporter with many years of keyboard haggery under my belt, trust me when I say that Getty Images, the photo database we get most of our photos from, has a lot of good photos on it. There’s this one of Courtney Love and Anna Nicole Smith helping a tentative Avril Lavigne let loose. There’s two decades worth of photos of Sarah Paulson and Amanda Peet hanging out and being friends. But neither of those compare to the greatest treasure buried at the bottom of Getty’s musty ole trove: this one where a blond teen named Carson Lueders poses as if he’s about to chow down on a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs meant for a table’s worth of people with a look on his face that says “Can you believe it?”
Can I believe it? No, frankly! I cannot! It’s been five years since I first saw the photo, an accidental find while trying to build some kinda slideshow about something for MTV, and I still cannot believe it. The expression. The pasta. The purportedly spicy meat-a-ball. Am I synesthetic? Because I can hear this photo. And it’s telling me: mamma mia.
Carson Lueders, for the uninitiated, is a teen pop star who broke into whatever level of fame he’s at during the post-Bieber wave of record companies trying to sign white boys with swoopy hair who sing covers on YouTube. (See also Austin Mahone and Cody Simpson.) He’s got millions of Instagram followers and just over a million YouTube subscribers. He has an EP and a bunch of singles, the latest being “Have You Always.” He calls his fans the Luedizers, and he doesn’t have a Wikipedia page. He recently got nominated for a Radio Disney Music Award, and, less recently, had some fun with this weird water balloon thing I’m gonna call “Hell Titties.” On September 13th, 2013, (my birthday what the fuck?) he ate or at least pretended to eat a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs at the Times Square Buca di Beppo, a chain of Italian restaurants owned by Planet Hollywood International that, by the looks of their Getty paper trail, does these kinda celebrity photo opps a lot.
That’s all I know for sure about the photo. (I reached out to Carson Lueders and Bucca di Beppo for more context but didn’t hear back at press time. I’ll update the post if I hear back.) But I wish I knew more. Was the meataball spicy? Did Carson have a good time? I hope so, friends. I hope so.