People come and people go, but Weirdos are a constant flow. My Weirdo du jour will most likely be very unpopular for any female under the age of 16, not that I have many readers meeting that criteria; I’m sure I am speaking to a different audience. Let’s just say I am in no fear of being burned at the stake for this choice.
Not the hockey playing, chess whiz, Canadian kid who taught himself guitar and piano before he was eight. Not the youngster who fell in love with music and began to wow audiences with his sweet voice in churches and other places throughout his native Stratford, Ontario. I’m going to focus on the post-Usher Beeb. Justin Bieber 2.0 (not necessarily new and improved.)
Justin Bieber was born on March 1, 1994, (age 17 next week) to then eighteen-year old Pattie Mallette. His parents divorced when he was very young, but he still maintains a relationship with his father, Jeremy Bieber. He grew up in low-income housing in Stratford.
Talking about his childhood in an interview, Bieber stated, “I’m so blessed. I didn’t have a lot of money, but I didn’t know that. Being young, I had everything I wanted. I played sports. I had clothes.” As a single mom Pattie often struggled to make ends meet, but she encouraged and supported her young son as he showed early signs of ability.
Bieber taught himself to play drums at three, guitar at eight, keyboard and trumpet at ten, and by the time he turned twelve, he was singing to small crowds. He took second place in a local competition. His mother began posting videos of his performances on YouTube, not knowing she was setting in motion events that would lead to her son’s superstardom.
This blog is not about that Justin Bieber. This is about the Justin Bieber we see today after the affects of teen sensation converted this talented sixteen year-old into a caricature, a punchline, and in many ways a marketing anomaly. Bieber is a case study in how to handle fame and puberty at the same time.
Here are a few questions that immediately come to mind: When does a sixteen year old boy get to have an opinion on rape and abortion that merits mention on network and cable news? Why does a sixteen year old need a “swagger coach?” How does a sixteen year old rate ticket prices in the $1,500 dollar range for VIP seating? In what sane world is it cheaper to see Paul McCartney than Justin Bieber?
I’m afraid the whole absurdity of the Bieber phenomenon qualifies the kid for this week’s weirdo. Fame in the internet generation is clearly a lot tougher for today’s teen idols than those of yesterday. Perhaps Justin should learn to chill before his flame burns out. He can look to his past peers to see what happens long after teen idol status falls away.
I hope Justin can do as good a job of preserving his little chubby teen-idol cheeks as Davy Jones of the Monkees.
Leave it to Bieber.
I have come to believe we have traveled this teen-idol route before. Check out the similarity to Donnie Osmond.
Uncanny, isn’t it.