Dumb young celebrities: Justin Bieber edition
Best-selling cover of Rolling Stone Magazine? I wonder if it will be.
This is Justin Bieber for the March issue, on newsstands Friday. Your teenage daughter wants to kill herself today because the screensaver on his laptop is a photo of him and Selena Gomez.
Anyway, for some reason, the journalist decided to ask Justin about politics and social issues. I think young people can be erudite and thoughtful, I think they can offer a lot of insight about a variety of subjects. I do not however think that applies to young people in show business. And they prove this over and over and over again.
We discussed this during the liveblog on Tuesday – click here to read the transcript – in relation to Miley Cyrus. You know my views on child stardom. I think it’s totally irresponsible. Some people posed some interesting challenges to that position though. One commenter called Maggie wrote:
“Bieber is a kid who has a real talent, he is really musically gifted (although his work doesn't showcase it). Would you sh-t on parents whose kid was a violinist and rose to the top?”
My response was as follows:
“Maggie - that's a great perspective. And my answer to that is that those who pursue a career in the classics require a discipline and an accountability that is missing from pop culture for young stars. There are years and years of study required before a kid gets to the equivalent (in violin or whatever) of the level that Bieber has reached. And those lessons give a child the preparation to handle adulthood.”
There’s a limited amount of real-life learning that happens for a showbiz child. There’s very little reality. I don’t dispute that Justin Bieber has some skill. In the relentless pursuit of fame however what’s happened is that they have become his ONLY skills, juxtaposed with a lack of knowledge about almost everything else. There is no focus on the importance of critical thinking. This is why Lindsay Lohan never makes any sense. This is why so many of them make no sense. They’ve lost the opportunity to learn how to formulate a thought, and properly articulate that thought, argue it and defend it if they have to. And this is why, when asked by Rolling Stone his opinion on abortion, Justin Bieber offered this:
"I really don't believe in abortion," Bieber says. "It's like killing a baby?" (RS asks: How about in cases of rape? "Um. Well, I think that's really sad, but everything happens for a reason. I guess I haven't been in that position, so I wouldn't be able to judge that."
How would that feel to a pregnant girl raped by a monster she made the mistake of helping on her way home? You think she’d find solace in the words: Everything happens for a reason?
Look… I actually don’t think he means that pregnancy by rape is divine inspiration. I don’t think he means to hurt with his words. I don’t think that he means to judge either. What I think happened here is that he actually doesn’t KNOW. And that he actually can’t COMMUNICATE. This is a 16 year old who cannot COMMUNICATE.
Now I’ve worked with many 16 year old students, especially in my time at Covenant House; part of my portfolio was to engage local schools in their fundraising efforts. These kids don’t get enough credit for how smart and informed they are. They’d be able to answer this question carefully and considerately.
16 in real life however is not necessarily 16 in showbiz. There’s a maturation process that gets taken away from you when you become famous. As such, Justin Bieber is probably closer to 13. Maybe 14.
So why is Rolling Stone asking abortion questions of a 14 year old boy?
I’d like to believe the purpose was to expose this now global phenomenon (like it or not, that’s what he is) as part of a larger argument against idolising our children. But this, um, seems unlikely.
Do you think Justin Bieber’s parents will read this Rolling Stone piece and get some education for him about current events, about women’s issues, about…anything?
Of course not.
Instead, they’ll tell him not to mind the haters, that people only criticise because they’re jealous, and that he has a gift to the world that must be shared. It’s a gross disservice to encourage a child to be so woefully unprepared…
Although he was well trained in one subject:
Justin has a stock answer that Team Bieber likely worked on for days:
"I don't think you should have sex with anyone unless you love them," Bieber says. When asked if he believes in abstinence until marriage, Bieber – who is reportedly dating fellow teen star Selena Gomez – seems wary: "I think you should just wait for the person you're...in love with."
Unlike his predecessors, Bieber did not guarantee virginity but promoted it at the same time. Which means he can’t break any promises and gets to please the MiniVan Majority all at once.
“Should” doesn’t mean “Will”.
So he knows how to evade being held to purity, but he doesn’t know how to sensitively answer a question about a woman’s right to choose. Well done Team Bieber. Well done indeed.
Click here to read more from Justin Bieber in Rolling Stone.
Attached – Bieber in London tonight at the premiere of Never Say Never.
Photos from Wenn.com