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We Need to Talk About Justin: Why Not Lay Off Bieber for a Bit?

17/04/2013 11:59 BST | Updated 16/06/2013 10:12 BST

It's rare that you get a really good crossover between the ridiculous world of celebrity and the more serious world of well, everything else. So it's a bit of a treat when one does come up, like the bizarre relationship between Dennis Rodman, a six foot seven tattooed basketball player who occasionally has green hair and once went out with Madonna, and Kim Jong-Un, a man who by all accounts seems to think that starting a nuclear war is 'something to fill the time'.

Yet, like the inexplicable bromance above, it's also extremely rare that such pop culture/serious people mash-ups end well. For example, the recent crossover between mushroom-haired tween-exciter Justin Bieber and the figurehead for the humanisation of the most well-documented calculated genocide of recent times, Anne Frank.

The 19-year-old 'Baby' singer recently toured the Anne Frank museum in Amsterdam, viewing the exhibits for an over an hour before signing the guestbook with 'Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber (the name for an avid fan of his music)'. A collection of sentences surely heard around the world, as a legion of hands slapped incredulous foreheads.

The move has already produced a glut of discussion, mostly along the lines of 'what a self-obsessed brat', by serious journalists who would probably prefer to be writing about the economy or whatever they've decided gives you cancer this week.

The Canadian performer has not been a stranger to controversy of late, racking up a string of high profile misdemeanours since the start March alone.

He turned up two hours late for a concert in London, leaving thousands of pre-teens standing around until way past their bedtime, before donning a gas mask and roaming shirtless through the streets on Soho like a blitz-era Vanilla Ice gone mad. He then went on to attack a photographer who was hassling him, succinctly declaring his intent to 'f**king beat the f**k' out of him.

And now it would seem he's topped it all off by reducing the suffering of a race of people, and in particular a girl brutally murdered at age fifteen for her religion, to talking about himself and by proxy the admiration of lyrics like 'Swag on you, chillin' by the fire while we eating fondue'. ]

But should we really be so hard on him?

For a start, he's only nineteen. Nineteen year olds are allowed to be idiots. That's kind of the whole point of being young. You get to make ridiculous mistakes, which you hopefully not too many people see and then move on and become a dentist or whatever. The difference is Justin has to make these mistakes in front of however many billions of people have access to news outlets.

When I was nineteen I could barely get out of bed long enough to shove another frozen pizza in the oven, let alone be on form day-in, day-out, singing and dancing in arenas while trying not to swear in interviews or accidentally offend thirty-three million twitter followers.

Accusations of self-obsession are redundant. Of course he's self-obsessed. You would be too if you were a 'brand', you had an entourage and people's incomes were relying on your ability to keep being a company based on nothing but you.

His rise to fame took a completely different trajectory from other stars who were able to release a few songs, slowly build up a following and eventually breakthrough once they'd got your head together. The power of the Internet meant people were already 'beliebers' before he'd released a single track.

He didn't have time for that moment when your teenage self starts to become your adult self and says 'maybe I'm not that important, maybe I can't just do whatever I want all the time', because he had teams of people telling him exactly that.

The visit to the museum was probably his misguided attempt at looking good after a few months of bashing in the papers. It was probably thought up by a very sack-able PR team who were feeling a bit lazy, and when he put pen to paper, he probably thought 'this'll be a nice sentiment, perhaps people might like me again.' And now feels the remorse that every teenager does when they do something stupid. Except it's now plastered across every news website in the world.

But it's not just the Anne Frank thing. We need to lay off Justin in general. What we've seen over the past few months is a worrying trend, and one we've seen too many times before. It usually starts with few clips here and there of them mouthing off or looking a bit worse for wear, but before long they're wild-eyed, shaving their head and attacking a car with an umbrella before being loaded into the back of an ambulance in the light of a thousand flashbulbs.

You might say that it's the price they pay, but it's possible to report 'Justin Bieber turned up late for a concert and annoyed a few fans, ooo errr' without resorting to 'What a spoilt c*nt', the angle even most of the respectable publications went for.

The current string of Bieber controversies is something we can and hopefully will learn from, before, once again, it's too late.