Leave Justin alone
Allie Tollaksen | Tuesday, January 28, 2014
I should preface this article by explaining that I am not a Justin Bieber fan. I don’t know any of his music, to the extent that when I came to Notre Dame as a freshman and my dorm’s Frosh-O “serenade” used the melody of a Justin Bieber song, I fumbled over the tune all week as apparently the only living person on planet earth who hadn’t heard “Baby” before. What I do know about Bieber is that he’s a Canadian teenager, Usher made him famous and, apparently since then, he’s stirred up plenty of trouble.
I first heard about Bieber’s issues long ago in 2013 when his “birthday clubbing” incident hit the news. After reading Justin’s rants about the London club that denied him and his friends entry, I dismissed the story as nonsense, thought of Bieber as kind of a jerk and didn’t think of it again. It wasn’t until last week that news of the star popped back into my usually Bieber-less life. News about the singer’s “sizzurp” problem hit hard, and in reading the reports, I learned of the 19-year-old’s history of close calls with drugs and alcohol – he was found with marijuana and a stun gun last April, had several run ins with club goers and owners throughout last year and was even detained in Australia for drug possession.
It was this January, however, that Bieber’s “close-call” streak ended. In continuing his habit of bad behavior, Bieber was accused of egging a neighbor’s house. The accusations led to a full-fledged police raid, which exposed fully the teenager’s involvement with drugs – allegedly, cups of “sizzurp,” a drink made with codeine, as well as marijuana and ecstasy were found in the house during the raid. Somehow, the events managed to take an even worse turn when Bieber was arrested for drag racing a rented Lamborghini while drunk and high and charged with a DUI.
With this rapid-fire series of events leading to Bieber’s arrest, “Bieber Fever” turned into some serious Bieber hate. As Bieber was put in and subsequently bailed out of jail, trends on Twitter indicated that most of the country was not pleased with the singer’s actions, with hashtags like “#deportbieber” trending worldwide. An online petition to deport the Canadian star has gained over 50,000 signatures from “concerned” Americans.
It’s clear that Justin Bieber has his fair share of problems. It’s even clearer that the country has turned on the once-beloved pop star as he transitioned from baby-faced teen heartthrob to tattooed bad boy. But what I’m still not sure of is why our collective reaction to this news is shock and dismay.
While I certainly don’t believe there’s any excuse for Bieber’s behavior, let’s take a step back and think about the star’s upbringing: He was discovered at age 13 and was quickly ushered (no pun intended) from living with his single mother in Canada into a life of world tours, paparazzi and magazine covers. Along the way, Bieber obviously became involved in some very adult activity, but at an age that most kids spend worrying about detention or their ACT scores, Bieber was surrounded by millions of dollars and group of managers and an entourage who never told him “no.” Incident after incident, the singer’s managers and label dealt with his problems privately, likely with no repercussions for the star. And the public is actually surprised and angered by his recent actions?
Like so many child stars, Justin Bieber’s upbringing in the limelight has put him in situations far past his maturity level, and if his recent home raid is any indication, Bieber isn’t dealing with it well. But while his erratic, aggressive and irresponsible behavior is reprehensible; the knee-jerk reaction to deport the star due to his recent arrest seems bafflingly inappropriate to me. Rather than respond with any sort of compassion or concern for a clearly troubled teenager, America has decided to declare Bieber a “danger to society” and dispose of him. I’m still not sure why we as the public care so much about this kid, but if we’re going to care, maybe it should be about his health rather than his impact on the fabric of American society. Just a suggestion.
Since Justin Bieber faces felony charges, there is actually a possibility that he could legally be deported. The star also allegedly is on the receiving end of an intervention from his label and will be encouraged to go to rehab. It seems that finally, the people around the 19-year-old are giving his problems the attention they need. But if the reaction of the public is to shame, abandon or literally deport a likely drug-addicted teenager who was so obviously headed in this felonious direction, I’m just glad I’m not a pop star.