It’s never a surprise to me to hear that some famous person – an actor, singer, or politician – has been behaving badly. It must just be the nature of the beast. Too much money and not enough sense seem to be common elements at work in such situations.
You know who I’m talking about. Tiger Woods. Chris Brown. More elected officials than I can even remember. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person who would be happy to never hear about Anthony’s weiner again. Ever. And I SURE don’t want to see what he’s posting on Instagram or sending out via text. Seriously? Eeeewww.
Still, like most disasters, celebrity bad behavior is almost always big news. Maybe it’s schadenfreude that piques our interest in the rich and famous getting tangled up in their own notoriety.
I walked into the break room at work recently and encountered a banner headline on the big screen TV during the noon news hour. “Freedom Watch,” it said. Really? Was there a political dissident somewhere being granted asylum? Maybe some wrongly accused person was being released from prison after new DNA evidence proved his innocence!
But no. It was just Lindsey Lohan getting sprung from jail. Again.
Much as I try to ignore this sort of behavior, I’ve just about reached my limit over the past month. And I blame it all on Justin Bieber.
What in the hell is wrong with that little twerp? He’s 19 years old, he’s a beloved pop idol (though as someone who does not fit his target demographic, I’m at a loss to explain why), and he is, as we say in Texas, richer than six foot up a bull’s ass! So what’s his fucking problem?
The behavior seems to change from week to week. He’s wrecking his Ferrari. His friends are wrecking his other cars. He’s posting rants on Twitter. He’s stranding a pet monkey in Germany (huh?) He’s walking out on his $1600 tab at a recreational venue. He’s pissing in restaurant mop buckets and telling a former U.S. President to “fuck off.” And if none of this qualifies him as Tool of the Century, now he and his little entourage of junior Tools are leaning over hotel balconies and spitting on his fans. What the hell?
An interview with his mother went like this: She blames this behavior on his youth. He’s 19 now, and she says she doesn’t have as much influence as she used to. “I’ve got to let go and let him make some of his own decisions,” she told Access Hollywood Live, adding that she prays for him.
Really, Mom? That’s all you have to say? Sure, just shrug your shoulders and play the “he’s young and immature” card. As if that excuses him. Or you.
When my kids were 19, they were both putting themselves through college. They had part-time jobs. They did not “rant” on social media. And they would never have walked out on a tab of any sort. I realize that my kids aren’t international pop stars with a seemingly endless supply of money, but if they had been, suffice it to say they would have never behaved so disrespectfully, be it to a former President, a fan, or a janitor in a restaurant.
I hear these stories and it makes me wonder what the 19 year-old version of Dave Grohl or Pat Smear or Taylor Hawkins was doing back in the day. I would not be so presumptuous as to claim that the younger Foo Fighters were saints. I can’t speak to that. But if I had to venture a guess, I’d guess that when most of them were the Bieb’s age, they were playing in garage bands, trying to break into the music scene. Or they were spending night after night playing dive bars and practicing their craft, and sleeping in the back of a panel van between gigs, and making just enough money for gasoline, beer and junk food. And knowing their commitment to their music, I suspect they were just fine with that.
In the Foos’ documentary “Back and Forth,” Dave says at one point that when the band performs in a big live venue, like Wembley Stadium, it’s important to him that the show is just as good to the folks up in the nosebleed seats as it is to the ones in the front row. In other words, if you’re a Foo Fighters fan, the guys want you to enjoy the show. It doesn’t matter how much you paid for the ticket, they’re just happy you came to the show.
It takes more than just talent to become an icon in the entertainment world. If you want to last, or if you give a shit about earning anyone’s respect, or both, it also takes a healthy dose of humility. Any musician, or actor, or professional athlete would be wise to recognize and acknowledge that he has gotten where he is because there are thousands of regular working stiffs out there shelling out a piece of a paycheck to buy a ticket to seem him do his thing.
I’m pretty sure the Foo Fighters get this. Justin Bieber apparently doesn’t.
And so, Justin, I may not be your mother, but I am a mother, and when it comes to respect, humility and class, my kids would leave you in the dust. That’s how I raised them. So let me offer you some unsolicited advice:
In exchange for your mediocre singing ability and your mysterious appeal to pre-adolescent girls, you’ve been given the world on a silver platter. If you quit buying and wrecking sports cars and start investing wisely, you will likely be financially set for life. If you want to show your friends a good time, by all means do, but pay the bill when you’re done and leave a nice, generous tip. And then take some of that vast wealth and pay someone else’s tab too. Go to a nice restaurant and pay for the other patrons’ meals for a change. Don’t pee in the mop bucket. Use the restroom like the rest of us mere mortals.
Even better, how about you put some of your money to really good use and donate it? Instead of buying another exotic monkey, why don’t you write a check to your local humane animal shelter? Or a homeless shelter? Or a community food pantry? There are a zillion charitable organizations out there that could desperately use your excess cash. And you’ll never miss it.
Last, but certainly not least, be respectful of your fans. The life you’re living now is due to their generosity. You mean something to them, even if they mean nothing to you.
So behave yourself. Pull up your damn pants. Be grateful for your good fortune. Grow up.
And for God’s sake, stop behaving like a dick!