Look, I get it. I really do. I can fire up my social umbrage with the best of them.
A celebrity did something stupid?
Oh, goodie! Was it a tweet that they’ve since deleted but 50 million people saved as screenshots and is now being freely distributed on Tumblr so they’ll be forced to issue a quasi-apology absolutely devoid of any possible meaning?
No. Well, is it the next best thing? Does it involve sex and drugs? Criminal activity? Is it a scandal?
Hell, whatever it is, I’ll happily be the first in line to do everything in my power to help BBQ their reputation. Dance like a chicken on a hotplate for us! I live in a glass house but I adore throwing stones. That’s the paradox of me. At least my window repairman loves me.
What is it about celebrity that captures our imagination so? What is that quintessential je ne sais quoi that leaves us breathless and foaming at the mouth? When it comes to someone like Justin Bieber being a dumbass, we’re like baby birds in a nest, our heads raised up in the air, chirping incessantly, “More! Feed me! More!”
The media, of course, is only too happy to be that momma bird, flying back to the nest (our living rooms) and bringing lots of partially-dissolved regurgitated insects, worms, nuts and berries and throwing it up directly into our squalling mouths to satisfy our hungry, mewling tummies.
Excuse me, I’m being told I took that analogy several levels too far. I apologize for momentarily being distracted from The Bieber. We interrupt this coverage to send you to an interview already in progress.
Back to you, Bob. On our panel tonight is me, myself and I. We’ll be breaking down The Story from every possible angle. Up later, we interview a spokesperson from the Vatican for the official papal response.
Justin Bieber. 19 years old. On a polar vortex Thursday morning, while most of the world slept in preparation for the drudgery of their meaningless jobs, Bieber was on the prowl. By his own admission he was hopped up on alcohol, marijuana, prescription medications (Hi, mom!), ground Smarties (America’s favorite candy roll), human growth hormone, horse tranquilizers, four cans of spray paint (taken internally), nutmeg, catnip and bath salts.
Never underestimate the determination of a 19-year-old pop star.
All of this is understandable. Bieber had to wait to the ripe old age of 13 to enjoy initial success, and no doubt he’d done a lot of hard livin’ by then. He had already accumulated a lot of painful life experiences and the drugs and alcohol were just the natural responses of a person attempting to deal with it all. See? No biggie.
Scientists have determined that the human brain doesn’t fully develop until age 20 or later. So it’s a fantastic idea, as an experiment in the name of science, to load up a person much younger than that with celebrity, fame and wealth and see what happens next. I call this process Elvisication.
Captain Kirk said that humans were meant to fight and claw their way. Things aren’t supposed to be too easy. Why not? Adversity and struggle is what tempers us into metal. Steel, and being strong, is forged in fire, not in an unlimited supply of Jello Pudding Pops.
So you give a human being a lot of money. Way more than they deserve. What’s your contribution to society again? You save lives? Fight crime? Develop cures for diseases? Provide work and sustenance to lots of human beings? Oh, no. I see here that you make a pleasing sound with your throat and/or hit a little ball with unusual skill. We give up. Here, you take it. All of it. The rest of society has no use for things like food, shelter and stuff. God obviously meant for you to corner that market. I mean, why else should you sing so good?
That’s where the fun begins.
The process begins with money. From then on it’s impossible to know who truly cares about you. As a person. It’s a disease. It’s all about the money and everyone wants some. Suddenly you’re surrounded by the Yes People. These are people who will say and do anything to remain in your good graces. You just got put in a bubble and are completely divorced from reality, which is, of course, the perfect time to initiate your budding drug career.
You start to believe the hype. After all, you realize, you really are better than everyone else. Suddenly you can have anything you want. Anything at all. Are you underage and need alcohol? Someone will get it. Prescription drugs? Someone will get it. Women? Duh. Destruction? Of course. “I want to inject myself with elephant pee.” It’ll take a little extra time, but yeah, we can get that.
Before you know it you’re addicted to 42 different things, eating jelly donuts and fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches (like momma used to make) and putting on massive amounts of weight. Your life consists of people who care nothing about you, your own humiliation and your daily pharmacopoeia. Your senses are so stunted and dulled that you don’t even realize that you no longer care.
Then you go full Elvis.
At least you got to do everything you ever wanted.