Thursday, January 23, 2014

On Justin Bieber's Arrest

It's very late at night while I'm writing this, and I have a headache.  But this whole Justin Bieber nonsense has me really angry and I feel the need to explain why.

Justin Bieber, for those of you who haven't heard, was arrested sometime in the past 24 hours for DUI and drag racing in a residential area of Miami, Florida.  Good.  If you're going to drink and drive, you should be arrested.  That's what you deserve.

I am obviously not a "Belieber."  I am not part of Justin's fan group.  I know very little about him, to be perfectly honest; I know he's a musician and he's from Canada and he has an insanely large fan following.  That's the approximate sum total of my Bieber knowledge.

That, and the fact that he did this makes me really angry.

I get angry, on some level, whenever celebrities do things like drink and drive.  Because for one thing, they are endangering the lives of "ordinary" people like you and me when they do.  And we have enough people who have suffered the loss of loved ones to other people's selfishness.

That's what DUI really is, you know.  Selfishness and recklessness.  I'm sure no one intends to be either of those things, but let's be honest - they are.

So they're putting us in danger.  Okay, but so are other people, non-celebrities, who do stuff like that.  I get angry about them too, but the celebrities actually make me angrier.

See, celebrities have fans.  Fans who blindly worship them and defend them.  Which is exactly what Justin's fan army is doing right now.  If you don't believe me, go on Twitter and look for hash tags like "#WeWillAlwaysSupportYouJustin" and "#FreeJustin."  I saw a picture of a candlelight vigil being held in Miami by teenage girls praying for his release.

My feeling is that if you know that people are looking up to you and quite possibly emulating the things that you do, then you have a responsibility to do what's right.  Because you are setting an example - and that's especially true if, as with Justin Bieber, your fans are young.  Particularly impressionable.

Can people make mistakes?  Of course.  But if you do, then own up to them.  Justin Bieber has yet to acknowledge (at least on public record) that he's done anything wrong.  Maybe he will; maybe this arrest will be the wake-up call that he seems to so desperately need.  I can only hope.

But if my words are hollow to you, then let me encourage you to watch a video by a young man who shares my point of view for profoundly personal reasons.  And ask yourself:  If I were in his shoes, wouldn't I feel this way too?

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