I’m too old to be a Justin Bieber fan – for a long time, I thought his name was Justin Beaver – and I’m not negatively disposed to the young superstar, either. But, recently, I’ve noticed his name popping up in news stories with a less than positive slant on the pop icon. This culminated, in a sense, today with a report of a “rant” by Bieber against the media.
I didn’t get down to the particulars of what caused the rant, but this seemed to fall into a familiar pattern: Entertainers court, seduce and play to the media relentlessly to promote themselves, then routinely find an internal snarly streak to take a chunk out of the hand that feeds them. The thing that gives them celebrity and all its trappings becomes a “burden” of unimaginable proportions.
I think the media seduction mostly works through some familiar patterns. The aspiring superstar is initially on their best behaviour on the climb up the ladder, with every step carefully groomed and choreographed. Accordingly, they get “good” press that the good, albeit likely sanitized, behaviour warrants. As the climb up the ladder is completed, the (now) superstar starts to improvise more; showing up in surprising locations and going “off the cuff”, which is where the trouble usually starts.
With some regularity, the celebrity displays temper tantrums, possibly gets in trouble with the law, and generally starts blowing up the carefully crafted persona of perfection. Media, being media, treat this as ‘news’ and oblige with dissemination. Our celebrity is ‘stunned’ by the development.
One celebrity who (thus far) has avoided the cycle is Kim Kardashian. It seems whatever the basis of her celebrity, and this is not an insignificant question, she does not appear to have missed the point that since she doesn’t actually do anything to make her famous, she’d better keep cuddling the media.