Why Justin Bieber Needs a Visit From the Ghosts of Pop Stardom Past

Miami-Dade Police Department

This is my hope for Justin Bieber: that, when he’s tucked into bed tonight, wearing his baggy leather pajamas and special sleeping sneakers and ball cap, he’s visited by three ghosts of pop stardom past. At first he’ll wake, rub his eyes, and wonder if the visions are just shadows cast on the wall by his Usher night-light. But instead it’ll be the likes of Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and Keith Moon – three music idols felled by a combination of reckless behaviour and the lack of anyone in their inner circle to set them straight.

I say this despite the fact that I can’t stand the kid. Still, I don’t want to be reading, or writing, his obituary any time soon.

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Sure, we all rolled our eyes during those innocent days when Bieber’s biggest scandal involved him saying he hoped Anne Frank would have been a “Belieber.” In hindsight, it turns out that was just the tip of the idiotic iceberg.

Bieber took it to a new level this morning when he was arrested on charges of DUI, drag racing, and resisting arrest in Miami. Evidently the 19-year-old had his buddies block off a street so he could race a rented Lamborghini against a friend’s Ferrari. While drunk. And high. And under the influence of “prescription” meds. This follows a recent drug bust at his home.

Bieber went to jail after the drag racing incident, leading to the inevitable mug shot (in which the pint-sized pop star is smiling goofily like high school kid who just kissed a girl for the first time). This proved two things – first, Bieber needs to take some tips from David Bowie, who pretty much perfected the art of the mug shot (see below).

Picture 4Second, the kid needs to start taking this rich and famous thing seriously.

To play Devil’s Advocate, it may not be entirely his fault. Did we mention that his dad – yes, his FATHER – was reportedly among the crew who helped arrange the aforementioned drag race, essentially clearing the way for his son to join the James Dean Auto Club? It’s obvious which side of the family Bieber gets the bonehead gene from. The star says his mom, however, is the one who provided him with the prescription drugs (VERY rock star of you Biebs, by the way).

That also serves as a reminder, though, that Bieber’s really still just a kid, very much like the fans who flooded the streets around the jail, singing songs to him and allegedly “protecting” him from the media and screaming when he scaled a car to wave to them upon his release.

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Don’t let the fan adulation fool you Biebs — this pop fantasy just got very real. This isn’t about peeing in a mop bucket, or egging a neighbour’s house anymore.

So let’s hope the ghosts of pop stardom past get through to Bieber, and that someone – ANYONE – in his inner circle steps up and helps set this kid straight. There’s a degree of recklessness that goes hand in hand with fame, and then there’s the stuff you can’t take back. Bieber’s lucky that when he goes to bed tonight it’s not going to be in an orange jumpsuit, cuddled up with a 400-pound tattooed man named Bubba. And he’s really lucky that it’s not going to be in a custom made wooden box.