Thursday 25 August 2016

Ian O'Doherty: First Janice, then Jimi, then Jim . . . now Justin?

Published 28/01/2014 | 02:30

Right, here's a few things that I should be, but I'm not. I should be pursing my lips and loudly tut-tutting – which is remarkably difficult, you should try it sometime – but I'm not.

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I should be wringing my hands together and issuing a plaintive 800 words or so. But I'm not.

I should be warning his army of fans that his behaviour isn't big and it isn't clever and he's impressing nobody. But I'm not.

Because when I look at Justin Bieber's behaviour these days, I don't see a potentially cautionary tale of excess and fame. I simply see a little twerp and feel a vague sense of existential despair – is this what we have for bad behaviour these days?

Is this scrawny 19-year-old Canuck popinjay, a kid who looks like his . . . voice hasn't even dropped yet, really the biggest threat to our most precious natural resource? (That's kids, by the way, not actual resources like coal or oil.)

That's certainly the impression a naif could be forgiven for taking from the coverage of the singer's latest infractions against good taste. And the headline above? Well, the headline comes from a serious debate on American TV about how Bieber is going to be joining the illustrious list of those stars who shone brightly before burning out.

As per the norm in these cases, a TV shrink was dragged out to loftily impart such complex psychoanalytical gems as: "Fame and money can do strange things to people", and, my favourite: "When you're worth more than $100m you feel like you're in a bubble and you're invincible."

Well, yeah, I must admit that if I had a hundred million bucks in my back pocket then drag racing would be the least of the things I'd be getting up to – although the fact that he chose a yellow Lamborghini to act as a public expression of his virility was something the TV shrink, sadly, didn't reflect upon.

Justin's rather less-than-macho choice of transport aside – as a non-driver, I view any bloke who cares about the shape and size of his car with something approaching grave suspicion – the whole thing is just an incredibly depressing insight into the deepening wussification of our culture.

Because when did pop stars turn into role models? When did parents expect them to be a good example?

Personally, I blame Live Aid. That was the moment when music officially became mainstream, commodified and incredibly safe and introduced parents to that nice young Bono and all the good work he was doing for the black babies.

You only have to look at One Direction to see how times have changed, and not for the better.

They should be the happiest young men in the world. Instead they look they're in prison half the time, and the wardens are deranged girls who conjure images that even Larry Flynt's team of crack pornographers would struggle to emulate.

And in many ways they are in a prison – consider the most recent controversy when one of them apologised for posting a picture of himself standing on a balcony; an act he confessed: "Was incredibly stupid and dangerous."

Jesus wept – do our modern pop heroes have to take a health-and-safety class on top of everything else these days?

I want pop stars to drive past in a stretch limo and laugh as the deliberately splash their fans while being attended to by a horde of willing groupies. That's being a pop star.

But if Bieber really does want to live dangerously, I suggest he try some of his stunts outside my local chipper at closing time.

Now that would be truly edgy behaviour . . .


So, in good news for the newspaper industry, Scarlett Johansson has announced just how much she loves her fiancé.

Nothing new there, except for the fact that lucky bloke is a French journalist.

Given how aloof many stars are from the media, this is a positive sign for love- lorn hacks who get to interview the object of their desire.

And you may scoff – and scoff I have done – but I know of a certain Irish journalist who has interviewed Sandra Bullock on several occasions and is convinced they share a 'special bond'.

I'd warn Sandra about this obvious menace to her virtue, but unfortunately, the restraining order prevents me from going within 100 yards of her.

But one of these days . . .


So, Inda Kinny got some face time with some people who are actually important at Davos, which was nice for him. But I was particularly interested to see the unbridled joy which greeted Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg's description of Kenny as: "A brilliant leader for a brilliant country."

Why do I get the impression that if I was to check the national papers of Albania, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Portugal, would there be reports of Sandberg giving the same sound bite to every country?

Frankly, I can't escape the image of those visiting bands who come to Ireland and record a load of jingles for different radio stations. "Hi, I'm Sheryl Sandberg and whenever I'm in Ireland I always vote for Eamon O'Kenny. He's brilliant!"

Irish Independent

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