It’s hard not to watch videos of Justin Bieber’s deposition careening across social media today and not think of the young singer’s temperament just a few short years ago.
Did that fresh-faced kid discovered on YouTube really morph into this sullen young man with little disrespect for those around him or the rule of law?
It’s enough to make one sour on the whole notion of fame and fortune.
And then Taylor Swift and her country-tinged melodies come to mind. She, too, found her profile changed dramatically by musical success. She also inspires paparazzi and other negative cogs of the celebrity culture machine. And yet we don’t see a barrage of tabloid stories following her wherever she goes. She just keeps smiling, singing and gaining new fans along the way.
The only people annoyed at Swift’s ascent are the ex-boyfriends she mentions in her songs. And their sympathizers must be in the minority given how Swift just ranked first in Billboard’s list of music money makers.
Bieber is another story, one that is still unfolding given his various legal problems. The publicity surrounding the new deposition video clips surely won’t gain him any new admirers.
Teen sensations are nothing new, nor are tales of their calamitous falls. But for every horror story there’s always a Ron Howard or Jodie Foster, young artists who thrived despite the Hollywood pressure cooker to emerge as mature artists.
Being famous is harder than it looks, and that’s never been more true than right now. Every miscue is broadcast to the world via social media and amplified by eager media outlets. Yet Swift’s ascent is the latest reminder to both Bieber and the next young superstar that fame needn’t be an excuse for bad behavior. A long and fruitful career may depend on treating others well.