It has finally happened, after all the buildup Justin Bieber has had a fall from grace a la Lindsay Lohan. Of course it could be considered more correct to say a la Britney Spears, but, it would not be as accurate. Spears had her meltdown in glorious technicolor for all the world to see, while Lohan did most of her downhill slide in semi-private. Bieber and his downslide has been a very similar thing to Lohan’s, although, in his case he has been having a year-long meltdown which was caught, for the most part, via the world’s paparazzi.
The one thing that all three have in common is that they started in the business at a young age. Both Britney and Lohan were child performers while Justin could still be classed as a child performer by benefits of his age alone. His behaviour, which the press pounces upon with almost religious fervor, is also still that of a child. One that has no boundaries set by anyone, Bieber has no one in charge of him and that is his main problem.
Before making any comparisons, however, there needs to be a little backstory behind Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan and their own personal fall from grace. Looking closely at 32 year-old Spears it appears that part of her problem, as revealed via her in-depth interview after her meltdown and eventual comeback, was never having the freedom to do what she wanted.
One of the most heart-rending revelations to come from Britney’s soul baring interview was that the singer was told what to do by, seemingly, everyone in her team. Her father managed her career and her life from those Mickey Mouse Club days and continued after being given conservatorship after his daughter’s very public meltdown.
Spears’ problems had to do with too much control and her personal fight against the reins of power held by her management team. When the performer cut off her hair it was a very symbolic gesture to show her removing the shackles that she felt held her prisoner. A poetic and very desperate cry for help; Britney insured that her fall from grace was documented, and later, explained.
Looking at the overview of Britney’s meltdown, it is pretty obvious that Justin’s “backstory” has no real resemblance to Spears and her lack of personal control. It really does seem that Bieber and his fall from grace, is an a la Lindsay Lohan stumble where history has repeated itself in the musical arena versus an acting one.
The 27 year-old child actress shot out of the starting gate like a cannonball. Proving her acting chops in the Disney remakes of The Parent Trap and Freaky Friday; then moving on from childish themes to more teen directed films like Mean Girls and Herbie: Fully Loaded – another Disney remake – for example.
Lindsay’s career shuddered to a stumbling halt when her partying interfered with her performances and dependability factor. While Lohan’s taste for drugs and alcohol, on top of an addictive personality, set her up for the fall that she ultimately took, repeatedly, part of her problem stemmed from her, somewhat, turbulent family life. The combination of a mother who wanted to be in the limelight as much as her actress daughter and no parental figure who wanted to take control of Lohan and set her straight.
Lohan’s path, like Justin’s, was one of self-indulgence and not having to take responsibility for her actions. The Mean Girls actress kept burning her metaphorical candle at both ends until her final burnout resulted in enforced jail-time and court ordered rehab. Lindsay has fallen down and gotten back up more than once. While this repeated fall from grace and rise from “the ashes” does put her in a slightly different category than Bieber, the amount of coincidences are too many to ignore.
Both Lindsay and Britney are lucky in that Hollywood, and show business in general, love a good “comeback” story. Entertainers love to cheer for the underdog and his, or her, climb back up to the top of the heap. Fallen stars are cheered after they have hit rock bottom and pulled themselves back up out of the muck to reclaim their crown.
These three are not the most famous, nor are they the most recent to suffer the indignities of losing their way. In terms of media coverage, however, the 19 year-old Canadian pop star has had the almost undivided attention of the world’s press throughout all of 2013. Bieber’s behaviour has steadily dropped down past the realms of decent society all while the young performer stands on the stage of his concerts thanking “the Almighty” for gracing him with the talent to perform.
Since becoming a sensation on YouTube, which led to his being “discovered” by manager Scooter Braun who arranged for Justin to meet Usher (Raymond) who then took Bieber under his wing. As a result of this fortuitous meeting the young singer was signed to the Raymond Braun Media Group (RBMG). All this took place when Justin was 14 years-old. It should be noted that at that young age, both Spears and Lohan were seasoned performers who had cut their baby teeth on showbusiness. Justin, however, despite his advanced years at the time of his discovery was still a “baby” in the business.
Bieber became wildly popular with tweens – youngsters around the age of 12 to 13 years-old – and their parents. Justin has always declared himself to be of the Christian faith and his followers, known as “Beliebers” have been almost rabid in their devotion to their idol. While the world’s press have been quick to report anything that has put Bieber in the worst light possible, his followers have all reacted to these reports with anger and aggression.
Throughout all of 2013, Justin has been making headlines for his alleged misbehavior. However, the young entertainer has also been castigated for things as relatively minor as leaving his monkey Mally to the mercies of German customs officials. At the same time that media outlets were feeling sorry for the little capuchin monkey, they delighted in pointing out that Bieber owed Munich, Germany officials over $11,000 because of his abandoned pet.
Apart from the malady of Mally the monkey, the press have shadowed the young performer’s antics which brushed up against the long arm of the law more and more as time went by. Speeding throughout the streets of Calabasas, California in a gated residential area; loud parties, in the same neighborhood; visiting brothels, aka houses of prostitution, in Brazil; taking a hooker back to his hotel room; dropping $75,000 at a strip club; several allegations of assault; throwing eggs at a Calabasas neighbor’s house causing $20,000 worth of damage and the list could go on and on.
The latest news, before the star’s arrest for DUI and resisting arrest, was the police search of Bieber’s domicile. News was released that spoke of drugs being found in his house, claimed to be the property of Lil Za Justin’s “live-in” friend, but, there were also claims that jars of weed along with drug paraphernalia like bongs by the gross were found by law enforcement officials.
While Belieber’s were processing this latest turn of events; the stripclub news hit. Right up until the moment when police chased Justin down and charged him with driving under the influence and, later, resisting arrest, fans have stuck by their idol throughout. However, the singer with two documentaries under his belt, has yet to be brought to task over any of his alleged misbehavior.
Just as Lindsay Lohan had no one to tell her no, or to calm down, neither has Bieber. His own mother, rather than support her son by telling the truth of what he was really doing, has pleaded for folks to remember that he is a teenager struggling to find his way. Other celebrities have been quick to jump on the “give Justin a break train” and it is through all this inaction that Bieber has been allowed to carry on without recrimination. Stopping short, until his arrest, of actually getting caught breaking the law.
Like Lohan, Bieber had not crossed that line until now. Throwing eggs at a neighbor’s house can be seen as the juvenile activity that it really is. Driving while intoxicated, allegedly, and/or under the influence of marijuana, which police said they could smell along with the alcohol, is not juvenile, it is criminal. Any act that can result in the death of an innocent bystander stops being child’s play and becomes deadly serious.
While media have been quick to point out that Justin should face jail-time for his actions, it needs to be remembered that this is his first offense. Lindsay Lohan was dealt with very lightly the first few times she transgressed. Bieber, may or may not have the book thrown at him, but, as he is not a repeat offender, yet, he will most likely get community service, a fine and court ordered rehab.
Justin Bieber with his fall from grace, a la Lindsay Lohan, has just started down that drug and alcohol fueled road. He needs to rethink what he wants to accomplish. The very fact that he stands grinning foolishly at the camera for his police mug shot shows that he thinks the entire incident is funny. However, if one looks at Bieber’s profile, the smile disappears and the corner of his mouth turns down in a grimace of dismay. Perhaps, Lohan could impart a little of her hard earned wisdom about just what he should do next.
By Michael Smith