Unlike many a male performer before him who created an epic legacy through their unique musical talents and tragic deaths (SHOUT OUT to Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, Bob Marley, Freddie Mercury, Kurt Cobain, Tupac Shakur, and Hugo Chavez!), Justin Bieber has chosen a different path towards earning respect: purposefully engaging in destructive behavior in an effort to ditch his tween fan base and reconstruct himself as a tragically flawed, artistically deep man worth listening to. Don’t believe it? Let us be your boyfriend break it down.
Before 2013 even began, Justin Bieber made purposeful strides towards becoming a man. He did this by doing what all men dream of – making unwarranted sexual advances on Victoria Secret Angels. Rawr! But unlike other men, Justin’s reasons for publicly flaunting his interest in 19-year-old model Barbara Palvin by Instagraming photographs with her and escorting her to a Broadway show and visiting her in Miami was not for sexual intercourse (probs tho). The real reason he engaged in this questionable behavior while “on break” from his long-term relationship with Disney Princess Selena Gomez was to establish himself as a sexually active, attractive, and available grownup. The subsequent (and equally public) feud with the princess only amplified this, and once they were officially done-zo, Justin had successfully completed his first thesis: “I am a man and I am ready for women!”
But establishing himself as a man for 2013 didn’t translate to establishing himself as an adult artist. In order to start that process, some street cred would be necessary. And in order for some street cred, some vehicular-destruction would also be necessary. Enter Lil Twist! Justin Bieber made sure that everybody knew his new best friend was Lil Twist, a young rapper from Dallas signed to Young Money Entertainment. To prove their best-friend-ship, Justin Bieber did what most people with friends with names like Lil Twist would never do – loan his $100,000+ car to him! (Side Note: Is it even a car anymore once it costs that much money? And the actual name of this “car” is the Fisker Karma. I’ve never seen those two words together and it sounds more like the name of a cat Kama Sutra book then a vehicle, but I digress).
The first time the Biebs lent his car to Lil Twist inadvertently resulted in the death of paparazzi photographer Chris Guerra on January 1st. Happy New Year! The second time he lent his car to Lil Twist resulted in a March 5th hit-and-run with Chris Brown allegedly in the passenger seat. Ooops! Now Justin only lets Lil Twist drive his less-expensive Range Rover. But that’s okay, because his second thesis towards gaining artistic credibility was complete: “I’m not some white pop star punk — I like black people and I let them crash my cars!”
See also: SNL Sound-Off: Justin Bieber
Justin officially ushered in the New Year by pulling a Michael Phelps and being photographed at a party smoking marijuana. A few days later he claimed that he owned the rights to any and all photographs taken of him at parties. (Okay, Beyonce!)
But it’s very important that Justin Bieber smokes marijuana and that several pictures of him doing so have been “leaked” to the press. Part of the image Justin Bieber is trying to construct for himself as he heads into his adult years is one of being a relatable, flawed, and confused human being. Disney Kings don’t smoke weed, so Justin Bieber does. (Of course, this habit actually resulted in hundreds of his fans taking to Twitter and Instagram to cut their wrists, demanding that he stop, but oh well!). Justin Bieber doesn’t care, because Justin Bieber doesn’t want those fans. He wants adult fans who get high and listen to music and say things like “next level” to appreciate him. And by pretending he was upset over the pictures being leaked made him seem like a newly-vulnerable adult who needs space. Poor Justin. But good job on completing your third thesis towards artistic maturation! — “I have issues too and I am searching for relief and privacy!”
Having attempted to make himself a man, give himself some street cred, and present himself as a relatable teen just looking for some herbal help, the logical next step in the destruction of his poppy pop image would be casting himself as the underdog in some fucked up narrative. Enter The Grammys!
Justin wasn’t nominated for any Grammys, so he didn’t attend the event. Instead, he hosted a live stream for his fans at the same time. But 30 million Beliebers in a live stream room faced technical difficulties and so that never really happened. So Justin found another way to cast himself as the underdog, with the aid of former-underdog drummer of The Black Keys, Patrick Carney! After being asked about Justin Bieber by some reporter that probably shouldn’t have been there, Grammy Award Winning Patrick Carney offhandedly remarked, “He’s rich right? Grammys are for like music, not for making a lot of money. He should be happy.”
Oh no! Fuck! This remark was the antithesis of all Justin had been working towards. His self-destruction was about to be re-constructed by this Patrick guy. Justin doesn’t want to be a rich guy! Justin wants to be an artist! And he will prove it by self-destructing on Twitter! Or rather, by saying:
This resulted in the now-infamous Twitter feud (if there can even be such a thing), in which Patrick Carney adopted the photograph and personality of Justin Bieber and mercilessly mocked him for what seemed like years starting on February 17th. Although hilarious, the extent to which he ripped Bieber apart only aided in the completion of Justin’s fourth self-destructive thesis: “I’m not part of the system, man!”
The shit show that is Justin Bieber’s European Tour is still developing, but the round up so far is this:
– On March 4th, he was 2 hours late to his concert in London and was booed by fans.
– On March 7th, he collapsed backstage during another concert in London, was treated with oxygen, but insisted on finishing his final four songs for the fans (no boo’s this time!)
– Later that night, Justin was admitted to a hospital.
– LATER later that night, Justin Instagramed a picture of his baby abs in a hospital bed.
– LATER LATER later, as Justin was released from the hospital, he attempted to physically attack an antagonistic paparazzi photographer, yelling “I’LL FUCKING BEAT THE FUCK OUT OF YOU!” (Watch that shit here).
– And, on March 10th, he cancelled his show in Portugal “due to unforeseen circumstances.”
Justin Bieber probably figured out that lots of tragic stuff happens in Europe while being home schooled, and that some of those tragic things involve musicians going insane and dying. But if he went insane or died he would never get to be the mature musician he wants to be. So his self-destruction took the form of semi-tragic performances, cancellations, and paparazzi-confrontations, and all for one reason — to communicate to the press and the world that he isn’t who you think he is. He’s deeper and in more pain than you could imagine. Fifth thesis complete: “I am worldly, troubled, and overwhelmed. Listen to my music.”
But at the end of the day, the self-destruction of Justin Bieber is best articulated by the Biebs himself through the daily ambiguous tweets he blesses the world with.
Justin wants you to know that he is in the cocoon of an existential crisis.
Justin wants you to know that he can survive any storm.
Justin wants you to know that he has burst free of his existential crisis cocoon and transformed into a beautiful butterfly of undeniable talent. He is ready to let you see the light too.
Justin wants you to know that he is wise.
It is unclear what Justin’s next move will be in trying to convince the world that he is a talented adult musician deserving of respect. But it is clear that he has taken every opportunity possible this year to make the world belieb that he is no longer a shallow kiddy pop prince. His eyes are on the prize of becoming the new King of Pop, and the success of this adventure is entirely dependent on how successfully he self-destructs. Best of luck, Justin. You’ll need it.