In a court room before a judge the famous man stands in an orange prison jumpsuit. Cameras flash and pop as the piranhas of the “entertainment” business catch their daily scoop which will be read and seen by millions across the world. The man looks disheveled, unshaven and in his eyes appears to look like a cornered animal. The judge asks him if he has anything to say and for a few moments it looks as if he might remain silent as this moment of great embarrassment seems to linger on for what seems like hours. Finally he coughs and clears his throat and then admits his guilt, “please, don’t send me to jail, I’m an addict and I am so sorry… It’s like I’ve got a shotgun in my mouth, my finger on the trigger and I like the taste of gun metal.”
These words weren’t spoken by Justin Bieber in his recent court appearance in Miami, nor were they the words of troubled actor turned director Shia Labeouf.
These were the words of famous current A-lister Actor Robert Downey Jr in 1999 when we was sentenced to jail. He could have easily died from his addiction like Actor Philip Seymor Hoffman did this past weekend (which is horribly sad in and of itself!).
His life was in ruins and he knew it. He was fighting to stay out of jail but worse he had demons of addiction attempting to break down the doors.
Justin Bieber hasn’t risen yet to the raucous, embarrassing spectacle that was Charlie Sheen, but honestly, the never ending slew of one-liner jokes and national punch lines aren’t helping. The 19 year old, who is still two years away from being a legal adult (drinking age in the US) is seemingly the butt of every joke. I cannot begin to imagine the stress that he is under night in and night out to perform at the level his fans around the world are used to seeing.
Some might remember me slamming Miley Cyrus for her actions in recent months, and I am certainly not condoning or excusing Bieber for his drunken drag racing incident recently or his near fist-a-cuffs with a reporter…these actions are inexcusable. But what I am suggesting is that if people like Bieber are going to survive the next five years of their lives then the carrion culture who places such stars on pedestals and then lights the pedestal on fire needs to end. I’ve slammed production companies and talent scouts who prey on young families of would be television stardom before, but I can’t stress it enough that the parents of out-of-control stars need to step up and set their child straight.
The pressures must be immense at these levels, I can’t even begin to imagine…but we the public also have a role to play in this. Sometimes I think we’re like circling vultures who are avidly watching a hurting/dying animal below. We’re just waiting for the shine to wear off and for the dying animal to keel over. We’re so blood thirsty at times for the next juicy tidbit of gossip all the while we have celebrity death pool picks online to guess which star is going to self-destruct next.
Call me a naive fool, but I can’t help but think that our ever increasing fascination with stardom is killing people. It’s easy to tell or listen to the next Justin Bieber joke (I’m guilty of this, I admit it)…he’s an easy target, but I can’t help but feel sorry for the guy too. He’s become the next Michael Jackson of ridicule and idiocy.
As a Christ-follower I see people like Bieber and many others and I see pain. I see that despite all of the accolades and fame these are people who have lost or are losing their true identity to a world-wide marketing image of what they should be. We can continue to rail against clothing designers (big fortune 500 names) who have forced or fired models because they want them thinner, but we forget that the same kind of image market drives teen stars and celebrities. We forget that these are people too, not just objects of our hopes for the next big movie block buster or platinum album.
I’m just sick of watching these actors and musicians self-destruct while we watch hungrily from our self-made Roman Coliseums also known as our living rooms. If God made everyone of us in His image, this means he loves every single person on this planet. He loves the super star and He loves the common person just the same. Life is precious, and I’m tired of seeing it devalued day after day coupled with the plight of addictions and worldly pressures.
I pray for people like Justin Bieber…seriously I do. I pray for people like Miley Cyrus, and Lindsey Lohan, and Shia Labeouf…and so many more just like them. I pray answers may be found for each of them. That they never lose their true identities in the midst of public spectacles and courting fame. Most importantly I pray for Salvation and Restoration in their lives by the One living source of all Hope, Glory, Peace, Love and Healing – Jesus Christ Himself!
I’m tired of reading about the latest teen sensation or child-turned-adult-actor who has committed suicide or died of a supposed overdose.
Give em a brake, pray for them, and perhaps something amazing will take place because of it.
-Just a thought.