For those of you not in the know, this past weekend up at the Commons in Calabasas, teen idol Justin Bieber allegedly punched a photographer. Yes, that's right, you read correctly. The Biebs, that little squeaky-clean fella who once caused a riot at Roosevelt Field in Long Island because he didn't show for an appearance, punched a paparazzo. Could the incredible be happening? Is Biebs growing up before our very eyes?
After hearing the endless hype and watching his ridiculous performances on shows like Saturday Night Live, hearing his fucking awful songs on the radio and seeing him all over music websites, I can finally say that I have newfound respect for the dude. I never in a zillion years would have ever expected him to go all Sean Penn on a photographer. In fact, based on his squeaky clean image, I think he's the last guy I would have ever expected to lose his shit so publicly.
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This is the Canadian's first real brush with trouble, but at least he was acting nobly. I mean, if an annoying photographer tried to snap my picture while I was enjoying a Sunday afternoon with my girlfriend, in his case Selena Gomez, after a certain point, I'd snap also. Yes, yes, Biebs is a public figure and yes, he should appreciate that photogs help keep him in the news. However, that doesn't mean this publicity can't be a boom for the kid. For the first time, he showed that yes, he is a human and does get pissed off after a certain point. Don't we all, especially when it comes to defending our women?
The other convenient part about this incident is the proximity to the release of his new album, which drops on June 19. A musician's second album is supposed to be a step forward and if his behavior is an indicator of what's to come, then we're going to see some real growing up here. Maybe Bieber can harness his talent and become a cultural icon like Justin Timberlake or could fall off the deep end and turn into someone (though highly unlikely) like Leif Garrett. Either way, for someone whose image has been handled so delicately, the fact we're seeing any real emotion from Biebs is refreshing.
Congratulations, Justin Bieber. Even though you turned 18 in March, you just had your Bar Mitzvah and became a man. This isn't to say laying the smackdown on photogs is a smart move, but at this point in his career, showing that he's a real dude rather than his too-good-to-be-true teen heartthrob with a lesbian haircut could actually have a positive effect on his long-term career.