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Bieber

You can’t even tell that the above movie poster is altered, can you?! I’m that good.

I was in Stratford, Ontario, this past weekend. Home of the Biebs. Did I sense Justin Bieber’s presence while I was there? Not really. I heard about a plaque that sits where he once busked on a street corner, or some such thing. But I didn’t see it.

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Knowing that Stratford was the epicenter of Justin’s meteoric rise to fame, though, gave me pause. Such a beautiful little town. I could see myself falling in love with that town and never leaving it. Maybe opening up a coffee shop, running writing workshops in the back, and having open mic nights in the front window every now and then. I can almost smell the coffee, scones, and chocolate. I can almost hear lilting arias and poetic words streaming out the front door as it opens to let in a rush of trendy Shakespearean loving hipsters. Yeah. Stratford. I get it.

Stratford Ontario City Hall

Stratford Ontario City Hall

I always feel bad about the nasty rap Justin gets in the media. I think of how horrible it would be to be that young and have that much light shed on one’s early years. We all pull idiotic stunts in our youth. Imagine pulling them on the world stage?! Suddenly forgiveness disappears. We tend to hold our world famous youth to some unimaginable standards…we forget that they are not yet adults. We forget that they have everything but the wisdom that comes with getting through their youth in one piece. They just have to reach into their pockets to realize there is nothing they cannot do/have/obtain/get/buy/own. Money makes their every wish a reality. With money comes power. With power at an early age comes some less than stellar decision making moments. Scrutinized.

And then we write about them, we discuss their abhorrent behavior, we blame their absent parents, we blame them…for being talented enough to fill their pockets with money in the first place. Sure, on their way up they are wonderful–amazing–talented–stellar–meteoric–unstoppable. But once they get to a certain level of stardom, we feel we have the right to start tearing pieces away.

City Hall at Night

City Hall at Night

That’s why whenever I think of Justin Bieber, I inevitably preface his name with poor. Poor Justin Bieber. From Golden Child to Mock-At-Your-Leisure. Somewhere in between the Shooting-Star-Can’t-Do-Anything-Wrong Wunderkind and the Butt-Of-All-Jokes Gadabout we forgot that Justin Bieber is a person.

When I was in his hometown, that’s one of the things I thought about. Poor Justin Bieber.

I guess even though I saw nary a sign of the young man, he was everywhere. A Bieber runs through it…

Next time you hear the name Justin Bieber, try not to automatically scowl. Try to remember how hard it must be to navigate the world when you’re terribly young and it is fully your oyster. I’m sure it’s not that easy being Biebs.

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I wonder if he would trade it all for a day of busking on those beautiful Stratford streets? I bet he liked it there. I know I did.

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