Hereís an alternative theory on Justin Bieberís behavior: Itís a re-branding strategy.
Male heartthrobs do have biological clocks, after all.
They hit early adulthood, acquire a certain hardness of jaw ó and, the next thing you know, all the 12-year-olds have moved on to someone with downier facial hair.
Bieber is 19. So maybe the guy is repositioning himself as a hip-hop gangsta or rock rebel or something.
Consider that Bieber-gone-bad has consisted largely of a string of transgressions that are attention-grabbing but decidedly low-risk by music-world standards.
So he peed in a janitorís bucket? If Keith Richards did that, weíd just call it a restroom break.
Letís review a few of the other things that have landed Bieber in the news:
ēHe walked shirtless through airport security in Poland.
Well, anytime a celebrity doffs clothing, it makes news. A pants-less promenade would have been a lot riskier.
ēHis monkey was confiscated in Germany.
Which is interesting, yes, but short of scandalous. The monkey lives on a tree-covered monkey island in a German zoo, meaning he still has groupies but no longer has to eat hotel food. Itís good for the monkey, and Bieber gets more notoriety. Everybody wins.
ēHe menaced a member of the paparazzi.
Who likes the paparazzi?
Most recently, Bieber burst out of an SUV and into the arms of one of his burly handlers, who promptly placed him back in the vehicle while the singer ranted. It was like one of those ďbrawlsĒ in baseball in which players rush onto the field and hide behind one another so they donít get hurt.
Also, he has been accused of spitting on at least two people (including one recently at a Columbus nightclub), smoking pot, drinking, cussing out a neighbor, lending his car to a reckless rapper and striking a photographer.
So, if he is working a strategy, he is being quite diligent.
It didnít occur to me that Bieber might be re-branding himself until his recent visit to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.
The polar-bear exhibit was shut down early to accommodate Bieber. Tweets poured in from dour folks who disapproved.
My first thought was: Irritating the dour is something that Kanye West, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga and a host of other singers do so regularly that it has to be deliberate. Bieber might just be following the best industry practices.
Or I could be wrong: Maybe he is just acting like a famous 19-year-old with too much money.
I hear that can be a bad combination.