Wednesday, March 26, 2014

He's Justin Bieber: Or So He's Been Told

Dr. Peggy Drexler

Bieber's mug shot from January 2014 
Huffington Post~ You could say that Justin Bieber's recent arrest was inevitable. At the very least, predictable. His bad behavior, after all, has been escalating for a while. Last summer, he was caught on camera squirting cleaning fluid and shouting expletives at a photograph of former president Bill Clinton. That same night, he urinated into a mop bucket used to clean restaurant floors. In November, he got into a Twitter feud with the president of Mexico. Last week, a neighbor alleged Bieber pelted his house with 20 eggs, prompting a police investigation, and just three days ago, the 19-year-old racked up a $75,000 tab at a Miami strip club. Could reckless driving be far behind?

And yet, when he was arrested -- for driving under the influence and drag racing, along with resisting arrest -- he displayed, or so it seems, none of the panic another his age might. Among his comments to the officer who pulled him over just after 4 a.m., in fact: "Why the f**k are you doing this?" and "I ain't got no f***ing weapons" (well, thank goodness for that). In his mug shot, he grins broadly. And why wouldn't he? After all, he's Justin Bieber, or so he's been told.
Since being discovered at age 12, Bieber has grown up on a wave of popularity. His fans are among the most loyal and devout in all of entertainment, and he's got the world's second-most followed Twitter account -- ahead of the leader of the free world at number three. But just as Bieber's not the only one responsible for his success, he's not the only one to blame for his arrest. Celebrity is a narcissistic business, and there's millions to be made off of the cultivation of narcissists. Since Bieber entered the business, his career has grown at the hands of music executives who stood to make a profit on his popularity, not his mental health. He has been surrounded and supported -- raised, you could say -- by professional ego-boosters.
While many celebrities come into the business with narcissistic tendencies that cause them to seek out fame, money and adulation, the entertainment industry does a pretty good job turning the narcissistically-inclined to sufferers of full-blown narcissistic personality disorder, a condition included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Those with it may display such characteristics as having a grandiose sense of self-importance and a belief that you're extraordinarily special or unique. People with NPD have a strong sense of entitlement and lack empathy. There is a preoccupation with money, power or fame. There is no thought to consequences.

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