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The boy passionately described the strengths of Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Bentleys, Porsches, and Range Rovers.
As I sat there with the little Bieber, the question of what he would become loomed large in my mind. I didn’t think that Bieber would fly close to his idol, Michael Jackson, whom he brought up often—I breathed a sigh of relief that the boy would never have to decide whether to sleep over at Neverland—but imagined him as a pale version of Justin Timberlake, a peach-fuzzed post-R&B white boy who set out upon the world to de-nastify Bobby Brown for the Ohio crowd at a time when major male pop stars could be counted on one hand. Braun and the entourage agreed with my assessment, naturally, but the grimaces, the neurotic energy, and cries of “Justin is totally normal” with which they greeted this line of questioning showed their hand.
When Bieber Instagrams a picture, between 500,000 and a million fans “like” it within seconds (by contrast, President Obama’s photos on Instagram garner about 40,000 likes).
Now she’s put on her own costume—the butch femme, the funky porn star, the whitest girl alive to lay claim to southern “bounce” culture—topping twerking by puffing on joints; hot-dog-riding; front-wedgie-creating; faux-Clinton-and–Abe Lincoln–fellating; and grinding Madonna and kissing Katy Perry, though that’s probably best understood as the latter two stars’ sucking her youthful blood.
Would he be a teen-pop casualty like Aaron Carter, or was he a value stock headed for superstardom? There was perhaps no issue that consumed their psyches more than that of Bieber’s future and which way he would go. Justin is already talented—I can find records for him all day.
“Do I have to help Justin grow up, do I have to set boundaries, do I have to help him become a man? No child star has ever lost as an adult because of their talent, ever.
At the time, with the imminent release of the propaganda film Never Say Never, which would become the highest-grossing concert film in history, Bieber Fever was reaching its shrillest pitch, but the boy himself, approaching his 17th birthday, seemed unfazed.
The gifts he brought were an apology of sorts, because his team had postponed our interview for Rolling Stone several times, and he declared, “We bought those presents downstairs, in the lobby!
In the pop business today, these transfusions are more valuable than ever, as the music pitched to young and old fuses.