aired Feb. 1, 2014 on Dave’s Gone By. Youtube clip: http://youtu.be/GFDVqqkxzg8
Shalom Dammit! This is Rabbi Sol Solomon with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of February 2nd, 2014.
This may come as a shock to some of you, but I am not a Belieber. Oh yes, I am a believer in God, in the Torah, in chicken soup when you’re sick – but I am not a Justin Bieber belieber. I don’t listen to his music, since I’m more of a Moishe Koussevitzky fan, and his exploits do not interest me.
If Justin Bieber gets a tattoo, or shtups a model, or posts a selfie from the hood of his Lambo, more power to him for living the high life. When I was 19 years old, I was in Yeshiva studying Talmud, I was suffering through clarinet lessons, I was in bed sleeping by 10pm…because I didn’t have a girlfriend.
If I had $20 million at that age, would I have done things differently? You’re damn right I would have! My God, I would have bought the Streits Matzoh factory and had chocolate-covered matzoh every day of the year. I’d have tricked out my Volvo with curtains and a practice bimah. I’d have bribed ushers for backstage passes to every Yaffa Yarkoni concert in the tri-State area. Would I have gotten tattoos? No, that’s a religious no-no. Plus, how would I really feel about a tramp stamp of Marvin Hamlisch when I’m 50?
But with that kind of money, sure, I might get a little meshiggeh. And having young girls clawing at me and screaming – and not screaming `rape!’ – of course that would go to my head, and I would sample the pleasures of the flesh and the fleshures of the plesh. I do not begrudge Justin Bieber any of these sybaritic activities that he has earned by making music that pushes teenage girls right past puberty into menopause.
However, this past week, little Justin crossed the line. He was arrested in Miami Beach for DUI, drag racing, driving without a license and mouthing off to cops. When he was yanked, bleary-eyed from his yellow Lamborghini, he said, “Why do you have to search me? What is this about?” And two seconds later he told the police, “Oh, by the way, I’m high, I’ve been drinking, and I’m on a couple of prescription medications.” Somewhere a prosecuting attorney is on his knees in shul saying, “Thank you, God. Sometimes you send them to us gift-wrapped.”
Now, much as I hate giving anyone who sings songs with titles like “Beauty and a Beat,” “Baby” and “Eenie Meenie” the benefit of the doubt, if Justin Bieber wasn’t impaired that night, then this is just another case of the media looking to crash the monster it created. Yes, Bieber was a putz for mouthing off at the cops. If he’d been poor and black, he’d still be searching for his teeth on the sidewalk. But if he wasn’t drunk or high and was just driving a little too fast, give the guy a ticket, get his autograph for your kids, and be done with it.
However, if Justin Bieber was driving under even a mild, chemically induced goofiness, then throw the book at him – not because he’s famous, but because he’s a danger to others. In one of my early Rabbinical Reflections, I took some heat for kicking Ryan Dunn’s corpse before it was even cold. Who was Ryan Dunn? He was one of the “Jackass” crew on TV – men who would do crazy, stupid, dangerous things to each other for poops and giggles. These were consenting friends under controlled circumstances; who am I to say, “what the hell is wrong with you?” Especially when they’re funny. But nobody was laughing when Ryan Dunn poured himself into his Porsche and zoomed into a tree. Not only he died, but the guy in the passenger seat died, too. As Roger Ebert tweeted at the time, “Friends don’t let jackasses drive drunk.”
I have no sympathy for Dunn, or Paul Walker, or Justin Bieber if he put himself in the same situation. When I’m tootling down the highway in my 1996 Ford Fiesta, I wanna know that every other person on the road is being as neurotically careful as I am. At 50 miles per hour, a car is just a gun with wheels; point it in the wrong direction, and you’ve committed suicide and/or murder and/or skyrocketing insurance premiums.
Figuratively speaking, many have said that Justin Bieber is on a crash course, speeding out of control towards a Lohanesque junk-heap. I wish him no harm so long as he does no harm to others. Remember, this is the boy who said that if Anne Frank were still alive, she would be a Belieber – meaning, in his obnoxious, self-absorbed way – that she’d be a typical teenage girl with posters on the wall, bubblegum music on her iPod, and, presumably, 200 stuffed animals on her bed. Of course, this is a ridiculous statement. First of all, if Anne Frank were truly alive today…she’d be kicking and pounding at the lid of her coffin. Also, she’d be 85 years old, which means her musical tastes would have settled somewhere between Glenn Miller and Chubby Checker. The only posters on her wall would be a reminder for her medications and a calendar from the nearest Jewish funeral home. As far as liking Justin Bieber’s music, for gosh sakes, this woman lost her mother and her sister in the Holocaust and coughed herself to death in a concentration camp at age 15. Didn’t she suffer enough?
People who hate Justin Bieber just for being Justin Bieber, are saying he should be deported. We should send him back to Canada. Why? So he can spend all his millions across the border and let Canadian strippers, casinos and car dealers reap the benefits? I say, give the teeny-botcher the benefit of a doubt; let him stay – unless they prove he was drunk or stoned in that car. If he was, handcuff him and put him in the first trolley heading to Quebec. Oh, and just for fun, make David Cassidy drive.
This has been a Rabbinical Reflection from Rabbi Sol Solomon, Temple Sons of Bitches in Great Neck, New York.
(c) 2014 TotalTheater. All rights reserved.