Teenage angst has paid off well, from grunge to pop
When I was a normal, non-famous teenager, I did normal, non-famous teenager stuff.
I dressed like an idiot. I did stuff for the immediate thrill and entertainment of my cohorts, without much thought of consequences. More than one stop sign in Warren got a makeover during my reign.
Once you’ve gained some adult perspective (or until you can’t hop fences or spend hours hairspraying your mohawk like you used to), you realize how foolish you were. Once you start paying taxes, all that spray paint on the overpass isn’t as cool. Eggs are for omelets, not revenge.
Famous teens don’t have the same consequences, or adult perspective. They’re raised in bubbles, floating into adulthood unpopped. Not all, of course, but InStyle doesn’t write about the ones who grow up well-adjusted.
Justin Bieber, in all his leather-diaper-pantsed glory, (allegedly) threw eggs at his neighbor’s equally posh mansion for some reason. The Beebs cares not for the price of eggs, nor the cost to repair damaged siding. His roommate got busted for the drugs, and The Beebs was happily snowboarding at Sundance this weekend.
Girls’ bedroom walls will always have teen idols staring back at them. But they should know to separate their art from their personal life. You can like someone famous, even if they set a bad example.
I was obsessed with this teenybopper grunge band Nirvana in middle school. My walls were covered in dirty, scruffy dudes who needed to comb themselves. A lot of them are dead now.
Kurt Cobain from Nirvana is dead now, too. He said “Teenage angst has paid off well / Now I’m bored and old,” the first line of the band’s follow-up to “Nevermind.”
Once the angst has paid off, once you’re not a kid anymore, the Kurt Cobains and the Biebers of the world have their money, mansions and spare time.
Disney girls transition from doe-eyed tweens to battling for edgy indie film roles or to be “taken seriously as an artist.”
Beatles lunchboxes gave way to “Sgt. Pepper’s”; a mix of drug experimentation and having the clout to thumb their nose at the establishment. I don’t know what happened to Miley, but it wasn’t the Maharishi.
Drugs or eggs, twerking or playing sitar in the mountains; rebellion is normal for kids, stars or not. But it’s hard to teach “do as they sing, not as they do” in a world where celebrity scandal makes ink over real news.
Most normal, non-famous teenagers are told to do homework, clean stuff, be good. Think about their future. Regrettable Instagrams can cost jobs, opportunities; there’s no cut of the paparazzi profits to fall back on.
Teen angst, rebellion and scandal are big business. It’s also sad and messed-up. It sucks to be young, and especially when you’re scrutinized by the entire world for your behavior, your music, your acting, your fashion.
I’m ashamedly addicted to gossip blogs. I barely know what a Demi Lovato is, but I know she’s been to rehab. Disney is a mystery to me; I’ve never even seen “The Lion King.” But I know too much about those stars’ personal lives to be able to enjoy seeing those pretty and talented girls sing and act and not feel bad about the pain they go through off camera.
I don’t really know what I’m trying to say here. Bieber will throw his eggs, just as Daniel Plainview shot his antiques with a rifle for fun all alone in his huge mansion in “There Will Be Blood.” Fame and wealth can corrupt, but we don’t help by feeding celebrity culture.
I guess I mean: Teen idols, be happy and healthy. Normal, non-famous everyone else, don’t take teen angst or pop culture too seriously. Like the egg that caused a felony vandalism case, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.
Did you have a teen idol? Share it with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.