This week has just gone from bad to worse. As if the buildup to the Justin Bieber movie Never Say Never opening this weekend wasn't depressing enough. Then came news that Bristol Palin has gotten the green light from William Morrow & Co. for a memoir.
In case you hadn't noticed, the Biebs is only 16. The 20-year-old Palin just escaped her teens this past fall. Neither of the subjects of a major motion picture and a memoir from one of the nation's preeminent publishing houses are old enough to drink. Or rent a car. If their lives are interesting enough to make millions, what the heck does that say about America?
I'll grant you both Bieber and Bristol have had some pretty big moments. Major recording contract. Daughter of a vice presidential candidate. In today's America, the sky is the limit for teenagers, and they've both catapulted themselves above the clouds.
But if they've already reached so high they're biography-worthy, what does that say for their futures? For the future of America's kids? That the pinnacle is already reached? If you haven't reached the Biebs' status at 16, you've already failed?
He's a kid. A successful kid. But a kid worth a feature length film in 3D? I'd prefer to think you have to do something slightly bigger than that for the world. Think Gandhi. Margaret Thatcher. James Braddock even. Not a starring role on Dancing With the Stars or a song with Sean Paul.
Might I remind you of what happened to LeAnn Rimes? She reached the tippy top of stardom at 13 with the release of Blue and its skyrocket to the top of the Country Charts. Not that much younger than me, I remember staring at her on the cover of some magazine as a teenager while my own mother prattled on behind me about my -- by comparison -- lackluster ambitions. Younger than me, she was already eminently more successful, and the idea was that I should somehow aspire to be more like Rimes as I matured. And we all see how well that worked out. We gave her way too much credit for something that meant nil in the long run.
It's with the benefit of that hindsight that I look at the Biebs and Bristol's good news this week. They're accomplished, yes, but they're both so young that they do not yet have the experience to put their "life's work" in true perspective. They're young enough that there's plenty of time to give them major credit. But let's give them a chance to make something of their good start first.
Do you see this as too much too soon, or will you be checking out Never Say Never and buying Bristol's book?
Image via jake.auzzie/Flickr