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So who is the bigger bad boy: Bieber or Sinatra?

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POSTED February 7, 2014 12:23 a.m.

I cannot name a Justin Bieber song.

And when it comes to Miley Cyrus, after her father Billy Ray Cyrus gave the world “Achy Breaky Heart” I have no desire to hear what his offspring could sing.

I guess that’s why I really don’t care what either one of them are doing. I’m sure they think they’re cool just like predecessors who pushed the envelope. Names of bad boys like Frank Sinatra and Mick Jagger come to mind.

And while I’m certainly not defending the antics of Sinatra or Jagger over the years, they seem less coarse and less obscene. But then again were they?

Vandalism is vandalism. Drag racing is drag racing. Exposing your underwear and body parts one doesn’t expect to see in a relatively public place outside of a nudist camp is pushing the limits of taste and vulgarity especially when it is accompanied by animalistic thrusts and gestures.

That said, let’s be honest. It is about money — lots and lots of money.

Sinatra was the original boy idol. Girls in the zoot suit age were fawning and screaming over him much the way others would one day over Elvis, The Beatles, and teeny bopper sensations ranging from Leif Garrett, Shaun Cassidy and Bobby Sherman to Justin Bieber. What gave some boy singers staying power over others as they passed into manhood was essentially becoming bad boys. Sinatra as he got older was no angel. He attracted plenty of media attention that translated into invaluable publicity. The bad boy behavior helped pump up his sagging popularity to set the stage for him becoming a singing super star. No publicity is bad publicity when you’re a celebrity marketing yourself

Bieber is no different except it has never been alleged that he has ties with organized gangs like the mafia. And who knows, maybe when he’s 55 Bieber will pack them in at a Las Vegas casino.

Cyrus didn’t create twerking. The sexually provocative dance moves have been around since the late 1990s but took place typically inside dark night clubs. And when it comes to vulgarity how does her twerking compare to Michael Jackson’s hand on his crotch?

In all honesty Bieber’s alleged transgressions are relatively tame. He isn’t the first 19-year-old to egg a house. It’s just that when you’re rich and your neighbors are rich you tend to have an inflated concept of basic shelter which means instead of using materials the little people use that you have expensive siding.

Ask yourself this question: Would the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department had sent out 12 deputies to conduct a search for egg throwing evidence if the house hit had belonged to a working stiff and the alleged suspect was an overgrown run-of-the-mill brat? Of course not. You’d be told to file a report on line and that’d be the end of it.

Bieber isn’t the first arrogant rich person to drag race in an expensive sports car. And he won’t be the last.

Then there were reports that the private jet Bieber chartered to go to the Super Bowl with his entourage that included his father was so full of pot smoke that the pilots had to use air masks out of fear they’d test positive for marijuana in their systems.

At least he wasn’t freebasing cocaine like some accident investigators contend Ricky Nelson may have been doing when his DC-3 caught fire killing six people.

In no way am I condoning either Bieber’s behavior or that of Sinatra.

That said I like Sinatra’s music but not his antics. I’m sure I’ve heard a Bieber song or two but it’s obviously not my type of music. As long as it isn’t vulgar rap crap, Bieber can sing all he wants and not provoke a peep of criticism about his music from me.

Having said that Googling his lyrics I was hard pressed to find anything that isn’t sexually suggestive. Does that make it vulgar? Besides, have you ever really listened to some Sinatra songs?

I don’t dispute the coarseness that Bieber and Cyrus have been known to display. It’s nothing new. Think Elvis. Think Jagger. And try not to think about Lady Gaga.

At the risk of sounding like both a feminist and hardcore social conservative rolled into one, sexual innuendos in songs objectify women and demeans love at the same time.

When we define civilized behavior whose yardstick are we using? I hope not the Romans, nor the hypocrites of the Victorian Era.

But at the same time at least the Romans and the Victorians weren’t allowing the actions of 19-year-olds dictate society’s discussion on coarseness.

The real issue is for adults to behave like adults while at the same time not being hypocrites while being tolerant. In other words, they need to set examples by their behavior if they want society to maintain standards of some sorts that are essential for people to peacefully interact in society.

There is a fine, never-ending balancing act between individual behavior and societal standards.

Adults would have much more street creed with younger generations if they focused appropriate outrage at questionable behavior of adults in positions of influence whether they are the politically powerful or others that assume the mantle of leading instead of saving it exclusively for those still in the throes of puberty.

This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.  He can be contacted at or (209) 249-3519.

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