TIME psychology

Kanye West: Narcissist of the Day

Oh, sit down: Kanye in Sydney, where everyone must stand
Oh, sit down: Kanye in Sydney, where everyone must stand Mark Metcalfe; Getty Images

Jeffrey Kluger is Editor at Large for TIME.

Insisting that your audience members stand before you'll perform is just bad form—especially when some of them can't stand

Memo to Kanye West: The “O” in “standing O” doesn’t stand just for ovation; it also stands for optional. That’s worth remembering the next time you insist that your entire audience—every single one of them—stand up before you’ll even begin a song, especially if, as is often the case, there are people in that same audience who, you know, can’t stand up.

Precisely that unseemly scene played out over the weekend in Sydney, Australia, when West stopped his show and informed the crowd—who had, as is the custom, paid money to see him perform—that, “I decided I can’t do this song, I can’t do the rest of the show until everybody stands up.” There would, he allowed, be exceptions: “Unless you got a handicap pass and you get special parking and sh*t.”

So everyone stood up, except for two people who, as it turned out, did have “special parking and sh*t.” One was in a wheelchair; the other had a prosthetic limb, which initially did not stop the crowd from booing them and chanting, “Stand up, stand up, stand up,” as West egged them on. “This is the longest I’ve had to wait to do a song,” he griped. “It’s unbelievable!”

Finally, the woman removed her prosthesis and waved it over her head and West polled the people around the wheelchair-bound man: “Now if he is in a wheelchair, that’s fine. He in a wheelchair, there? Only if he’s in a wheelchair.” At last, the fabulously rich entertainer agreed to perform for the disabled audience members.

Yes, there is cellphone camera footage of this; yes, West surely knew there would be. And no, he didn’t give a fig.

This is, as I write in my book The Narcissist Next Door, the same Kanye West who famously interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV awards to announce that Beyonce should have won the award; the West who responded on his blog to the B+ score Entertainment Weekly had given one of his concerts with this blast: “What’s a B+ mean? I’m an extremist, its either pass or fail! A+ or F-! You know what, f**k you and the whole f*****g staff!” And the West who had this to say (in the third person, of course) about, well, Kanye West: “I think what Kanye West is going to mean is something similar to what Steve Jobs means. I am undoubtedly, you know, Steve of Internet, downtown, fashion, culture. Period. By a long jump.”

West is hardly the entertainment world’s only raging narcissist. Indeed, it’s an industry-wide affliction. Narcissism is measured by the Narcissistic Personality Inventory, a 40-question survey with a theoretical bottom score of 0 and high score of 40. But only a few points either way can make a difference. The average American weighs in at about 15.5, depending on age, gender and a few other variables. Inmates convicted of violent crimes score from 21.5 to 23. Celebrities don’t fall far shy of those stratospheric highs, coming in at 18.27, according to one study of 200 stars by pop psychologist Drew Pinsky.

But just which kind of celeb you are makes a difference. Reality show stars—no surprise—top the list at 19.45, followed by comedians at 18.89, actors at 18.45 and musicians at 16.67. That last, comparatively low figure makes sense because, as University of Georgia psychologist Keith Campbell told me, “If you’re a musician, you’ve got to play in a band.” Subsuming the individual into the group—the me into The Who, say—is not something the most florid narcissists would permit.

The musician rule is less applicable, of course, if you’re an individual performer like Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber or West, because you are the sole—or at least central—star on the stage. West’s star was surely tarnished by his stunt in Sydney—judging at least by the Internet blowback it’s received. But will he care? No he won’t. Will he change? Not a bit. Audiences, of course, could respond on their own, choosing to remain seated—or better yet, not showing up at all. Even a narcissist would notice an empty hall—and, worse, an empty till.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Music

Troye Sivan: ‘Pop Music Is In Such an Exciting Place Right Now’

Troye Sivan
Actor Troye Sivan attends the 4th Annual Streamy Awards presented by Coca-Cola on Sept. 7, 2014 in Beverly Hills, Calif. Kevin Winter—DCP/Getty Images

The 19-year-old YouTube sensation talks about his new EP

Troye Sivan is on the cusp of mainstream superstardom: the 19-year-old South African-Australian pop star is making a name for himself with the release of his latest EP, TRXYE, which quickly topped the iTunes Charts in 58 countries upon its release. Sivan built an ardent fanbase on YouTube, where his channel has more than 3 million followers; he signed with EMI Australia shortly after releasing a song and video inspired by the book The Fault in Our Stars. Not only did he garner the attention of fellow lovers of Fault, but author (and fellow YouTube star) John Green became a fan, too.

“I know it sounds cheesy,” Sivan says. “But the book genuinely changed my life. I didn’t know what to do besides go to my piano and try to write something about it.” All proceeds from the song have been donated to Princess Margaret Hospital for children in Perth, which is still benefiting from its sales.

Sivan’s first major-label EP features dark pop that marries intimate lyrics with electronic sounds. TIME caught up with him to hear more about what’s next for the up-and-comer.

TIME: Has your career felt like a whirlwind recently?

Troye Sivan: I didn’t expect this at all — it’s been crazy!

Your song meant a lot to “The Fault in Our Stars” fans. As a fan yourself, were you pleased with the movie?

I think they nailed it, and I’m super proud of John Green. He’s always been such a big supporter and I know that he even tried to get the song in the movie. He’s such a nice guy and it feels really cool that we both came from YouTube, and his creative work changed my life.

Where else do you find your inspiration?

When I got signed and started to write for the EP, I didn’t know what it was going to be. I feel like part of getting better at writing is knowing where to find that inspiration. Right after something happens to me, the first thing I’ll do is go write when those feelings are really, really fresh. I’ll hum a tune into my phone sometimes.

Speaking of your phone, you’re very active on social media — what does it take to get your attention on Twitter?

The ones that I tend to notice will be people who are funny. I love, love, love how I have a witty and funny audience so when they’re funny, I can’t help but respond and get involved.

Do you like being called the next Justin Bieber?

I don’t mind it — it’s flattering. I get it because we both came from YouTube and I’m super proud of what he’s done professionally. I think that the music is a little different, but I’ll let people be the judge of that.

What is some of your favorite music right now?

I’m listening to a lot of Broods, a band from New Zealand. And Wet is a band from New York that I’m really loving. I think pop music is in such an exciting place right now and I do kind of credit that to Lorde with “Royals.” I think that song changed everything in the pop scene. All of the sudden, alternative pop music became pop music.

TIME Crime

Justin Bieber Charged With Assault, Dangerous Driving in Canada

Chris Brown Hosts VMA Pre-Party
Justin Bieber attends a VMA Pre-Party on August 23, 2014 in Los Angeles. Araya Diaz—Getty Images

Allegedly got into a fight after car crash

Now Canada can join the list of countries where Justin Bieber has gotten into trouble with the law. The 20-year-old pop sensation was arrested Friday in his native country after he allegedly got into a fight after a car crash.

Bieber got into a “physical altercation” with an occupant of the other car after a collision near Perth, Ontario, according to the police report, which resulted in charges for assault and dangerous driving. He’s scheduled to appear in court on Sept 29.

The 20-year-old’s brushes with the law have become more frequent in recent months. He was accused of attempted robbery of a cell phone in May, and pled no contest to vandalism charges in July after egging a neighbor’s home. He made a large donation to charity in August as part of a settlement for his DUI charge in Miami.

TIME celebrities

Justin Bieber Won’t Go to Jail on That Miami DUI Charge

Justin Bieber
This Jan. 23, 2014 file photo made available by the Miami Beach Police Dept., shows Justin Bieber at the police station in Miami Beach, Fla. AP

But he's not out of legal hot water yet

Justin Bieber is basically off the hook for engaging in what looked like an illegal drag race through Miami this past winter. On Wednesday, he will plead guilty to two misdemeanor charges — careless driving and resisting arrest without violence — as part of a court deal to avoid the initial driving-under-the-influence charge that could have yielded more serious legal consequences.

He won’t be serving any jail time, to the relief of Beliebers everywhere. Instead, he’ll make a charitable donation of $50,000 and take an anger-management course, Variety reports.

Police in Miami Beach pulled him over after midnight on Jan. 23 for driving at excessive speeds — as fast as 130 m.p.h. at one point — in a rented Lamborghini. Reports say he had marijuana and Xanax in his system at the time.

Bieber has had his fair deal of legal trouble recently. Last month, he paid more than $80,000 in damages after egging a neighbor’s house in Los Angeles. In his hometown of Toronto, meanwhile, he faces charges of assaulting a limo driver last December, though his attorneys — who will appear in his stead in court on Wednesday — insist he’s innocent.

TIME Internet

These Are the 10 Most Popular Music Videos on YouTube

PSY pretty much blows everyone else out of the water

You know which music videos you like to watch incessantly — but what about the rest of the world? YouTube has put together a playlist compiling its 10 most-viewed music videos ever to pay homage to the artists racking up the heftiest numbers of streams.

Here are the winners, along with the amount of views provided by YouTube. Of course, those stats are likely to continue climbing.

1. PSY – Gangnam Style

2,052,142,296 views

2. Justin Bieber ft. Ludacris – Baby

1,060,638,016 views

3. Jennifer Lopez ft. Pitbull – On The Floor

767,272,725 views

4. Eminem ft. Rihanna – Love The Way You Lie

716,231,316 views

5. LMFAO ft. Lauren Bennett, GoonRock – Party Rock Anthem

713,191,153 views

6. Miley Cyrus – Wrecking Ball

685,767,350 views

7. Lady Gaga – Bad Romance

594,483,912 views

8. Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe

570,877,802 views

9. Don Omar ft. Lucenzo – Danza Kuduro

575,283,830 views

10. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Wanz – Thrift Shop

554,588,442 views

 

TIME celebrities

Justin Bieber Must Complete Anger Management, Pay Fine for Egging Incident

The pop star pleaded no contest to one count of vandalism

Updated at 8:45 p.m. ET

Justin Bieber pleaded no contest on Wednesday to one count of vandalism for egging a neighbor’s house earlier this year. As a part of his plea deal, CNN reports, the Canadian popstar will have to pay $80,900 in restitution. He will also be on probation for two years and is will be required to complete 12 weekly anger management courses and five days of community service.

Bieber’s neighbor claimed that he caught the “Baby” singer throwing eggs at his house on tape in January. On Wednesday, Bieber was ordered to stay 100 yards away from the victim family. Earlier this year, authorities searched the 19-year-old’s home for surveillance footage of the incident and subsequently arrested Bieber’s rapper friend 20-year-old Lil Za.

Lil Za was charged with felony possession of Ectasy and oxycodone and faces up to nine years in prison.

TIME celebrities

Here’s Another Video of Justin Bieber Being Racist

amfAR Gala - 67th Cannes Film Festival
Canadian singer Justin Bieber attends the Cinema Against AIDS amfAR gala 2014 held at the Hotel du Cap, Eden Roc in Cap d'Antibes, France, 22 May 2014. Hubert Boesl—dpa/AP

The singer replaces "girl" with the n-word.

A video emerged Wednesday showing a young Justin Bieber singing a racist parody of his popular song “One Less Lonely Girl,” the second time in the last week the pop star has been depicted making racist comments.

The video, published by TMZ, shows a 14-year-old Bieber sitting in a chair and giggling as he croons the tune while replacing the word “girl” with the n-word.

“One less lonely n—-r,” Bieber sings. “If I kill you, I’d be a part of the KKK, and there’s gonna be one less lonely n—-r.”

Bieber was reportedly singing a parody of his song he had seen on YouTube. Bieber apologized last Sunday after a video emerged that showed him telling a racist joke. He said that at the time of the video’s creation, he “thought it was OK to repeat hurtful and jokes.”

“I didn’t realize at the time that it wasn’t funny and that in fact my actions were continuing the ignorance,” he said in a statement to the Associated Press.

“I’m very sorry,” Bieber said. “I take all my friendships with people of all cultures very seriously and I apologize for offending or hurting anyone with my childish and inexcusable behavior.”

TMZ reports that Bieber and his representatives wanted the video released so he can take responsibility for his actions.

TIME celebrity

SNL’s Kate McKinnon Shares the Secret to a Flawless Justin Bieber Impression

File this advice away for the next time you want to go as the Biebs for Halloween

When Kate McKinnon plays Justin Bieber on Saturday Night Live, she somehow manages to simultaneously nail it while also completely overdoing it. The result is always delightful and ridiculous. When she appeared on Conan last night, he decided to ask just how she manages to pull it off.

“What’s the key to inhabiting Justin Bieber?” Conan asks. “How do you become Justin Bieber?”

She ponders this question for a moment, then thoughtfully replies, “It’s looking like a puppy who just piddled and is sort of sorry about it.”

McKinnon has also had the privilege of meeting him in real life, so she’s gotten a chance to absorb his essence. “He’s very beautiful to look at,” the SNL performer says. “He has the swagger of a gang leader with the face of a member of the Sistine Chapel.”

In case you’ve yet to see her Bieber impression, check out this clip about four minutes in:

 

TIME celebrities

Justin Bieber’s Racist Joke Apology Actually Gets It Right

Justin Bieber
Justin Bieber performs on March 23, 2013, in Bologna, Italy Roberto Serra / Iguana Press / Redferns via Getty Images

The pop singer's mea culpa hit all the right notes

Over the weekend, when video footage surfaced of Justin Bieber telling a racist joke, the cycle of celebrity scandal kicked into high gear. The video was posted by TMZ in the morning; by the evening, the Associated Press had an apology out of him.

The only thing unexpected about the order of events? Even though the joke is awful — and in some ways made worse by the fact that he was unconcerned enough about it to say it in front of a camera crew — the apology itself is solid.

As TIME’s Katy Steinmetz reported last month, when Donald Sterling was the celebrity-apology story of the moment, there are a few points that experts look for when assessing whether an apology is forgiveness-worthy, a no-go or just plain weird. You can read Bieber’s whole statement over at The Hollywood Reporter, but here are the points that make it pass muster:

  1. Bieber states what he did wrong and admits that it’s wrong: “I thought it was ok to repeat hurtful words and jokes, but didn’t realize at the time that it wasn’t funny and that in fact my actions were continuing the ignorance.”
  2. He says he’s sorry and owns the mistake, rather than using cop-outs like refusing to take responsibility (“mistakes were made”) or placing blame for being offended on those who are (“sorry if you’re offended”): “I’m very sorry. I take my friendships with people of all cultures very seriously and I apologize for offending or hurting anyone with my childish and inexcusable mistake.”
  3. He explains why the error is not one that he’ll make again, along with his hopes that his apology will help others do a better job of not making the same mistakes: “I was a kid then and I am a man now who knows my responsibility to the world and to not make that mistake again. Ignorance has no place in our society and I hope the sharing of my faults can prevent others from making the same mistake in the future.”

His only potential misstep comes with mentions of his age at the time, which can get a little close to making excuses or implying that the mistake was less bad than it seems. But, as a bonus, Bieber’s apology manages to fold in a nod to the deeper problem at hand, “the power of certain words and how they can hurt.” There’s no “I didn’t mean anything by it,” and he acknowledges that, even if he doesn’t think his joke was expressing a real racist sentiment, he was still participating in a larger history of racism. Even though he characterizes telling the joke as a “mistake,” he’s not saying that he accidentally spoke words he didn’t mean to say but that he didn’t understand what the words he said on purpose really meant.

So, kudos to Justin Bieber, or at least to whichever member of his entourage crafted the statement. But then again, maybe we shouldn’t be surprised: it was less than two months ago that he got some practice, apologizing for visiting a contentious shrine to Japan’s war dead.

TIME celebrities

15-Year-Old Justin Bieber Tells Racist Joke in Resurfaced Video

A 15-year-old Bieber made a racist joke in a clip from his Never Say Never days

Updated 7:22 p.m. E.T.

Justin Bieber probably should have listened to whoever told him, “Don’t even say it.”

The 20-year-old singer has issued a statement of public apology to the Associated Press for a racist joke he told five years ago, seen in a recently surfaced clip published on the website of British tabloid the Sun.

In the clip, a then 15-year-old Bieber repeats the N-word several times as part of a crude punch line, while laughing, despite protests from his team.

Bieber’s camp knew about the existence of the footage and was willing to pay to keep it from surfacing, the Sun reported.

Though “Spoiled Teenager Says Regrettable, Dumb Thing” could be an Onion headline at this point, TMZ — which claims it had the clip years ago but declined to post it because of Bieber’s age and his subsequent admission of stupidity (not included in the clip) — initially reported that Bieber was “frustrated and sad” by the turn of events.

In the apology Sunday, “Bieber said when he was a kid he didn’t realize how certain words could hurt. He says he learned from his mistakes and apologized for them, and now is apologizing again because they have become public,” the AP said.

The video was reportedly recorded during the making of the performer’s 2011 concert documentary, Never Say Never.

[TMZ]

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