Shock! Horror! Zayn Malik from the pop band One Direction appears to have been filmed smoking a joint whilst the pop band were on tour in South America.

Which it seems has caused certain areas of the British media and public to have an outbreak of moral outrage with demands for a 'Father Ted'-esque “Down with that sort of thing” condemnation.

Now, obviously, Pennyblackmusic certainly does not condone drug taking in any way but can't help but see society's double standards over this. And who knows if Malik really was smoking a bit of wacky baccy, and who really cares.

It would appear that those who profess to be most outraged are pretty much the same people who supported TV chef Nigella Lawson in her court case with her servants/domestic help/nannies (call them what you will). So what if she had tooted a little cocaine up her nose now and again? It was all done at home and she's nice and posh and middle-class and we like her and her cookery shows. And then, how dare the USA stop her from entering the country after confessing to take the narcotic. Those border guards should be more compassionate and bend the rules.

But our 20-something boy band member, Oooh, he's a naughty boy isn't he? Doesn't he know he's a role model for our teenage (and younger) generation and, largely, female followers. He should know better!

An argument that seems to rely on teenagers not watching Lawson flirt with the camera on TV. Youngsters will simply copy the actions of One Direction, but not Lawson. Er...

But there is that whole hypocrisy over drugs when it comes to music. Hedonistic rock stars taking drugs and being "elegantly wasted" - that's cool. Nice, clean-cut pop stars taking drugs - ooh, how naughty and bad and evil and corrupting.

Who has failed to hear of the antics of bands like Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, the Doors never mind the likes of Motley Crue whilst under the influence of (probably) a cocktail of intoxicants of both the legal and illegal variety? In fact, in all their examples their legendary, mythic status is admired for their drug intake. Pennyblack is reminded of the US comedian Bill Hicks, who commenting on the relationship between drugs and rock music, advocated those that were against drugs to go away and burn all their records as the vast majority were all made under the influence of one drug or another.

When it comes to our rock stars we want them to over-indulge, lead a large-than-life existence. We accept that they will take drugs, drink too much, party into the early hours of the morning and wake up in bed with a number of groupies. And we love them all the more for doing it.

But woe betide the poor little pop star for even thinking about smoking some Mary Jane. Tut, tut. Our pop stars have to lead an ultra-clean, blemish-free existence, not even daring to say boo to a goose.

The difference seems to happen over the difference in role models. Because the pop star is seen to appeal to a young, largely female audience they are then burdened with this notion of responsibility, to set an example to their so-called 'impressionable' audience. Whereas rock stars drawn their listeners from adults, who are mature enough to not be copycats of their idols.

It is an argument that has so many psychological flaws in it to be utterly redundant. Not only because I have never heard any pop star stand up and want to be counted as a role model. They are entertainers singing songs - usually about falling in love - nothing more. Certainly their audience may very well look up to them and admire them but role models, really? The position of role model is really forced on our pop star by society, not a role willingly taken on by them.

And the more society forces that situation on them the more chance of our teen idols rebelling strongly in one way or another. Pop music is littered with examples of stars rejecting the world they inhabited.

It's hard to imagine it now, but Scott Walker was one of the top heartthrobs of the 1960s, mobbed everywhere he went. So much so that it caused him to virtually withdraw from society as a whole and become a virtual recluse. Nowadays he sporadically makes challenging, avant-garde albums that only a few people listen to.

More recent examples are our pop princesses like Miley Cyrus and Britney Spears, to pick just two. Perhaps it is no coincidence that both rose to fame through Disney, a company that trades on its wholesome, clean-cut image. Nowadays Cyrus seems to like wearing very skimpy clothes and doing a lot of twerking whilst sticking her tongue out.

Never mind Spears and her school-girl get up for ' Baby One More Time' but the outrage over the song 'If U See Amy'. How very dare she! Disgusting!!! Can't have a woman actually expressing her sexuality now,can we? Let alone a wholesome, all-American pin-up. Get back to singing songs about young love, holding hands and kissing at the movies.

At the end of the day, Malik and his One Direction bandmates are really just young men, thrust into the spotlight and all with very large bank accounts, surrounded by a whole load of yes men and women who are fearful of saying no to their own meal ticket and who have hordes of screaming fans at their feet. They are still finding their way in the world. Like many a person at their age they're experimenting and searching for their own identity.







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