I’m Appalled by Justin Bieber’s Anne Frank Message
Coming soon to a bookstore near you: The Diary of Justin Bieber. Or as I like to call it, Baby, Baby, Baby, Oh: Meet Me in the Attic, Anne.
As you’ve no doubt heard, teen deity Justin Bieber visited the Anne Frank House the other day while in Amsterdam for a concert. After an hour-long tour, he wrote in the guestbook: “Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber.”
For the pop-culture impaired, “beliebers” is what Bieber fans call themselves.
The museum was so touched by his inscription, it posted it on its official Facebook page, where it was seen by a sharp-eyed BBC correspondent. After confirming its veracity, she let fly a tweet.
Naturally, the twitterverse exploded. Bieber is the most popular human being on Twitter, with 37 million-plus followers—more than the entire population of his native Canada. Every other second, he gains a new follower, according to Twitter. Baby, baby, baby, oh, indeed.
Many were outraged by Bieber’s self-serving tone in reference to one of the most revered victims of the Holocaust. Others, including Anne Frank House officials and legions of beliebers, defended him. Whether his fans had ever actually heard of Anne Frank is a matter of pure speculation.
Personally, I’m appalled by Bieber’s misreading of his surroundings. Granted, he is only 19 (as of March 1st), but he—or one of his many handlers, surely—should have known better.
Anne Frank was not some teenybopper looking for Bieber’s autograph. Her diary is considered a Sacrament of the Holocaust; it has inspired millions around the world. She died in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945, of typhus. She was 15.
I have no idea what Bieber was thinking as he began to write. Perhaps he didn’t have the tools, or more likely the maturity, to put into words the enormity of what he had just experienced. Perhaps someone from his entourage gave him the lines.
Either way, he came off looking like a narcissistic child who had no business being in a holy place.
Anne was a great girl? Are pop stars really that obtuse, or is it just Canadian pop stars? Imagine a celebrity touring the birthplace of Christ in Bethlehem, and then writing: “Jesus was a great guy.”
Moreover, I’m shocked that Anne Frank officials posted Bieber’s note in the first place. How could they not have foreseen the backlash? It’s one thing to keep a celebrity note in a guestbook. Purposefully placing it in cyberspace is quite another. This was an embarrassment waiting to happen.
The irony is that Anne Frank, had she lived, could very well have been a Bieber fan. She loved Hollywood movie stars, and their pictures covered her wall. Also, she would have forgiven Bieber his semantics. As she wrote in her diary: “Despite everything, I believe people are really good at heart.”
Even the Biebster.