Justin Bieber gets Anne Frank

Anne FrankI can’t believe I’m doing this, but I am going to defend Justin Bieber. The singer, who for some reason is immensely popular right now with girls around the age Anne Frank was when she died (15), went to Amsterdam, and while there visited the Anne Frank museum.

Afterward he wrote in the guest book “Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber,” that being the affectionate term that Bieber’s fans use to identify themselves. Now he is being attacked for being a egotistical moron.

Well of course he’s egotistical! He’s a 19! He also happens to be the center of a great deal of attention the last few years and made tons of money from it. (I hope he’s saving and investing it, because this delirium will pass). Justin Bieber is in the teen idol business and he sees a lot of 15 year old girls in that line of work. To him, there are two kinds: beliebers and non-beliebers. I don’t want to shock you, so sit down for this: He prefers the former. He thinks they are very perceptive and have the good taste to like his music.

While she waxed poetic about the tree outside her window, love, war and other “important” issues, she was also very interested in the pop culture of the time. She had pictures of movie stars on her bedroom wall, torn from the pages of movie star publicity magazines, which, presumably, she also read with teenage excitement. If you actually read and studied her, maybe if you visited The Anne Frank House in Amsterdam like Bieber did, you would know that.

But he’s not a moron, or heartless, or whatever else he’s being accused of. He no doubt saw that Anne was quite excited about the popular culture of her day, so it is not out of line for him to project that onto himself (see 19 year old male, above). In fact, I think Justin Bieber gets Anne Frank in a way that those who are screaming bloody murder about his harmless comment do not.

There’s also the little matter of that word “hopefully” — used, I think, with some self-awareness and perhaps even humility.

The administrators of the Anne Frank House put out a statement in which they wisely try to stay out of the (faux) controversy, and say that the important thing is that Bieber was interested enough to come to the museum to visit. I concur. I would bet you that a lot of teen girls who count themselves as “beliebers” are reading Anne Frank’s diary right now because of Justin Bieber. A pretty serious accomplishment for a teen idol.

Look, when I was 15 I was a huge Monkees fan. Somehow I grew up to be a serious person anyway, and I don’t recall any Monkee, even Peter, the “serious in real life” one who was my favorite, ever steered me to important reading material that could enhance my thinking about the world and my place in it.

I think I know what Anne Frank would say to Bieber’s attackers if she were here, whether she was 15 or 85: Is this really the most important problem in the world right now for you to rant about?

I just would like to get a message to Justin: Next time you’re in Atlanta, I know a place for you to visit.

2 thoughts on “Justin Bieber gets Anne Frank

  1. Camille Landry

    I had a similar response to Beiber’s comments. I felt he was saying that Anne Frank was just a teenager. A young woman thrust into terrible circumstances, who only wanted to live her life like anybody else. Her diary reflects this.

    The worst part of the Sho’ah (Holocaust) is that it destroyed millions of very ordinary people, all of whom were robbed of their rights to live very ordinary lives. And it is precisely their ordinariness that is to be cherished. One does not have to find a cure for cancer or create world peace in order for one’s life to be valued. Just the fact that Anne Frank was an ordinary girl makes her life precious.

    I wish Ann Frank could’ve lived to be a belieber. I wish she could have practiced dancing in front of a mirror, had crushes on cute classmates, dreamed about handsome movie stars, practiced writing her name as Mrs (insert crush-of-the-week), picked out a dress for her class dance, gotten married or not, raised a passel of healthy babies — or not, and lived to a ripe old age. Or done whatever it is that would bring her joy.

    Including listening to Justin Beiber’s music.

  2. Rena Post author

    Good point, Camille.

    I also want to add that I’m really also defending teenage girls with pop star crushes. I think that’s the real basis of this attack on Bieber’s comment. To say that he doesn’t have talent and that his fans are stupid and shallow.

    That’s why I have edited the post to strike the phrase “for some reason” in the second sentence. I have no clue whether Bieber has talent or how much, whether his success is justified or not. I don’t follow music and am quite sure I have never heard anything Bieber has done. So I’m not going to question his fans’ taste.

    Anyway, to a large extent, talent has little to do with the level of fame one achieves in the entertainment world these days. It’s run by people who only care about money.

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