Justin Bieber has caused quite a stir with his recent visit to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. The cause of the controversy is the note he left in the guest book: “Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber.”
Are you angry? You shouldn’t be.
First of all, let’s look at the facts. Extraordinary circumstances notwithstanding, Anne Frank was a typical teenage girl. In fact, Anne covered her bedroom wall with pictures of celebrities, just like today’s “beliebers.” That wall still stands in the Anne Frank House. It’s not inconceivable to think that if she’d been around today, that wall might have been adorned with pictures of Bieber and Robert Pattinson, rather than Joyce van der Veen and Deanna Durbin.
Next, we must remember that Bieber is himself just a teenager. Not only that, he’s a teenager who’s been surrounded by screaming fans and yes-men for the majority of his teenage years. I’d be surprised if he wasn’t a bit self-centered. For the past five years, all he’s heard is people assuring him that he’s the most important person in the world, and that all teenage girls worship him. That’s all he knows.
It’s also important to realize that Bieber is not a political figure. His every move is not scripted by speech writers to ensure that he always errs on the side of politically correct. Think back to some of the things you said and wrote at age 19. Would your every word hold up to the scrutiny of the media? Of the entire world? I know mine wouldn’t.
The bottom line is that Justin Bieber has been bred to be a self-centered teenager. Every time you read a magazine article about his new haircut, every time you tweet about the ridiculous outfit he wore to meet the Prime Minister of Canada, you’re only adding fuel to the fire. Can we really blame him for acting the way we’ve trained him? Let’s not forget that in 1966, John Lennon declared the Beatles to be “more popular than Jesus,” and we all got over that (eventually).
This post originally appeared on In the Powder Room.