The internet loves to get offended. It seems like a feature of the larger, collective “internet”, comprised of multiple social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, and the “blogosphere”), is that it is a good place to get defensive and publicly put people on trial. The fact that it it can be fairly anonymous and can be done with little to no effort, people feel free to say what they really feel on the internet. If they are offended, or feel that something might offend some party, they feel the internet is a great place to let off some steam. This past Friday, Justin Bieber was traveling through Amsterdam on his European leg of his Believe world tour and made a stop at the Anne Frank House Museum to see some culture on his busy tour. With 37 million Twitter followers and 52 million “likes” on Facebook, the young man can barely do anything without being attacked on the internet. We all remember the uproar that was caused when a picture was released of Bieber smoking what appeared to be a marijuana cigarette. However, this time Bieber’s actions were all around harmless, but still resulted in a huge uproar from the internet, his Facebook and Twitter flooding with mean comments and even the creation of a page just to discuss how selfish and wrong Justin’s comment about Anne Frank was.
On his way out of the museum, the young pop star signed the guest book. He wrote that he hoped that Anne Frank “would be a belieber”–or a fan of his–if history were different. The full quote was “Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a Belieber.” It’s strange to think about these hypothetical situations, especially because the memory of Anne Frank holds a lot of sensitive associations with people. However, I believe that if Anne Frank was alive today, or if history had been different, she would have been a Belieber. Frank was 13 years old when she began keeping her diary in 1942. Like many teenage girls, she made a collage of the celebrities of her day — movie stars, dancers, and royalty — and kept it on her bedroom wall. Justin’s message applies to girls all over the world, and reaches them, too. His message is to “Believe” and never give up on your dreams. I think this is something that Anne Frank could have identified with, related to and gotten relief from, especially in her dire situation. However, the internet did not agree and was very offended by Justin’s comment. Even people who aren’t Holocaust survivors themselves–or even Jewish–get extremely offended about this sensitive subject. Museum spokeswoman Maatje Mostart said the museum was happy to have received Bieber and didn’t see anything offensive in his remarks. I agree with her, and I think the response of the internet accusing Justin of making the trip to the museum all about himself are misguided and just finding a reason to have something to dislike about him.