A lighthearted look at news, events, culture and everyday life in New York. The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.
By Nina Pajak
When I was younger, I wanted desperately to be a famous . . . something.
Actress? Singer? Princess-bunny-ballerina on world tour? Whatever. Sure, that thing.
I wanted, like so many young girls do, to live that glamorous lifestyle filled with handsome, exciting men, beautiful clothing, and flawless pores. Thankfully, one ill-advised summer (read: one week) at a Catskills performing arts camp filled with kids who actually enjoy the limelight and, well, the performing arts, cured me of this foolish, childish dream.
All my concerts since then have been in the car, along to the Les Miserables score. Not to brag or anything, but it’s been a pretty good run.
Anyway, nothing makes me cherish my youthful epiphany than when the celebrity world starts totally fritzing out all at once. So far, this week is proving quite fruitful.
Whether or not you were already following Justin Bieber’s Britney-rivaling, episodic child-star-gone-mad meltdown, you’ve likely heard about his recent faux pas. And no, it had nothing to do with paparazzi confrontations or pants falling down or getting kicked out of clubs. The Biebs was in Amsterdam this past weekend and took in all the usual sights, including the Anne Frank House. Ever the thoughtful guest, he left a gracious message in the guestbook which the museum unwittingly shared with the public:
“Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber.”
The comment sparked a combination of outrage among people with even cursory knowledge of 20th century history and virulent defense from real, live beliebers who haven’t gotten to that chapter in the textbook yet because they’re probably ten and likely not Jewish.
There are many things that make the statement problematic, but let’s break it down a little:
“Anne was a great girl.” This is stock pop star blabber. Of course, it’s not untrue, but it’s completely inane and meaningless. Was she a great girl like that girl whose arm you just signed was a great girl? Was she a great girl like Joan of Arc was a great girl? Read a book, kid. Expand your vocabulary. It’s not your fault, but I’d seriously consider the money spent on childhood tutoring if I were you.
“Hopefully she would have been a belieber.” It’s not so shocking to me that a boy who has been a pop icon and the center of the world for shrieking young girls since he was prepubescent would be a tad narcissistic. And you know what? I’m not so sure he’s totally wrong that Anne Frank would have been a belieber. I mean, I certainly don’t think it would have been foremost in her mind, and obviously I would prefer that a young person would glean a little more understanding after learning about her extraordinary character and resilience and luminosity in the face of evil. Yes. All of that. But before she was forced into terrible circumstances, she was a normal girl. She was happy and social and active and engaged. Had she been born in 2003, perhaps she would have indulged in a little Biebermania. But that isn’t the point. It’s the hopefully that gets me. He doesn’t just leave the museum envisioning her as yet another screaming, hormonal fan. He hopes she would have been. He wants her to have been a fan. The greatest honor he can muster up to bestow upon the memory of Anne Frank is that he would like for her to have joined the millions of people who adore him.
Oy, Justy. Maybe you want to take another spin around the museum, this time with your headphones out of your ears.
In other celebrity news, the unimpeachable Hugh Jackman has been attacked! A woman burst into a West Village gym where he was working out this weekend and began screaming and crying about her love for him. Then she hurled an electric razor filled with hair in his direction and took off down the street before being arrested and, hopefully, thrown into the padded room. You’ve just got to love this city. Even our crazies are cooler than other crazies. An electric razor filled with hair? The derangement is too excellent. You can’t write this stuff. I understand that Mr. Jackman is shaken, but I hope one day we can all laugh about this.