To paraphrase internet celebrity Chris Crocker, Leave Justin Alone.
Let’s start with two things we don’t know. First, we don’t really know anything about Justin Bieber. All of our opinions about him are mediated by publicists, reporters, bloggers, and lots and lots of spin.
Second, we don’t know that much about Anne Frank. We do know that she had posters of teen idols up on her wall, and that she was hardly the saintly figure her hagiographers have created. That too is a product of spin.
So, when Justin Bieber visited the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam — not a usual stop on the teen-idol itinerary — and wrote: “Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber,” we are all free to come to our own uninformed conclusions.
Personally, I’m pretty sure Anne Frank would’ve been a Belieber. The point of freedom is not for 13-year-old girls to be martyrs or saints, but for them to be young girls, full of the same lightness and triviality that young girls (and boys) everywhere are, if they are lucky. Let’s not hold our icons so solemnly.