The Frank-Bieber Test

Justin Bieber hopes that Anne Frank would've been a Belieber. This has upset a lot of people, but I really can't count myself among them. I feel like it should, but it doesn't seem like a huge transgression worthy of outrage. If he was making asian poses in front of Auschwitz (which I saw when I was there, and god damn if it didn't take every ounce of my strength not to smack the tourists doing it), that's a totally different story, but all he did was expressed his respect for her in the context of his life's work. Self-absorbed? Sure, but not worthy of an outpouring of scorn.

And why wouldn't Anne Frank be a Belieber? I think his fashion sense is atrocious since he's become famous and he has a history of saying dumb things, but the world isn't a worse place for his music. He makes saccharine inoffensive pop songs for teenage girls. His lyrics aren't misogynistic, they're not overly materialistic. It seems to me that there's far more worthy targets of rage in pop music today. Chris Brown leaps to mind.

What I think this episode illuminates is a handy test for whether a piece of pop culture is good, bad, or just kinda inert for our society... I'm going to call it the Frank-Bieber test (ladies first, naturally). The level of revulsion I would feel at learning that the creator of a work hopes Anne Frank would love it is how good or bad for us that thing is. If Michael Bay said he thought a lot about making a movie Anne Frank would love when he worked on Transformers 2... Yeah, that feeling tells me everything I need to know about that movie.

Stephanie Meyer. Kanye West. Steven Spielberg.

I don't care for Justin Bieber or his music, but the vitriol being thrown his way over this just feels like hate for hate's sake... a subject which Anne Frank probably had an opinion or two on.


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