TO all intents and purposes, I’ve got to say I agree with Justin Bieber on this one: Anne Frank did indeed seem like a “great girl”.
I don’t think many people would argue with that.
I have a friend who once said she came across a bit whiney in her diary. We tend to just talk about football these days.
But, yes, Anne Frank? A Jewish teenager who, through words of humour, hope and incomprehension at the cruelty she faced at the hands of the Nazis, became an eternal symbol of humanity in the face of wickedness; whose name will be remembered for centuries after her concentration camp death aged 15? Aye, I think ‘great’ sums her up.
Fortunately, however, when I visited the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam I had slightly better counsel than young Justin obviously did when he went this weekend.
Thus, whereas the teenage superstar noted in the guest book that “Anne was a great girl, hopefully she would have been a Belieber” – the name given to his tweeny fans – I was persuaded not to write: “Anne was a great girl, hopefully she would have been a Star reader”.
Which, it turns out, was a good job. Because Justin’s words have sparked the biggest pop backlash since...well, since he punched a pap last week.
Holocaust remembrance groups (who, let’s be honest, it’s difficult to take a moral high ground against) have said the remarks insensitive, while academic types like Owen Jones – a writer who gets a little fascist about his socialist views – called the singer, with some eloquence, “an arse”. Pop watchers, meanwhile, have questioned whether their prince is finally losing his grasp on reality.
Um, finally? This is a kid who’s been a multi-billionaire since before puberty, who recently attempted to smuggle a pet monkey into Germany, and who – lest we forget – once had a Sheffield girl dragged from a show because she threw a, er, Teddy bear on stage. Frankly, one suspects Justin and Reality haven’t been on nodding terms for some years.
And yet, somehow, I can’t see how this note in this guest book was anything other than really rather sweet.
Well, clearly I’ve now run out of space under The Star’s new design - brought to use by world class designers, you know - so I will explain all next week.
Something to look forward to, that. If you’re still buying the paper, obviously.