In the Spring of 2013, Canadian pop star Justin Bieber made headlines when he left a memorable message in the guestbook of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
“Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber,” Bieber wrote. The tourist site posted the message on its Facebook page.
Adolescent and teen girls obsessed with the Canadian singer are known as “beliebers.”
It was, most agreed, bad form. Bieber was subject to widespread ridicule, with a sizable faction arguing that if his takeaway from Frank’s harrowing plight was that with any luck she would have worshiped the ground he walked on, dude was narcissistic. Young Bieber seemed to learn his lesson from the backlash, and the world never had to contend with another famous, self-obsessed fool failing to grasp basic Holocaust guestbook etiquette again.
President Trump’s message in a guestbook at Israel’s main Holocaust memorial and museum has drawn some ridicule for its failure to demonstrate sensitivity to the atrocities remembered at the site.
“It is a great honor to be here with all of my friends — so amazing + will never forget!” Trump wrote during his visit to Yad Vashem in Jerusalem today.
“Wow, what a great time! Who knew museums could be so fun?!” In Trump’s defense, he did not write that he hoped the collective victims of the Nazi regime would have been the Trumpian equivalent of Beliebers (I think the word is “fascists”?). On the other hand, this is far from the first time he/his administration have downplayed, misremembered, or otherwise displayed an appalling tactlessness regarding the Holocaust.
In the spirit of entertainment journalism, we have to ask: Who did it better – Justin Bieber or the president?
(Year Zero/Day One Hundred and Twenty-Four)