The topic of the day is Justin Bieber. I only utter that name when joking with my roommate about her “love” for the tween/teen idol, so deciding to write about him was a difficult decision. But, here’s some photographic evidence of our undying affection for the Biebz.
Time and time again, the nineteen year old pop star has demonstrated his lack of knowledge of geography, history, and culture. From calling the Sistine Chapel the “Sixteenth Chapel,” to not knowing the word “German,” despite his German heritage, to thinking Canada and the North Pole were continents, to his insensitive comments about being ”Part Indian…I think Inuit or something? I’m enough per cent that in Canada I can get free gas,” he has shown that he “ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed.”
The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples are among many who have voiced their concern over his comments. Of course, people have come to his defense in each instance, citing the hard-to-understand or intentionally deceiving interviewers, or the star’s jet lag and youth.
During his visit to the Anne Frank House, Justin wrote in the guest book, ”Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber.” Many people have found this extremely disrespectful and crass, while others, including relatives of Anne Frank, have justi(n)fied it by saying that that the visit itself is what matters, or that he could have done worse being in a city like Amsterdam.
Most recently, the Biebs got his pet capuchin monkey confiscated by German officials because he didn’t have the correct paperwork. As National Geographic stated, “People want to emulate celebrities they admire. When somebody like Justin Bieber is irresponsible and goes out and gets a pet monkey, he sets a very bad example.” His desire to show off the animal outweighed any need to research whether it is safe or appropriate to own a monkey (it’s highly controversial), much less travel with one.
I’m sure most of you have given in to the temptation and hummed along to or belted out a few bars of “Baby” or “Boyfriend;” there’s nothing wrong with that. There is something wrong with the fact that his is the most followed account on Twitter and that there are Facebook pages like “I don’t need a geography,Justin Bieber is my world” [sic] with over 80,000 fans.
People of all ages, upon hearing about the Boston bombing suspects, confused Chechnya and the Czech Republic and tweeted misinformation. The ignorance is astounding, and along with the obvious problems with our education system, having role models like Justin Bieber, who laughs at his own inability to remember the seven continents, has frightening implications.
Justin Bieber has been criticized for, among other things, posting a cartoon of him cuddling with a topless “Belieber,” walking around shirtless, publicly drinking and smoking weed, and fighting via Twitter. These are not the actions of someone who should be idolized, especially when most of his fans are elementary or middle-school-aged girls. Musicians in the limelight have a responsibility to their fans, and it is even more critical when those fans are in their formative years. Celebrities should not deny their mistakes or laugh at their ignorance, but rather, use these instances as teachable moments. However, as much as I’ve judged him, Justin Bieber has done some positive things, including donating to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, performing “Happy Birthday” for the American Cancer Society’s campaign, and spending a day visiting a young girl with cancer.
Hopefully, people, especially children, will learn to recognize and acknowledge the intelligence and influence of musicians like Bono or Alicia Keys, who use their wealth and status to benefit the world. Recognizing these core values will lead to a much smarter society, not one that thinks it is acceptable to reschedule exams solely because the Biebz is on tour.