Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage from

Justin Bieber, time to shut up

By Dean Obeidallah, Special to CNN
updated 5:46 AM EDT, Wed April 17, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Dean Obeidallah: At Anne Frank House, Bieber said he hoped she would have been "belieber"
  • Obeidallah: Comment redefines narcissism, but on bright side, his fans learned of Holocaust
  • He says in effort to show he's a grown-up, Bieber has been in tailspin of public misbehavior
  • Obeidallah: Bieber should take a page from Justin Timberlake, forget about aim to be tough guy

Editor's note: Dean Obeidallah, a former attorney, is a political comedian and frequent commentator on various TV networks including CNN. He is the editor of the politics blog The Dean's Report and co-host of a new CNN podcast "The Big Three" that looks at the top three stories of the week. Follow him on Twitter @deanofcomedy.

(CNN) -- Just when you think teen superstar Justin Bieber couldn't possibly do anything dumber, he does something that makes you do a double face palm. Bieber is truly achieving the impossible: He's making Lindsay Lohan look good.

So what did Bieber do this time? Well, over the weekend he stopped at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. This museum is dedicated to preserving the memory of Anne Frank, whose chronicle of her family's efforts to hide from the Nazis during World War II would later become "The Diary of Anne Frank."

Bieber ended his visit by writing in the Holocaust memorial's guest book: "Truly inspiring to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber."

Dean Obeidallah
Dean Obeidallah

For those who wonder what he's talking about, a "belieber" is a term used to describe one of Bieber's devoted fans. Apparently Bieber's take-away from visiting this Holocaust memorial was that he hoped that Anne Frank would've been a fan of his music. He may have just redefined the word "narcissistic."

There is a silver lining to this. Some of his young fans tweeted that they had never heard of Anne Frank. Consequently, the controversy surrounding his comments apparently raised awareness about the horrors of the Holocaust to some young people previously unfamiliar with it. And the Anne Frank House praised Bieber's visit.

It was being gracious. But Bieber really needs to stop talking for a while. And I don't say that as someone who harbors an inappropriate amount of dislike for the teen singer. In fact, last May I wrote a piece for CNN.com defending and actually sympathizing with Bieber when he had an altercation with the paparazzi.

But that was almost a year ago. Since then, Bieber has become unbearable.

Become a fan of CNNOpinion
Stay up to date on the latest opinion, analysis and conversations through social media. Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion and follow us @CNNOpinion on Twitter. We welcome your ideas and comments.



In the last month alone, we have watched Bieber caught on tape being restrained by his bodyguards as he unleashed a stream of obscenities and threatened members of the paparazzi with physical violence. He also allegedly spit in the face of one of his neighbors and threatened him after the neighbor complained that Bieber was driving his Ferrari at 100 mph in their gated community.

Then we saw Bieber storm out of his March birthday party like a spoiled child calling it the "worst birthday." He went on to show up almost an hour late for his concert in London. And in January, photos surfaced of Bieber smoking what the website TMZ said appeared to be weed with his friend rapper, Lil Twist.

I get it. Bieber wants the world to know he isn't a kid anymore. So he has decided to go the "bad ass" route.

But Bieber will never, ever be the tough guy he wants to be. Why? For starters, he's Canadian. When you think Canada, you think nice, often overly polite people -- not thugs.

Bieber skips apology, goes shirtless
Is criticism of Justin Bieber fair?

Second, Bieber is 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs 130 pounds. Those measurements say "horse jockey," not scary guy. (Sure, actor Joe Pesci is only 5 feet 4 inches tall and known as a tough guy, but Pesci is Sicilian and was born in Newark, New Jersey, not London, Ontario.)

Bieber is clearly heading down the path of many child stars desperate to make the transformation into grown-up star. But his actions are not getting him there. Instead, he is becoming a walking punch line.

He has a few options. He could simply retire and enjoy his wealth. Estimates are that he is worth more than $100 million. Not bad for a 19-year-old kid -- from Canada. But it's unlikely that Bieber will take that route.

The other option is to avoid the fate of past teen stars who have ended up behind bars or worse as they struggled toward adulthood.

Instead, he could follow the lead of another Justin: Justin Timberlake. He, too, was a young star. First on "The Mickey Mouse Club" and then in the much better known boy band 'N Sync. Timberlake didn't try to be something he's not. He continued to make music and then made a successful transition into acting.

Decision time is now for Justin Bieber: He can be a Timberlake or a cautionary tale that parents tell their kids who want to go into show business. What's it going to be?

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Dean Obeidallah.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 12:50 PM EDT, Tue July 29, 2014
LZ Granderson says the cyber-standing ovation given to Robyn Lawley, an Australian plus-size model who posted unretouched photos, shows how crazy Americans' notions of beauty have become
updated 7:56 AM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
A crisis like the Gaza conflict or the surge of immigrants can be an opportunity for a lame duck president, writes Julian Zelizer
updated 2:22 PM EDT, Sat July 26, 2014
Carol Costello says the league's light punishment sent the message that it didn't consider domestic violence a serious offense
updated 8:51 AM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Danny Cevallos says saggy pants aren't the kind of fashion statement protected by the First Amendment.
updated 2:52 PM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Margaret Hoover says some GOP legislators support a state's right to allow same-sex marriage and the right of churches, synagogues and mosques not to perform the sacrament
updated 2:31 PM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Megan McCracken and Jennifer Moreno say it's unacceptable for states to experiment with new execution procedures without full disclosure
updated 2:50 PM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Priya Satia says today's drones for bombardment and surveillance have their roots in the deadly history of Western aerial control of the Middle East that began in World War One
updated 12:35 PM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Jeff Yang says it's great to see the comics make an effort at diversifying the halls of justice
updated 11:55 AM EDT, Sat July 26, 2014
Rick Francona says the reported artillery firing from Russian territory is a sign Vladimir Putin has escalated the Ukraine battle
updated 2:22 PM EDT, Sun July 27, 2014
Paul Callan says the fact that appeals delay the death penalty doesn't make it an unconstitutional punishment, as one judge ruled
updated 6:25 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Pilot Robert Mark says it's been tough for the airline industry after the plane crashes in Ukraine and Taiwan.
updated 11:10 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Jennifer DeVoe laments efforts to end subsidies that allow working Americans to finally afford health insurance.
updated 11:33 AM EDT, Sat July 26, 2014
Ruti Teitel says assigning a costly and humiliating "collective guilt" to Germany after WWI would end up teaching the global community hard lessons about who to blame for war crimes
updated 8:45 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
John Sutter responds to criticism of his column on the ethics of eating dog.
updated 9:02 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Frida Ghitis says it's tempting to ignore North Korea's antics as bluster but the cruel regime is dangerous.
updated 2:50 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
To the question "Is Putin evil?" Alexander Motyl says he is evil enough for condemnation by people of good will.
updated 2:03 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Laurie Garrett: Poor governance, ignorance, hysteria worsen the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia.
updated 9:49 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Patrick Cronin and Kelley Sayler say the world is seeing nonstate groups such as Ukraine's rebels wielding more power to do harm than ever before
updated 6:05 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Ukraine ambassador Olexander Motsyk places blame for the MH17 tragedy squarely at the door of Russia
updated 7:42 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Mark Kramer says Russia and its proxies have a history of shooting down civilian aircraft, often with few repercussions
updated 2:53 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Les Abend says, with rockets flying over Tel Aviv and missiles shooting down MH17 over Ukraine, a commercial pilot's pre-flight checklist just got much more complicated
updated 9:17 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Mark Kramer says Russia and its proxies have a history of shooting down civilian aircraft, often with few repercussions
updated 12:37 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Gerard Jacobs says grieving families and nations need the comfort of traditional rituals to honor the remains of loved ones, particularly in a mass disaster
updated 10:13 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
The idea is difficult to stomach, but John Sutter writes that eating dog is morally equivalent to eating pig, another intelligent animal. If Americans oppose it, they should question their own eating habits as well.
updated 12:30 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Bill van Esveld says under the laws of war, civilians who do not join in the fight are always to be protected. An International Criminal Court could rule on whether Israeli airstrikes and Hamas rocketing are war crimes.
updated 10:08 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Gordon Brown says the kidnapped Nigerian girls have been in captivity for 100 days, but the world has not forgotten them.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT