Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage from

Justin Bieber, time to shut up

By Dean Obeidallah, Special to CNN
April 17, 2013 -- Updated 0946 GMT (1746 HKT)
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
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 2006 GMT (0406 HKT)
Timothy Stanley says Lewinsky is shamelessly playing the victim in her affair with Bill Clinton, humiliating Hillary Clinton again and aiding her critics
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 0102 GMT (0902 HKT)
Imagine being rescued from modern slavery, only to be charged with a crime, writes John Sutter
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1600 GMT (0000 HKT)
Tidal flooding used to be a relatively rare occurrence along the East Coast. Not anymore, write Melanie Fitzpatrick and Erika Spanger-Siegfried.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
Carol Costello says activists, writers, politicians have begun discussing their abortions. But will that new approach make a difference on an old battleground?
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1312 GMT (2112 HKT)
Sigrid Fry-Revere says the National Organ Transplant Act has caused more Americans to die waiting for an organ than died in both World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1851 GMT (0251 HKT)
Crystal Wright says racist remarks like those made by black Republican actress Stacey Dash do nothing to get blacks to join the GOP
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 2207 GMT (0607 HKT)
Mel Robbins says by telling her story, Monica Lewinsky offers a lesson in confronting humiliating mistakes while keeping her head held high
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1329 GMT (2129 HKT)
Cornell Belcher says the story of the "tea party wave" in 2010 was bogus; it was an election determined by ebbing Democratic turnout
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 2012 GMT (0412 HKT)
Les Abend says pilots want protocols, preparation and checklists for all contingencies; at the moment, controlling a deadly disease is out of their comfort zone
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 0336 GMT (1136 HKT)
David Weinberger says an online controversy that snowballed from a misogynist attack by gamers into a culture war is a preview of the way news is handled in a world of hashtag-fueled scandal
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1223 GMT (2023 HKT)
Julian Zelizer says Paul Krugman makes some good points in his defense of President Obama but is premature in calling him one of the most successful presidents.
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 0221 GMT (1021 HKT)
Conservatives can't bash and slash government and then suddenly act surprised if government isn't there when we need it, writes Sally Kohn
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 1205 GMT (2005 HKT)
ISIS is looking to take over a good chunk of the Middle East -- if not the entire Muslim world, write Peter Bergen and Emily Schneider.
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1300 GMT (2100 HKT)
The world's response to Ebola is its own sort of tragedy, writes John Sutter
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 2033 GMT (0433 HKT)
Hidden away in Russian orphanages are thousands of children with disabilities who aren't orphans, whose harmful treatment has long been hidden from public view, writes Andrea Mazzarino
October 18, 2014 -- Updated 1722 GMT (0122 HKT)
When you hear "trick or treat" this year, think "nudge," writes John Bare
October 18, 2014 -- Updated 0442 GMT (1242 HKT)
The more than 200 kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls have become pawns in a larger drama, writes Richard Joseph.
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 1345 GMT (2145 HKT)
Peggy Drexler said Amal Alamuddin was accused of buying into the patriarchy when she changed her name to Clooney. But that was her choice.
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 2043 GMT (0443 HKT)
Ford Vox says the CDC's Thomas Frieden is a good man with a stellar resume who has shown he lacks the unique talents and vision needed to confront the Ebola crisis
October 18, 2014 -- Updated 0858 GMT (1658 HKT)
How can such a numerically small force as ISIS take control of vast swathes of Syria and Iraq?
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 1342 GMT (2142 HKT)
How big a threat do foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq pose to the West? It's a question that has been much on the mind of policymakers and commentators.
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 1221 GMT (2021 HKT)
More than a quarter-million American women served honorably in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Now they are home, we have an obligation to help them transition back to civilian life.
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 2027 GMT (0427 HKT)
Paul Begala says Rick Scott's deeply weird refusal to begin a debate because rival Charlie Crist had a fan under his podium spells disaster for the Florida governor--delighting Crist
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 0407 GMT (1207 HKT)
The longer we wait to engage on Ebola, the more limited our options will become, says Marco Rubio.
October 15, 2014 -- Updated 1153 GMT (1953 HKT)
Democratic candidates who run from President Obama in red states where he is unpopular are making a big mistake, says Donna Brazile
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 0429 GMT (1229 HKT)
At some 7 billion people, the world can sometimes seem like a crowded place. But if the latest estimates are to be believed, then in less than a century it is going to feel even more so -- about 50% more crowded, says Evan Fraser
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1653 GMT (0053 HKT)
Paul Callan says the Ebola situation is pointing up the need for better leadership
October 15, 2014 -- Updated 2245 GMT (0645 HKT)
Nurses are the unsung heroes of the Ebola outbreak. Yet, there are troubling signs we're failing them, says John Sutter
October 15, 2014 -- Updated 1700 GMT (0100 HKT)
Dean Obeidallah says it's a mistake to give up a business name you've invested energy in, just because of a new terrorist group
October 15, 2014 -- Updated 2301 GMT (0701 HKT)
Fear of Ebola is contagious, writes Mel Robbins; but it's time to put the disease in perspective
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 1744 GMT (0144 HKT)
Oliver Kershaw says that if Big Tobacco is given monopoly of e-cigarette products, public health will suffer.
October 18, 2014 -- Updated 1335 GMT (2135 HKT)
Stop thinking your job will make you happy.
October 15, 2014 -- Updated 0208 GMT (1008 HKT)
Ruben Navarrette says it's time to deal with another scandal involving the Secret Service — one that leads directly into the White House.
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 1125 GMT (1925 HKT)
Americans who choose to fight for militant groups or support them are young and likely to be active in jihadist social media, says Peter Bergen
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 1303 GMT (2103 HKT)
Stephanie Coontz says 11 years ago only one state allowed same sex marriage. Soon, some 60% of Americans will live where gays can marry. How did attitudes change so quickly?
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 2004 GMT (0404 HKT)
Legalizing assisted suicide seems acceptable when focusing on individuals. But such laws would put many at risk of immense harm, writes Marilyn Golden.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 1307 GMT (2107 HKT)
Julian Zelizer says the issues are huge, but both parties are wrestling with problems that alienate voters
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 2250 GMT (0650 HKT)
Mel Robbins says the town's school chief was right to cancel the season, but that's just the beginning of what needs to be done
October 11, 2014 -- Updated 1543 GMT (2343 HKT)
He didn't discover that the world was round, David Perry writes. So what did he do?
ADVERTISEMENT