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
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1645 GMT (0045 HKT)
Gabby Giffords and Katie Ray-Jones say "Between 2001 and 2012, more women were shot to death by an intimate partner in our country than the total number of American troops killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined."
July 29, 2014 -- Updated 2357 GMT (0757 HKT)
Alan Elsner says Secretary Kerry's early cease-fire draft was leaked and presented as a final document, which served the interests of hard-liners on both sides who don't want the Gaza war to stop.
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1158 GMT (1958 HKT)
Vijay Das says Medicare is a success story that could provide health care for everybody, not just seniors
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1818 GMT (0218 HKT)
Rick Francona says Israel seems determined to render Hamas militarily ineffective.
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1743 GMT (0143 HKT)
S.E. Cupp says the entrepreneur and Dallas Mavericks owner thinks for himself and refuses to be confined to an ideological box.
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1311 GMT (2111 HKT)
A Christian group's anger over the trailer for "Black Jesus," an upcoming TV show, seems out of place, Jay Parini says
July 29, 2014 -- Updated 1650 GMT (0050 HKT)
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
July 29, 2014 -- Updated 2041 GMT (0441 HKT)
Carol Dweck and Rachel Simmons: Girls tend to have a "fixed mindset" but they should have a "growth mindset."
July 28, 2014 -- Updated 1156 GMT (1956 HKT)
A crisis like the Gaza conflict or the surge of immigrants can be an opportunity for a lame duck president, writes Julian Zelizer
July 26, 2014 -- Updated 1822 GMT (0222 HKT)
Carol Costello says the league's light punishment sent the message that it didn't consider domestic violence a serious offense
July 28, 2014 -- Updated 1251 GMT (2051 HKT)
Danny Cevallos says saggy pants aren't the kind of fashion statement protected by the First Amendment.
July 28, 2014 -- Updated 1852 GMT (0252 HKT)
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
July 28, 2014 -- Updated 1831 GMT (0231 HKT)
Megan McCracken and Jennifer Moreno say it's unacceptable for states to experiment with new execution procedures without full disclosure
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1744 GMT (0144 HKT)
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
July 28, 2014 -- Updated 1635 GMT (0035 HKT)
Jeff Yang says it's great to see the comics make an effort at diversifying the halls of justice
July 26, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
Rick Francona says the reported artillery firing from Russian territory is a sign Vladimir Putin has escalated the Ukraine battle
July 27, 2014 -- Updated 1822 GMT (0222 HKT)
Paul Callan says the fact that appeals delay the death penalty doesn't make it an unconstitutional punishment, as one judge ruled
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 2225 GMT (0625 HKT)
Pilot Robert Mark says it's been tough for the airline industry after the plane crashes in Ukraine and Taiwan.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 1510 GMT (2310 HKT)
Jennifer DeVoe laments efforts to end subsidies that allow working Americans to finally afford health insurance.
July 26, 2014 -- Updated 1533 GMT (2333 HKT)
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
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 1245 GMT (2045 HKT)
John Sutter responds to criticism of his column on the ethics of eating dog.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 1302 GMT (2102 HKT)
Frida Ghitis says it's tempting to ignore North Korea's antics as bluster but the cruel regime is dangerous.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 1850 GMT (0250 HKT)
To the question "Is Putin evil?" Alexander Motyl says he is evil enough for condemnation by people of good will.
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 1803 GMT (0203 HKT)
Laurie Garrett: Poor governance, ignorance, hysteria worsen the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia.
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 1349 GMT (2149 HKT)
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
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 2205 GMT (0605 HKT)
Ukraine ambassador Olexander Motsyk places blame for the MH17 tragedy squarely at the door of Russia
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 1142 GMT (1942 HKT)
Mark Kramer says Russia and its proxies have a history of shooting down civilian aircraft, often with few repercussions
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 1853 GMT (0253 HKT)
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
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 1317 GMT (2117 HKT)
Mark Kramer says Russia and its proxies have a history of shooting down civilian aircraft, often with few repercussions
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 1637 GMT (0037 HKT)
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
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 1413 GMT (2213 HKT)
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.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1630 GMT (0030 HKT)
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.
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1209 GMT (2009 HKT)
Gordon Brown says the kidnapped Nigerian girls have been in captivity for 100 days, but the world has not forgotten them.
ADVERTISEMENT