Remember Justin Bieber Next Time You Want to Take a Celeb Seriously.


Let's blame Canada for this one.

Canadian-born singing phenom Justin Bieber recently visited the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam and managed to say something truly awful by writing in the museum's guestbook:

"Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber."

Of course, the world will little note what Justin Bieber says at one of the most powerful sites demonstrating the Holocaust's obscenity. But it should remind us that, most of the time, celebrities are taken seriously at their own peril.

And sometimes ours.

Never forget this:

"Contemporary stars are well-paid but impotent puppets," writes economist Tyler Cowen in his engaging recent study of celebrity, What Price Fame?. Cowen traces the evolution of fame from a phenomenon associated with military leaders who often demanded sacrifice from their citizens to a commercial-based process by which an audience seeks pleasure through symbolic affiliation. "They serve their fans rather than making their fans serve them," argues Cowen. 

Related: Watch Remy's answer to Jay-Z and Beyonce's recent trip to Cuba.