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The Unproductive Obsession with Hipster Anne Frank

In the age of social media, have we forgotten that sometimes it's better not to point and click?

Susan L.M. Goldberg


October 1, 2013 - 11:00 am
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I first came to the attention of Hipster Anne Frank thanks to the Forward. I don’t Tweet much and when I do, I’m not exactly looking to hook up with faux profiles. Like most pre-tech dinosaurs (currently known as “the work force”), I can barely keep up with the real friends I have through the ‘net. Most of us still catch up on each other’s news the old-fashioned way — through talking, preferably in person. I found this out this weekend when three folks I collided into at a friend’s wedding all asked me, “So, what are you doing lately?” I did not respond, “Don’t you read my Facebook?” Why not? Because that would’ve been, well, weird.

Unfortunately, most folks don’t have such a laissez-faire relationship with social media. In fact, in the world of 24 hour news and instant Internet, news agencies rely on technology to provide them with fresh material around the clock. Hence a Twitter profile for Hipster Anne Frank became big news in some big publications including Ha’aretz, The Atlantic, and Time. Jumping on the trend, Renee Ghert-Zand proffered her opinion at the Forward: “Nonetheless, I maintain that there are better ways to get young people to learn about Anne Frank’s legacy.”

There absolutely are, and by pointing out that fact, Renee Ghert-Zand has missed the point of Hipster Anne Frank. This Twitter account, as with most faux-Twitter profiles, doesn’t exist to educate or inform, but to feed off the postmodern millennial belief that everything is nothing and can therefore be manipulated at will for the ultimate currency: hits, followers, re-tweets.

“I fear that this kind of tasteless misappropriation of Anne Frank’s memory and legacy, and that of other historical personalities, will only increase now that people can hide behind Twitter handles,” Ghert-Zand remarked.

Exactly. That’s the point.

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All Comments   (4)
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Everyone is a celebrity now, at least in their own eyes, and treading on the spirit of a gentle soul like Anne Frank is meaningless if the result is more celebrity.

In the late '60s an angry lesbian strode into Andy Warhol's studio/Art Factory and in attempting to shoot him also shot through a portrait of Jackie Kennedy. The work of art was re-named Shot Jackie and then sold for an astronomical sum, whether to a Jackie fan or a Warhol fan I don't know. Warhol suffered a bullet wound in the attack and was livid that his brush with death was tossed off the front pages when Bobby Kennedy was assassinated and editors deemed that more newsworthy. This display of vulgar narcissism was just an inkling of what was in store for us in the future with the advent of social media. Everyone is Andy Warhol now.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
" an angry lesbian "

Isn't that redundant?

And no, not everyone is Andy Warhol.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I am confused, perhaps becausee I am in Germany and I resolutely refuse to have anything to do with facebook. With the sensitives that still are dominant in Germany, I have my doubt how long this confusing event would be allowed to go on. Personally, I read the diaries of Anne Frank in an introductory German course on literature. The prof. was an aging Jew who had thw fortunw to be sent out of Germany to France by his parents in the 1930s (he was saved, not his parents) and later to flee to England onto Americda after 1940. I could sense the tenderness with which he treated the life and death of Anne Frank and such feeling taught me as much as Anne's own narrative. Or, better, they fused together. I would suggest that an excellent place to introduce Americans (or Germans) to the mind of Anne would be the reading of the diearies at a relatively introductory level for German literature. In this way pedagogical gain offers a chance for a "gentle" insight into the horror Jews were experiencing. I write "gentle", because a reading of some adult victim of a concentratin camp might, besides being grammatically too complicated for the non-German learner, just too much to deal with, perhaps making a propagandistic impression. So I repeat that a way of introducing Anne Frank's life and death would be at the elementary level of learning German. --Finally, who the heck are the thugs pretending to be German Nazies types. The neonazies here in Germany are "Schläger", i.e., violent. The characters looked almost efeminate.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I think your idea of reading Anne in German, or even in the original Dutch, is a great one. In America, most students encounter her work in middle school (7th or 8th grade) so for a 12-13 year old, reading in a foreign language would be impossible, at least at the public school level. But it is still an idea worth examining.

As to the effeminate Nazis - that's American sarcasm. By characterizing Nazis as puny dudes we're mocking the Nazi idea of "superior race". (Side question: Have you ever seen Blues Brothers? It's a comedy, not meant at all to be a serious or realistic interpretation of, well, anything.)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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