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This Haunts Me: Justin Bieber Hoped Anne Frank Was a "Belieber"

8 years ago today, Justin Bieber, while in the midst of a European tour, stopped by the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam and left a shudder-inducing note in the museum's guest book.

Anne Frank Justin Bieber

Taking shots at Justin Bieber these days feels cheap.

This publication in particular has done a number on the Biebs over the years. But from his long-standing association with an anti-LGBTQ church to his white-washed calls for unity, his tokenization of Black struggles, and his hushed marginalization of women, it's hard not to criticize the singer when his actions have long been so blatantly problematic.

Now, yet another recent front-page profile via GQ has attempted to dissect Bieber's past actions and justify his "struggle," bringing back memories of a time when pop culture's Bieber-related vitriol was primarily self-inflicted. 8 years ago today, Justin Bieber, while in the midst of a European tour, stopped by the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam and left a shudder-inducing note in the museum's guest book. "Truly inspiring to be able to come here," he wrote. "Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a 'Belieber.'"

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Robert Pattinson Is "Barely Doing Anything" in Quarantine–and That's Beautiful

Our newest Batman explained why he refuses to work out in his new GQ cover story.

Robert Pattinson is being a good civilian by maintaining social distancing and continuing to isolate himself.

His quarantine situation is pretty nice, too. Before stay-at-home orders commenced in London, the actor was hard at work portraying the title hero of the upcoming film The Batman. As reported in his recent GQ cover story, he's currently holed up in the apartment the film crew rented for him, eating food provided to him by the film crew. Pretty sweet deal! But even with so much time on his hands, our favorite one-time vampire doesn't seem to be feeling the productivity pressure that some Instagram bloggers have been pushing.

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Image via GQ

Pharrell Williams is evolving.

In a new interview with GQ, the singer, producer, and fashion innovator discussed personal and political evolution, spiritual warfare in America, and his newfound appreciation for the fact that we live in a "chauvinistic" culture—an appreciation he gained through criticism he faced for the lyrics of "Blurred Lines," the 2013 hit he cowrote with Robin Thicke.

When that song first appeared, it was quickly criticized for its "rapey" implications and coercive lyrics that pushed the boundaries of consent. Williams defended the song at the time of its release, and he told GQ that when he created it, he believed the song was actually a tribute to women's independence and sexual liberation. Also, the fact that some women enjoyed the song somehow led him to believe it would be enjoyable for all women. "I didn't get it at first. Because there were older white women who, when that song came on, they would behave in some of the most surprising ways ever… So when there started to be an issue with it, lyrically, I was like, 'What are you talking about?' There are women who really like the song and connect to the energy that just gets you up." (Because older white women are obviously the arbiters of all women's sexual preferences).

Fortunately, his views and understanding changed over time. "I realized that there are men who use that same language when taking advantage of a woman, and it doesn't matter that that's not my behavior. Or the way I think about things," he said. "It just matters how it affects women…. I cared what they were feeling, too. I realized that we live in a chauvinist culture in our country. Hadn't realized that. Didn't realize that some of my songs catered to that. So that blew my mind."

While Pharrell's comments are indicative of a lifetime of ignorance, they actually reveal something that should be praised more: a growth mindset.

Most men, and humans in general, are not born with innate knowledge of what is acceptable and what is not in terms of sexual consent, and a great deal of media and social norms (like hit songs like "Blurred Lines") only serve to rehash distorted perceptions of what is acceptable and what is not, perceptions usually shaped by the very chauvinistic culture that they help perpetuate.

Although Pharrell's comments on "Blurred Lines" might make us cringe, at least he's realized that consent isn't something people should be coerced into, that women often have different ideas of what constitutes consent, and that desire should always be clarified and re-confirmed prior to each sexual act. If more people were like Pharrell, open to learning about what it actually means to be a feminist and willing to listen to others' voices, then we would be living in a very different world.

GQ.com

This doesn't mean we should be willing to forgive inappropriate behavior or provide abusers with a cushion of forgiveness. Too often, men who are implicated in #MeToo cases are willingly reintegrated into society and allowed to continue with their careers, while research and follow-ups with women who reported assault cases reveal that these groups often suffer, in terms of their careers and mental health and other aspects of their lives.

So instead of being preemptively forgiving of willful ignorance, we should be willing to embrace people like Pharrell who reshape their worldviews after learning from their past mistakes. Most of the interview finds Pharrell speaking with a highly tuned sense of moral and ethical responsibility as well as a strong feminist ethic. He openly supports women's leadership and criticizes white male-led masculinity while addressing the fallout that is resulting from the downfall of this ancient and destructive hierarchy. "Man, what would the world be like if women held all of the highest positions worldwide?" he said.

He also addressed the fact that gender politics can't be extricated from other issues like race and class. "If you ask me, when we talk about masculinity, it's also very racial, this conversation," he said. "Because the dominant force on this planet right now is the older straight white male. And there's a particular portion of them that senses a tanning effect. They sense a feminizing effect. They sense a nonbinary effect when it comes to gender."

It does seem like he's had thick blinders on for a very long time. For example, he states that he "just read the Declaration of Independence the other day" and his "jaw dropped" when he saw that the document "[refers] to the Native Americans as merciless savages." On the other hand, while these ideas might be well-known in progressive circles, much of America still celebrates Columbus Day. To collectively grow, we're going to have to be open to a lot of people having these kinds of revelations, which are of course too little too late, but are better than nothing.

GQ

Maybe the wisest thing Pharrell says in the whole interview is, "I don't think my opinion is everything. I don't know anyone else's plight." As Socrates once said, "All I know is I know nothing, and I am not quite sure I know that." These ideas are the polar opposite of the message of "Blurred Lines," which is, of course, "I know you want it."

That's not to say that we should forgive people who disregard others' rights to exist or walk safely in the streets, or that anyone should be expected to corral their anger when faced with bigotry. But instead, maybe we should be more open to those who have done the work and grown and changed, and allies should never pretend to be authorities on others' experiences.

The Internet's algorithm may thrive off dissent and snap judgments, and nuance and active listening may be lost causes in this age of polarity, but change and evolution are some of this life's only constants. In light of this, we need to be more comfortable with growth and with admitting that we've done wrong in the past. We need to listen to the voices of others and accept discomfort and criticism instead of resisting them.

Recently, the actress Jameela Jamil faced heat for stating that she only recently learned of the extent of George W. Bush's war crimes in Iran, and in response, she started the hashtag #ProgressNotPerfection in order to emphasize the importance of being open to learning, to questions, and to changing our minds in order to change the world.

So in the spirit of #ProgressNotPerfection, here's to Pharrell speaking the truth and denouncing "Blurred Lines" six years after the fact. It would've been nice if that happened before the song's release, and if we could've been spared the collective trauma of watching Miley Cyrus twerk on Robin Thicke—but that's in the past. Today we're living in the era of flying cars, hopefully a female president, and finally admitting that we don't know a damn thing.

GQ

Unless you've got a significant other, you probably haven't paid much attention to what underwear you wear every day. I used to be like that, but it did not fly with my fiancé. She's always nagging me to get new clothes (the holes in my socks really get on her last nerve), and when my underwear was getting worn out, I kind of saw her point. They didn't hold up in the wash, weren't doing anything for support, and never looked too presentable anyway. I have a buddy who's a GQ Insider, and when I consulted with him on apparel, he told me I had to try Mack Weldon because their quality is unmatched.

The name Mack Weldon sounded familiar so I did a quick search. They got great reviews in GQ, Men's Fitness, and Business Insider. On Mack Weldon's site, I learned they only use cutting-edge materials, and one really caught my eye: silver. Through their NASA inspired technology, they weave actual pure silver into the fabric. It sounds a but much, but turns out silver is a natural antimicrobial, thermo-regulating metal used in space suits and tactical Special Ops uniforms to keep operators cool, odor-free, and fresh in high stress situations. So, it made sense that Mack Weldon built it into their underwear. My buddy calls them "the underwear of the future."

Another benefit that comes with silver is that it makes the fabric more durable, so the underwear doesn't wear out. They also hit the nail on the head when it comes to the design. Mack Weldon Silver underwear has perfectly placed mesh zones for a cooling effect, and the waistline doesn't roll down and never rides up.

When the package arrived, the fiance urged me to try them on right away (mostly because she wanted my current pair in the trash asap). First thought, they were crazy soft. Mack Weldon uses luxe Prima Cotton, what's used in the finest bedding. I ordered some black and some blue, and an understated camo, which she loved. I tried them on and she said, and I quote, "You look so sexy in those. Wow." They didn't look anything like my Hanes and were so much more comfortable and breathable. The old haunts were like sandpaper in comparison. These definitely felt like the boxer briefs someone my age is supposed to wear.

So far, I've worn my new Mack Weldon Silver underwear pretty much every day and they do a great job keeping me cool all day long, from morning workouts to afternoon meetings and going out at night, and I've noticed a new level of comfort and freshness throughout the day. Even though I was skeptical about buying a pair of underwear for $34, Mack Weldon's line of underwear has put all others to shame. I just ordered some Silver Socks as well, and some undershirts of similar quality. Mack Weldon Silver underwear has become my go-to. It's worth it to me to have underwear that provides support and comfort and will actually last.

Mack Weldon also offers a try on guarantee. If you don't love them, they'll issue you a full refund, and you can keep the pair you tried! You can get your Silver Underwear risk free here.

Unless you've got a significant other, you probably haven't paid much attention to what underwear you wear every day. I used to be like that, but it did not fly with my fiancé. She's always nagging me to get new clothes (the holes in my socks really get on her last nerve), and when my underwear was getting worn out, I kind of saw her point. They didn't hold up in the wash, weren't doing anything for support, and never looked too presentable anyway. I have a buddy who's a GQ Insider, and when I consulted with him on apparel, he told me I had to try Mack Weldon because their quality is unmatched.

The name Mack Weldon sounded familiar so I did a quick search. They got great reviews in GQ, Men's Fitness, and Business Insider. On Mack Weldon's site, I learned they only use cutting-edge materials, and one really caught my eye: silver. Through their NASA inspired technology, they weave actual pure silver into the fabric. It sounds a but much, but turns out silver is a natural antimicrobial, thermo-regulating metal used in space suits and tactical Special Ops uniforms to keep operators cool, odor-free, and fresh in high stress situations. So, it made sense that Mack Weldon built it into their underwear. My buddy calls them "the underwear of the future."

Another benefit that comes with silver is that it makes the fabric more durable, so the underwear doesn't wear out. They also hit the nail on the head when it comes to the design. Mack Weldon Silver underwear has perfectly placed mesh zones for a cooling effect, and the waistline doesn't roll down and never rides up.

When the package arrived, the fiance urged me to try them on right away (mostly because she wanted my current pair in the trash asap). First thought, they were crazy soft. Mack Weldon uses luxe Prima Cotton, what's used in the finest bedding. I ordered some black and some blue, and an understated camo, which she loved. I tried them on and she said, and I quote, "You look so sexy in those. Wow." They didn't look anything like my Hanes and were so much more comfortable and breathable. The old haunts were like sandpaper in comparison. These definitely felt like the boxer briefs someone my age is supposed to wear.

So far, I've worn my new Mack Weldon Silver underwear pretty much every day and they do a great job keeping me cool all day long, from morning workouts to afternoon meetings and going out at night, and I've noticed a new level of comfort and freshness throughout the day. Even though I was skeptical about buying a pair of underwear for $34, Mack Weldon's line of underwear has put all others to shame. I just ordered some Silver Socks as well, and some undershirts of similar quality. Mack Weldon Silver underwear has become my go-to. It's worth it to me to have underwear that provides support and comfort and will actually last.

Mack Weldon also offers a try on guarantee. If you don't love them, they'll issue you a full refund, and you can keep the pair you tried! You can get your Silver Underwear risk free here.

Try your first pair today, if you don't love them, keep em, they're free!