Wi-Fi at Anne Frank’s

It made sense, when you really thought about it. No one wanted to be a writer more than Anne Frank. Or yearned so desperately to be a part of the rest of the world. That her life and legacy should be pimped out like so many other posthumously “made” famous people in their death is nothing if not completely expected. For her to be upheld as a beacon for both the potential for human evil and strength in the face of that evil made her all the more moving as a result of being a child. A precocious one, of course. For there’s nothing sellable about an “average” girl. Or a gentile one, for that matter. Not now, anyway. In short, Anne was tailor-made for worship in the twenty-first century. But not merely because there’s nothing this century gets hard for more than a victim. No, it was more than that. It was because Anne’s girlish, confessional style was perfectly suited to The Age of the Blogger. The age entirely dependent upon the existence of wi-fi.

And no one would have relished its existence more than erudite and expository “old” Anne. The girl who transcribed the sentences she found most beautiful in books into her own journal like an intuitive sponge of “good” literature. Or at least “good” by the standards of what was available to her in that dank and depressing attic. Craving nothing more than to live long after her death (the immortality all humans have craved since the dawn of art’s creation), Anne’s meticulous documentation of the minutiae of her life was not entirely from a place of “purity,” so much as an unbridled sense of self-inflation as a result of her insular world. A world that might not have been so insulated with the availability of the internet (then again, the Gestapo would have had a much easier time tracking her pale German-turned-Dutch ass had she been posting her day-to-day musings on Tumblr. Outmoded as it is in the wake of forbidding nudity, she just strikes one as a Tumblr girl). She would have at least been able to find “like-minded” individuals a.k.a. other Jews in hiding to know that she wasn’t the only one struggling, the only one grappling with the raging hormones of puberty in the face of having to act meek and modest in front of the object of her desire, Peter. Four years older than she. Rather scandalous when a girl is thirteen and a boy is seventeen–plus she couldn’t even rightly discern if she liked him “genuinely” or if it was because he was one of the few people in the attic she wasn’t related to (mercifully, no Flowers in the Attic situation ever arose as a consequence of that ratio). But Anne was never meant to be a van Pels. She was decidedly and thoroughly a Frank. A liberal Jew with a passion for oversharing. It was almost as though, precisely because she was born in the wrong time, destiny at the very least saw fit to bequeath her with a diary just before the family would be forced into hiding. Albeit a somewhat hideous red and white checkered one that was technically an autograph book. One that would allow her to gab to her heart’s content about the most prosaic of interactions that would be deemed utterly banal in writing sprung from any other circumstance not speaking directly to the tyranny of maniacal prejudice.

In any case, it seemed appropriate that the diary should actually be an autograph book when considering that Anne would ultimately make the place more “cheerful” with pictures from magazines she adorned the walls with (including a dreamy image of Ray Milland)–like a serial killer’s shrine throughout the room she shared with Fritz Pfeffer, a middle-aged dentist who joined the family when word of “the Secret Annex” apparently got around to the Jews most exclusively in the know about how to avoid the sausage-like hands of the Nazis. So yes, Anne having to share a room with a Humbert Humbert figure also added to the overall creep factor of the milieu. In this regard, it was best for her that no wi-fi was available, otherwise she would have undoubtedly caught Pfeffer looking at porn. Hopefully not of the stalag variety. But then, one wouldn’t be surprised. What’s more, who’s to say things wouldn’t have gotten desperate and dire enough for the Franks to start sanctioning porn being made of their own daughters for the sake of a few extra crumbs of bread? No, no. In short, the lack of wi-fi in Anne’s “house” in her lifetime was best for all parties involved. For the internet can make people do foolish and crazy things when they’re sequestered with it for too long. Or even when they’re not.

What’s more, Anne might never have completed her tome if there had been wi-fi to distract her constantly from the task at hand–which is to say, getting her life story down in its most detailed entirety before more than likely being discovered and killed by the oppressors that be. Thus, her wistful declaration, “When I write I can shake off all my cares. My sorrow disappears, my spirit is revived!” might never have been so enthusiastic were she to spiral into the varying k-holes of the WWW as opposed to the analog ones of WWII. Then, to be sure, she would have wanted to remain as relevant as possible with the right “teen girl” clothes of the day, ergo prompting the courier of her online shopping bender to tip the Gestapo off to the Franks’ whereabouts even sooner.

But no, instead of getting sidelined by mindless gossip or trends of the era, she powered through, selflessly and relentlessly, to complete that diary. Which would go on to become one of the most heralded literary works of the twentieth century. Incidentally, the copyright for the book expired in 2016, making it part of the public domain. Ergo, publishable online: its true rightful place. For there is nowhere that a young girl’s diary–her deepest, most personal thoughts–belongs more in the present age than on the internet. Honestly, does a girl even exist if she isn’t as readable and “knowable” as Guinevere Beck?

While some might think it almost cruelly ironic for the Anne Frank House to be outfitted with high-speed wi-fi momenteel, as the Dutch would say, if anything, there is an almost dogged poeticism about it. On May 11th, 1944, Anne had written, “My greatest wish is to be a journalist, and later on, a famous writer.” And now, thanks to the Anne Frank House not being equipped with the wi-fi (at least, not in her all too brief lifetime) that would have made her merely a “blogger,” she is just that.

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