I’ve read in a few places that Britney Spears is on the brink of having her father’s legal guardianship over herself done away with. From the time this was first published on February 22, 2007, Britney Spears has, as my mother often says, “Pulled herself up by her bootstraps.” The girl has gone from a human tornado of destruction to someone, any yes, this is a play on words, sorry, who has her act together. She looks healthier, she has managed a tour schedule that has literally killed other performers, and if one is to believe the paparazzi pics of her with the kids, seems to be a decent mother. Yes, there are rumors of romance with various nameless fellows, one I think is her manager, but what the hell, we are talking about Britney Spears who at the very least one must applaud her tenacity from being such a crazy case that she made rivals for her insanity crown look almost like the level-headed originally from Iowa girl next door.
When I first wrote this essay I was late to some social engagement because I needed to post this on the only place I posted back in the day, Gather. You see, I didn’t know what Spears was going to do next. This type of article has a shelf life of an hour until enough time passes and you can once again look at it and reflect how times have changed. There is just something about Britney that makes you root for her, even if you aren’t a fan of her music necessarily, that made you hope that she would pull through her difficult time. In all seriousness I wonder if she will lose it all over again once her father’s control over her is no more. I know that many members of the Gather community have been open about their struggle with bipolar disorder (of which I believe Spears has been diagnosed) and would really like to know their position on the topic.
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By the time I finish this she will have already escaped from rehab for a third time and signed in at a new one. Britney Spears is the original girl gone wild with money and that ain’t a good thing. In comparison, she makes Lindsay Lohan look focused and Paris Hilton look wise.
People may say who cares if Brit-Brit is a bit of a nitwit? I don’t think people care as much, but consider such antics by a household name can only invite safe conversation. The type of conversation that all people, no matter their different political and spiritual spectrums, can talk about and generally be on the same page…and of course, there is the laughter to share. We might all be in danger of global warming, but at least we aren’t running around Los Angeles shaving our heads at cheap hair salons and getting impromptu tattoos.
There is the question of fame. In many ways, one can’t look at Britney Spears and say that she asked to be famous because she was famous before the age of consent. With that being said, I do think she was the sort of kid that probably begged her mother to go on auditions. At one point in her young life she was involved in an off Broadway musical and when she wanted to quit all she did was tell her mother and they packed up and moved back to Louisiana. I impart this story for two reasons. One, her mother wasn’t such a stage mom that she forced her daughter to do something she no longer wished to do. Two, she had talent enough to be in an off Broadway musical.
I suppose there could be an argument about a curse attached to being a Mouseketeer. After all, original Mouseketeer, Darlene Gillespie (the one with who appeared like the girl next door compared to that slut Annette) did 18 months behind bars for securities fraud. For a time Christina Aguilera was ever so nasty and Justine Timberlake is currently doing his best to bring sexy back. In fact, I would go so far as to say there is something evil about the House of Mouse. Lindsay Lohan (‘Parent Trap’) and her hard pAArtying ways and Hillary Duff (she was on some Disney cable show, I don’t know the name of it) trying to be the next goth queen. Even Hailey Mills & Hailey Mills (original ‘Parent Trap’) upon leaving the world of Mickey decided to announce her foray into adult cinema by baring her twins.
Part of the problem is that Britney reached her height of success under the tutelage of her mother, a manager, and an agent. Once she decided to make the world her own oyster she started off by doing such lame things as a quickie Vegas marriage (accompanied by a quickie annulment) a marriage to a play-AR (that practically everyone knew was marrying her for her money) and two babies in as many years. In between, she became involved in Kabala and kissed Madonna on stage during one of the MTV award shows. In all honesty, all of that was well and fine. Most thinking adults look at that sort of behavior and shake their heads and think that wrinkles are a fine thing to exchange for a restless twenty-something year old mind. It was after the breakup with the former backup dancer that things started to go off kilter for dear Britney.
Listen, all women who have been played and lived to tell about it (along with some men) cheered as Miss Spears decided to join the play-AR haters club and gave her marital leech the heave ho. It was sort of amusing to see her dancing the night fantastic with the likes of Paris Hilton because it offered what all of us want from our pop culture icons – water cooler chit-chat. In this case, people discussed who was using who more. Of course, the partying behavior is ignored for the first week after a woman dumps a man who has been dumping on her, but the second week? That’s when questions circulated as to who was taking care of the children back at the homestead.
We live in a time where most of the population knows that babies need early bonding lest they grow up to be serial killers. It is one thing not to raise your children yourself (yes, people shake your fists in the air and say ‘how dare you!’) as long as they are raised by someone who cares about them – regardless if this person is on your payroll or not. Highfalutin aristocrats have been doing it since recorded history, so what if a bare footed public toilet-using girl from the American south does it? Yet a problem arises when reports are leaked from previous hired then fired nannies that Spears only hired women her own age to act as friend and mother to both her and the boys. Further, if the boys started to show the nanny too much preference over mommy dearest than Brit-Brit showed Mary Poppins the door. Thus, Mrs. Federline revealed she was more than just a mere selfish person, but a menace to her children as well (both are still in diapers and one technically an infant).
All of her behavior seemed to be building up to some crescendo of a bad movie montage. Partying was followed by more partying, which was followed by even more partying. It was true Britney didn’t really have friends because any time she went to a bathroom stall for a sniff it made it to the Internet. Every time she took off her clothes to try on fishnet stockings – ditto. Don’t even get me started on the pics of her showing her bare baby maker scared by two caesarians. She was even dumped by third-rate backup dancer/model that made her ex seem career ambitious. That isn’t quite fair, Kevin Federline did appear to be serious about his rap career; it’s just that he wasn’t any good.
Then the inevitable happened; Britney checked herself into rehab. Then she checked herself out. Then she shaved her head either as either a sign of a breakdown or because Federline threatened to drug test her hair (which meant she could lose custody of the babies). Then she partied wearing a Carol Channing wig. Then she checked herself into a rehab again. Then she left. Then she met with attorneys. Then she checked into rehab…again. Tomorrow who knows?
It is true that there is too much stuff written about fluff, but I think that celebrities while living such f-ed-upped lives provide discussion and templates for normal and abnormal behavior. If a parent is lecturing a daughter about the evils of marrying too young, Britney proves an excellent example of why isn’t a great idea. “Now Jenny Nineteen, Britney thought Kevin was the love of her life and look at her now!” Why should the young be cautious about drug use, “Now Tommy Gluesniffer, did you know that at one time Ozzy Osborn was a bloke with a normal IQ? Now he is some vacant lump of flesh whose wife lured him into rehab by telling him that it was a nice facility with an open bar.” (True story.)
Further, as mentioned earlier, such Keystone Cops celebrity behavior does bond us as a society. I would even go so far as to add that such tabloid exploits allow people of different belief systems to discuss the important issues in a way that can actually accomplish something. Instead of yelling at each other over what to do about global warming or third world debt, we can all step back for a moment and compare thoughts about Britney’s new found baldness and Anna Nicole’s last will and testament. These things are like freak shows of lore – they amaze and amuse, thus leave the audience willing to go back to hard farm labor knowing that at some point they can share a chuckle or make an observation. If treated properly (which admittedly the 24/7 news cycle do not) such stories can be the dessert to discussions on larger problems that we as culture can no longer put off dealing with.
In conclusion, it would be nice if all serious topics will be discussed in a respectful manner (not using the point/counter point method of some pundits who scream at each other) and then if we have done a good job we can all sit back together and watch the show of Britney, Kevin, Lindsay, Paris, Anna, Howard K…..
© 2007 Westerfield