I’ll let you know up front, today I’m going to rant. Why?
Because I opened up MSN Messenger this morning and what was the first news item headlining MSN Today? Britney Bloody Spears.
Now, I have nothing against Britney and the rest of her lip syncing, scantily clad peers, but there is something seriously wrong with the world when the most prolific news story day in and day out is the slow and cringe worthy demise of a fading pop star.
Let’s be honest, Britney hasn’t been known for her music in years. Not unless you count her stumbling performance at the MTV awards last September. Most of 2007 saw her hit the news stands for her lack of knickers, bad mothering skills, driving mishaps, custody battles and possible substance abuse problems. Are these acts titilating? Sure, but they’re hardly worthy of lead headlines.
I’m not saying I don’t understand why this woman is constant news. I do. Every move she makes begs for attention – it’s as if she only feels she exists if someone is there to photograph her. And this constant exposure to every facet of her life makes the rest of us feel like we have a vested interest in watching her train wreck of a life. But this is an illusion. We do not know Britney Spears. We are not her friends. Indeed, we are part of her problem, she’s just too fucked up to see it.
When we participate in the paparazzi circus by buying the magazines that print the invasive photos and scandalous articles, when we watch and provide ratings to her every struggle, we feed the monster that is eating this woman’s dignity. The problem of course is human nature. Most of us find it hard to look away when the mighty fall. A little piece of us – not the loving, empathetic part, maybe not even the conscious part – feels intrigued, and maybe even a little happy that someone who has so much could screw up her life so spectacularly. And not just her life, but her children’s as well.
I don’t live in the USA, but can all problem parents in custody disputes get a new court date every few weeks? I think not. I am sure many mothers and fathers who have had their visitation stripped go months waiting for a chance to plead their case again. But not Britney Spears. She’s there at least once or twice a month, in between clubbing, shopping, having sex with the paparazzi and running red lights. And they say justice is blind…
Now, I know I’m not saying anything new here, and I really don’t mean to sound sanctimonious because I can be a gossip glutton as much as the next shopper in the supermarket queue, but it’s time this stopped. IT IS TIME THE WORLD LOOKED AWAY FROM BRITNEY SPEARS.
Following the self destruction of a vulnerable, possibly mentally ill, young woman is not news. It’s just sad, and it diminishes all of us. It doesn’t matter that Britney courts the attention, hungers for it even, this is part of her sickness. I don’t know whether she’s bi-polar or pathologically narcissistic, but Britney Spears needs professional help. And that help is unlikely to be sought until she hits rock bottom, because as long as her every move is in the spotlight and she is the object of sniggering jokes, she won’t get it.
Take away her kids, take away her audience, take away her special treatment. Shock her like you do an out-of-control child. Let’s just get out of the way so the real people in her life – her family, her friends – can take care of her. Britney Spears doesn’t need us. We are nobody.
photo by CDs single