I imagine my reaction to Britney Spears' untimely death would receive a bigger affect than Heath Ledger's passing last week, but for obvious conflicting reasons. He was a talented actor whose best days were clearly ahead; but as it stands, I've got a ho-hum thing going right now with the idea of there being no further films connected to his name (after the upcoming Batman sequel, of course).
But with Britney, I think I'd genuinely miss the snarky blog commentary that's out there. I'd miss her crazy behavior, her sleazy outfits, her ongoing custody "battle" and the potential to see her past-prime naked body in a Playboy Centerfold when things finally hit non-mortal rock bottom.
As a nation, I don't think we're simply consumed with celebrity as an entity; we're consumed with celebrities who are different than the rest of us. We're not out there perched in trees with telephoto lenses in front of Will Ferrell's house or Jimmy Kimmel's mansion, because aside from being humorous personalities, they're just regular dudes with families and cookouts and the like. We follow around Britney Spears and her ilk (attractive, drunken, drug-abusing, shaven-pussied, blonde trainwrecks) because they're so detached from humanity, we might as well be Jane Goodall studying a different species. And with Spears, we're reaching a level of batshit crazy we haven't seen since Michael Jackson morphed from the biggest thing on the planet with the number one album of all time to a child-molesting circus-home owner.
This is an obvious comparison because they ARE so similar. From early ages, they were put to work by star-starving parents looking for their meal ticket in the music and entertainment industry. Michael had his Jackson 5, his TV shows and specials, his worldwide renown at age 11, his symbolic emancipation with the 'Off The Wall' record in 1979 (age 21), his super-duper-star status achieved in 1982 with 'Thriller', his world conquering status in 1987 with 'Bad' and his slow decline through the 90s with his crazy skin transformation, plastic surgeries, and child molestation charges.
Britney was first put to work at age 8, got her break with Disney at age 11, by 1998 she was unleashed to the world with her Baby One More Time album and video (age 17), went on to sell nearly 100 million albums within a decade that saw the rise of the Internet and an explosion of paparazzi, got married, had kids, got divorced, and slowly descended into madness.
Now, for some reason, Michael Jackson deserves all his negative and overwhelming publicity because public perception has ruled that he's a pedophile in spite of a total lack of any conviction that flies in the face of tremendous evidence against; yet, I'm supposed to feel sorry for Britney's current state because she's harassed 24/7 with cameras in her face? I don't buy it. I'm tired of these non-crazy celebrities thinking they have some solidarity with Britney because once in a while when they go to buy a donut they're bothered by a few dudes with cameraphones.
Listen to me: Britney Spears is a Grade A Attention Whore. She calls these paparazzi crews in advance because she relishes all the attention. She loves seeing her name in the papers, having people call in to Ryan Seacrest to defend her honor. She loves toying with the media with her British accent and loose snatch upskirt shots. If Britney really wanted to "get better", she'd go into seclusion or move to India for a year like Michael. She'd show up in court when she's supposed to instead of pulling a slow drive-by before hitting the nearest Starbucks to give her the energy required to sustain a long night of partying.
I'm not saying she's not crazy. I'm just saying that she's Mad with Power, she won't listen to anyone outside her inner circle (kinda like Elvis in his last years, only without so many shooting incidents), and there's just no turning back.
I mean, it's EVERY DAY with this shit. Even Anna Nicole took a week or two off before doing something stupid! Jennifer Lopez and Christina Aguilera have managed to fend off the National Enquirer every now and again ... because they stay in doors once in a while instead of coveting constant grocery store coverage!
Don't pity Britney Spears. Pity the dozens of photogs who are forced to follow her every insipid move to make a living. These are erstwhile artists who couldn't hack it in the legitimate Photography Community, so they're doing what they can to stay afloat while following their life's passion. Do you think ANYBODY, given the option of freelancing for Harper's or Rolling Stone or waiting outside of Britney Spears' mansion all night, would choose the latter?
Of course not, so Britney, I'm not saying I want you do kill yourself now. I'm just saying, take pity on this poor, overworked Paparazzi. Any time before the end of the year will be fine by me (thereby winning me a free dinner in a bet I have going).
Red Lobster, here I come.