Thursday, September 13, 2007

Leave Britney Alone

This might seem like my strangest post ever for two main reasons: one, it's about to be about Britney Spears, and, two, I'm actually about to defend Britney Spears.

Why "waste" time on this? You have more brain cells than this, you might say.

Well, maybe you've heard by now about this gay fan of Britney's who made this famed YouTube video in which he's "crying" and begging people to leave Britney alone. Not that I wanted to do it to that extent, but I'd actually planned to ask the same thing of everyone before I saw that video.

First, yes--I love Britney. Not her. Her music. Second, I've been bothered for years now over the way Britney has been made everyone's favorite boxing bag. With everything I have to say about how badly white female 20-something celebrities look in the media, and how, in turn, badly they make young white females look all over this nation--and, yes, Britney is one of the young white female celebs contributing to this phenomenon--I still don't think she deserves the way she's treated and the way she's talked about.

Imagine being you but being Britney. That is, imagine just being who you are, doing what you do...but never getting a moment's peace. Obviously, if one makes the choice to become an entertainer, privacy is out the window. However, no one is treated quite like Britney. Christina Aguilera couldn't pay the media to give her the time of day, let alone stalk her like they do Britney (ironically, that's why she hates Britney). Hell, she was in the "lesbian" VMAs kiss with Britney and Madonna, and no one ever cared. Every step Britney makes, everything she says, is over-scrutinized. Am I defending her as a person or as a mother? Am I defending the choices she makes? Absolutely not. But I am defending her as a human being, because that's one of several things Chris Crocker and I agree on--Britney is a human being, and she should be treated like one...not like she just exists to provide endless amounts of jokes and insults. Seriously, imagine this being your life--a living joke, punching bag or waste basket. Next time you have something to say about Britney, think about what if that were you.

For me, the response to her latest VMAs performance was the last straw. I don't know what that was all about, but I do know that neither the song nor the performance were Britney-quality. Whatever you say about Britney, it really needs to be acknowledged that Britney has always been at the top of her game. Whether or not you like the game she's involved in is a separate issue. I know people hate pop music, or so they try to say. And I know Britney's not the best singer (which, honestly, how well you sing just doesn't seem to matter anymore...and if you go back to many pop records from the 80s, you might want to ask when did it ever matter with regards to pop music...oh, right...the 90s. Well, but there was still the 80s when practically no pop artist had a great voice). But, no contest, the best of that genre has always been Britney Spears (or at least since 1998). You could argue about that, but, to me, you'd be arguing for people who don't really belong in the pop genre, i.e. pretty much any black artist (so that takes people like Beyonce and Usher out) or people who really made it for themselves during Britney's downward spiral while she wasn't making music, i.e. Justin Timberlake, who seems to be some wannabe urban artist anyway.

Anyway, the her performance was bad. Are you seriously going to sit there and tell me that we don't see lackluster performances on TV on a regular basis? Really, her performance wasn't bad; it was average, like everyone else's. Anybody remember when live performances used to be way better than the CD (or, back then, tape)? Now it's the other way around, consistently. Even someone like Faith Hill, who just hits it on her CDs, sounds kind of off live oftentimes. And then there are other artists who just stand there and sing--how interesting is that? Britney's no exception. Except...when it's Britney, all hell breaks loose.

And this is the queen of performances today. She is what people like Janet, Madonna and Michael used to be, what pretty much no one nowadays is. She's the person who, when they come to the stage, you know you're about to see something awesome. So she didn't bring it this time--why should she if no one else is going to? That's just not how the industry works anymore. Everything about the entertainment industry is a disappointment. Why should we spend all our time kicking Britney in the oonie, then expect her to want to give us the best performance at every VMA showing? Like Crocker said, you're lucky the chick even bothered to show up after the way everyone has been treating her and since every little thing she does is ripped apart. For once, she could have just left us with absolutely nothing to say. Britney could have come out and done a great job, and there still would have been something. Best to just stay at home. On second thought, there would have been comments about that, too.

The girl can't win for losing anymore. And, to be fair, she was the talk of the town even before her downward spiral. It's not all just because of the dumb things she does. What I've realized over the past week is that people hate the best, the closest thing to perfection. So whenever the best screws up, it's the most talked about thing. It's the funniest thing. Whenever the best rips it, it's the most talked about thing. It's the most picked apart thing. Being a college football fan, I see this not only with Britney but with the University of Michigan's football team right now, as well. Like Britney, they have a lot of haters, as well, and they're all delighting in Michigan's downward spiral.

The Sarah Silverman jokes before Britney's performance were incredibly mean-spirited and completely unnecessary. And the response to Britney's performance is the same. I just don't understand hating someone so much or being so mean towards someone you really don't even know. So, yes, I'm defending Britney. And I'm asking, once again, regardless of whether or not you'd ever make any of the same choices Britney has, to put yourself in Britney's shoes and imagine what it'd feel like if choices you did make were so scrutinized, so criticized and you could never be left alone or do anything right. Wouldn't you want to be left alone?