Sometimes, people ask me what I think of Britney Spears.
The truth is, I’ve tried my damnedest NOT to know anything about her. In vain, I’m afraid. Before I say anything about the Britney drama, I must first point out that phony news issues like this only serve to distract us from what is really going on in the world. We obsess over celebrity follies while completely ignoring the atrocities of social justice happening all around us, and it speaks poorly of our intelligence that the mainstream media would be able to distract us so easily.
But still, there are the symbolic, philosophical ramifications of Britney’s demise, and they haunt me. And so, I must express them here.
I was eighteen years old in 1999, when Britney hit the scene with “Oops, I Did It Again”. My first thought, upon seeing the buxom young blond in her skimpy schoolgirl uniform was “there goes mainstream music.”
You see, ten years before, in 1989, the Republican media machine was making a tidy profit selling crappy music with hairspray and Spandex. But by the early 90’s, hairspray and Spandex were out of style, so people quit buying what the Republican media machine was doling out. That slick, corporate, pop-star image no longer appealed to the general public, due mainly to the fact that the public had grown out of the fashion associated with said image. This gave the liberal, grassroots rock community an opportunity to steal the spotlight for a few years while the Republican media machine shut down and re-tooled.
Thus, in the 1990’s, MTV was full of dirty, grungy, punk rockers that said: “Fuck the system, Question Authority, etc…” They may not have been pretty, but at least they were real. I myself quite enjoyed this period of American culture.
But, eventually, the pendulum swung back, and the other shoe dropped like we all knew it would. The conservative media machine emerged from its focus groups and marketing research with a new media darling. Britney Spears came out, and it appeared that the Republican media machine once again had found the right fashion and style that would sell crappy music and family values effectively. Right then and there, I knew it was over.
How could we compete with this All-American pedophile’s dream? Britney Spears became the new Mickey Mouse and Coca-Cola. American GIs put her pin-up above their bunk, so they could be reminded of what they fought for. Little girls aspired to be her. And cheerleaders danced to her music at every high school football game.
Britney Spears became the symbol of All-American Family Values. She convinced us that the world is beautiful and everyone is rich. Ain’t life just peachy fucking kean? Lets sweep all our troubles under the rug and sit down in front of the TV watching Britney Spears. And with all the right corporate, media and political connections, Britney and her clone-spawn soon completely took over the air waves.
So, I said goodbye to good music on MTV and radio. I retreated to my private, little world of mixtapes and CD’s and pirated MP3’s. I kept the TV and radio turned off. It was a kind of cultural hibernation. It was as if I buried my head in sand and said to the person next to me: “Wake me up when punk rock is popular again.” Like some tormented vampire in an Ann Rice novel, I slept below the earth, trying to deny to myself that this was happening to my country.
Now, almost ten years later, the blaring drone of TMZ has woken me from my slumber. It seems Britney ain’t doing so well. She’s cracked out, neglecting her kids, and going through a brutal divorce.
My first impulse was to feel bad for Britney and what the media and paparazzi were doing to her. But then I remembered who I was feeling sorry for. I realized the poetic justice of it: Britney Spears ruined mainstream media, and now the mainstream media is ruining her.
Many thoughts occurred to me concerning the iconic nature of Britney, and how she is yet another American Dream turned nightmare, yet another naive ideal that did not pan out in reality. Britney Spears is just another symbol of Republican hypocrisy. Another case of the false advertising, bait and switch scam. Innocent schoolgirl today, whore tomorrow.
Lets examine the business side of this. Britney Spears is not just a person. Britney Spears is a media empire, a corporate mechanism, and a social network. She employs dozens, if not hundreds of people. Producers to make her sound good, composers to write her songs, studio musicians to play the music, studio executives, lawyers, marketing people, graphic artists to airbrush the zits out of her photos… the list goes on and on. When you consider the paparazzi, ticket scalpers, and memorabilia speculators, there must be thousands of people drawing a paycheck from her face and name.
Now, the corporate component of this huge machine is doing just fine. The products are all out on the shelves; the marketing is in place. All the contracts have been signed and filed. Everybody’s paychecks are clearing because the American people run out and buy whatever the TV tells them to. The corporate structure of this business venture could go on for a hundred years if it weren’t for one thing:
The human component of this corporate machine, Britney herself, is completely burned out and fried. She can’t take the stress of being a living fantasy, the cognitive dissonance caused by being one person in the media and a completely different person in reality. The corporate mechanism built up around her puts her to the grindstone, trying to make her into an ideal that no human being could possibly live up to. So then she started smoking crack, and she flipped out, man!
But isn’t that how all our jobs are? The demise of Britney Spears is just further evidence that the corporate mechanism is toxic to humanity. We are all jammed, by the ‘captains of industry’ into uniforms that don’t quite fit us. And after ten hours of telling people I despise to have a nice day, I could use a hit from the pipe myself. Because even though the corporate machine tells me that humanity is well-mannered, tailored, and morally upright, my soul tells me something different. The fire inside wants to express my humanity as dirty and debaucherous. They label me as a derelict, by I think they are just naive and living in an impossible dream.
It seems the American dream has failed again. Mickey Mouse was created by a Nazi. Coca-Cola is a toxic substance that rots your teeth, destroys your metabolism, and dissolves your internal organs. The Coca-Cola company has union leaders assassinated in South America. Britney Spears has been reduced to a cokewhore, selling sex on network TV so that she can maintain her high-flying lifestyle. The quasi-capitalist system marches on.
I can’t help but watch all this and laugh maniacally, feeling vindicated in my belief from the start that Britney was just as much a fraud as Larry Craig. She is symbolic of every preacher’s daughter that turns out to be a skank, every Ku Klux Klan leader’s son that turned out to be gay. She is every child that gets aborted by its conservative parents at age 18, because it didn’t turn out quite the way they wanted. She is every ritalin-baby turned junkie. She is the nuclear human waste of the Republican empire.
Capitalism bent Britney Spears over and fucked her raw dog, then turned her out to all his homies. Soon she’ll be broke, and then she’ll die, probably of a drug overdose like Anna Nicole. But that’s OK. The corporate mechanism marches on. They can always just build a media empire around someone else; there are plenty of rednecks where Britney came from. To a corporation, humanity is a limitless resource, and thus has very little value. Always remember that the consequences of consumerism created Britney. Everything she did, she only did to compete.
The Republican version of the American dream is just like Britney, Mickey, and Coca-cola. It looks cute and innocent, but its really a bigoted fascist trying to brainwash you. It looks sexually attractive, but it quickly turns into a cracked out whore after you’ve married it. It tastes sweet in your mouth, but destroys your health. And ultimately, like Britney’s musical career, the corporate conservative version of the American dream will one day collapse, and for the same reason: it has no substance or purpose behind it. And it produces a pile of garbage that no one ultimately wants.
And so, the fundamental conflict between image and reality has finally come to light again, and the conservatives have been discredited again. Hopefully, the 2008 election will reflect this. How can those conservative politicians expect Americans to buy into their perfect little model image when the reality is that our symbols have become decayed and our society is falling apart? There is lead in the gold and its starting to show.
Sometimes, people ask me what I think of Britney Spears.
I think she’s a human being trapped inside of a machine that tries to mold her into something she was never intended to be.
But aren’t we all?
And so I leave you with these bitchin’ Subhumans lyrics:
“Mickey Mouse Is Dead”
Mickey Mouse is dead
Got kicked in the head
Cause people got too serious
They planned out what they said
They couldn’t take the fantasy
They tried to accept reality
Analyzed the laughs
Cause pleasure comes in halves
The purity of comedy
They had to take it seriously
Changed the words around
Tried to make it look profound
The comedian is on stage
Pisstaking for a wage
The critics think he’s great
But the laughter turns to hate
Mickey Mouse is on T.V.
And the kids stare at the screen
But the pictures are all black and white
And the words don’t mean a thing
Cause Mummy’s got no money
And Daddy is in jail
He couldn’t afford the license
She couldn’t afford the bail
The kids out in the road
Their minds have all gone cold
Cause Mickey Mouse is dead
They shot him through the head
With ignorance and scorn
They believed in something new
They read the papers watched the films
And they thought they new the truth
But reality deceives
Whatever you believe
There’s always another idea
And theirs is based on fear
The fear of being sussed
For what you really are
The fear of being laughed at
When you go too far
They call it paranoia
You can laugh it away
Until you come to realize
That everyone’s the same
People hide their problems
Under faces of contempt
They hide them ’til it kills them
And no one is exempt
Not even you
Look what you done to Mickey Mouse