Friday, March 02, 2007

Britney, An Appreciation: From The Worst Horse

The Worst Horse is a pop culture site for Dharma people, and a Dharma site for pop culture people. It's one of the truly cool sites on the web.

The editors sent me a link to their new post on Britney Spears, which is not another attack piece.

I can't stop thinking about Britney Spears and her bald head.

I keep thinking about it. Talking about it. I can't not talk about it.

Why? Because it's The Great Story of Our Time.

Now, don't get me wrong. I am not a fan of Britney Spears' music. I mean, not at all. (Is that clear?) But the shaved-head story is undeniable. Not because it's the story of a young, "sexy," capital-c Celebrity -- possibly -- unraveling before our eyes. It is that, but that's not what makes it great. Its greatness is in how emblematic it is. That shaved head is everywhere: the news, the tabloids, the web, and it's already been subject to many a Photoshop job, including ours (above). It's more than the image of the moment, it's already pop-culture history.

It's no surprise, really. Earlier this year, Newsweek ran a cover story about our "Girls Gone Wild" culture -- the Britneys and Parises of the world, and the young (and not-so-young) girls who are aping their "gone wild" behavior. Perhaps it was exploitative to make that a cover story, but it might instead (or, also) have been a near-last-gasp of the way we all were, Before Celebrity Mattered Most to So Many.

These days, the news stories people are most closely following are "Anna Nicole" and "Britney's breakdown." In the case of Anna Nicole, it almost makes sense: she did in fact die. And she appears to have left a mess in her wake. (Imagine if this is how Marilyn Monroe went. It would have gotten similar play. And her actual death of course did.)

But Britney didn't die. She shaved her head. Big difference.

Maybe she is having a breakdown. But maybe she's not. Maybe she's a stressed-out young woman who's had enough and decided, You know what? I just don't care anymore -- about being famous, being pretty, being busy. Maybe I will just, bit by bit, do what I can to reject it. Seems likely it's some of both.

Read the rest of this post.

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