Sunday, September 23, 2007

Headlines of the Month (white trash pop tart edition)

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Britney Spears has featured prominently in our Signs of the Apocalypse series, so much so that one might well call her a SOTA in and of herself.

And yet, as her star has faded -- that is, as her career has crashed into oblivion, her character into utter disrepute -- the justification to consider her worthy of such high acclaim, even in a negative sense, has withered. She has become a joke, or, rather, a different sort of joke -- once a successful joke, she is now a pathetic one. And she is simply no longer important enough to be, or to be involved with, a SOTA.

Still, she remains a cultural icon, of sorts, a source of much amusement, not to mention Schadenfreude -- much pleasure being taken in observing her decline. Am I too hard on her? Too cold? Is there something wrong with taking such pleasure? Perhaps, but so it is: There is something inherently satisfying here, as whenever any hyped-up celebrity falls from grace, particularly one as hollow as Britney Spears.

And so I could not help but smile -- a smile of bemused bitterness, of bitter bemusement -- when I came across these pleasure-inducing headlines at the BBC this evening, all from this month, in chronological order:

And these, from earlier in the year:

And then there was the whole rehab and shaved head fiasco back in Feburary and March. Good times.


Yes, I know -- I've just spent an entire post on Britney Spears, a pathetic joke in our celebrity-obsessed culture. I apologize. I'll get back to more serious topics soon enough.

But while Britney herself has become a pathetic joke, the phenomenon of Britney, of her manufactured stardom, of her rise and fall, is illustrative of some of our culture's more troubling qualities.

Britney is no longer important enough to be a SOTA, but that phenomenon is perhaps the SOTA par excellence.

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  • That's so true Michael. I was watching news clips the other night on one of major MSM sites and their biggest story was Brittany. They skipped over the major news in 30 seconds and gave her about three minutes. Even the newscasters seemed embarassed about it.

    We don't have news stations anymore. We have video tabloids.

    By Blogger Libby Spencer, at 8:57 AM  

  • And now we're about to get a whole lot more OJ, too, which is even worse than Britney. Is is any wonder the blogosphere and the alternative media have flourished and the credibility of the MSM has taken such an enormous hit in recent years?

    And although I'm picking on Britney here, she isn't entirely to blame -- certainly not for her phenomenon, which is very much a creation of a celebrity-obsesed public and the media that dish out the sensationalistic frenzy.

    By Blogger Michael J.W. Stickings, at 12:21 PM  

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