Now this is bordering on lunacy... some "doctor" said that making fun of Britney was "like making fun of people with Down Syndrome."
I... it. He... like...
I'm not sure what to think about our fair Brit-Brit anymore. Britney Spears may damned well be mentally unstable, but to what extent? Further, unlike many people who are truly -- I mean, beyond the shadow of any doubt -- insane/troubled, Britney can not only afford help, she could have avoided all of this by getting that help at any point over the last few years!
For anyone still wondering why we cover Britney, and all the Bad Grrlz and so forth, it's pretty simple: This is not really a "niche" blog; this is my blog. I dig comic books and sequential art, role-playing games, TV, sci-fi and fantasy; I am concerned for the state of humanity and this country; I am often torn by my own religious and political views, and so on and so forth; and I write about it all in my online journal. In other words, I talk about what comes to mind, and Britney Spears and the rest of these girls have been on my mind a lot.
Not for the obvious reasons (okay, for those reasons too) but because their entire "world" has become a sort of microcosm of pop-culture in the whole -- a kind of Petri dish which strips bare the rest of American society (no pun intended). Is it because the younger generation is comprised of morons or is it because the younger generation emulates these morons? That's what makes it important to me.
If Britney really is insane/troubled, then this could be the most important thing to have ever happened for the victims of mental illness! I mean, we have had a lot of fun at Britney's expense -- largely because we find it so hard to believe she really is mentally/emotionally troubled -- so, if all of this turns out to be accurate, shouldn't that change everything? Not just how we treat celebrities, but how we treat the mentally-afflicted, how we view Hollywood and the entire entertainment industry, how we handle the paparazzi -- this could be a real milestone with sweeping changes to our mores and values. And such sweeping change is desperately needed!
After all, isn't it true that we tend to dismiss everyone's claims of mental illness? And there's no arguing that celebrities have learned to rely on such excuses to escape punishment for their misdeeds. Who among us didn't roll our eyes the first time Brit-Brit checked into rehab -- or the third time Lindsay Lohan did?
But Britney's story was a bit different, wasn't it? She maintained that she had no problem and blamed it all on her parents' damning need for control, then showed up on the set of her little sister's TV show and served her mother with papers!
Salacious? Absolutely. More of the same old, "I know I screwed-up, but I have a problem, and I'm getting some help"? No, not even close. This was very obviously not another PR move; Britney Spears was forced into rehab against her will and she came out fighting.
And then she went even nuttier, y'all!
That's when the whole, "Maybe this chick really is crazy" thing started. After all, we are told how mental patients don't know they're troubled and refuse to take their medications -- and not only did Britney not get any better, she was doing anything but keeping a low profile! It was different -- the same situation, the same cast, but somehow... different.
We are bombarded with lies and half-truths from every direction. After all, Brit-Brit's PR spin is working overtime; the AMA is the pharmaceutical companies' bitch; the media can't get enough of a good thing; and every person in her "entourage" has his/her own PR firm and story to tell... Then there's simple jealousy- - we love to watch a falling star.
They tell us patients quit taking their meds when they "start feeling better," but that's a lie; most patients refuse to take their medications because the side-effects are debilitating, crippling, painful, and agonizing -- usually far, far worse than the "illness" the meds purport to treat. Britney's parents claim they're the best thing for her but their other daughter is already knocked-up at 16! Then there's Adnan and Lutfi and some guy named "Chad" or something... and Britney's just a hot mess.
This is important! This is historical! Britney has become the unwitting catalyst for social change on a national level. We are sick of the paparazzi hounding these celebrities but we know they bring it on themselves to some extent, so we don't know what to think. We want to sympathize with the mentally ill but we've been burned by so many low-life drug addicts and insincere celebrities that we don't know what to think. We know that something needs to change, but we don't know exactly what, nor where to even begin!
No matter how this plays out, the Britney Spears debacle will forever alter the current pop-cultural landscape. And Rated B has been faithfully recording it -- right down the line.
© C Harris Lynn, 2008