Friday, June 16, 2006

Stars – They Really Are Just Like Us! No I Mean It!

I was obligated, of course, to watch the entirety of Matt Lauer's interview with Britney last night on Dateline, and although I was temporarily distracted by Matt’s lack of socks with his loafers, I am forced to reiterate my thoughts on Britney Spears and why I feel for her where all I feel about the likes of, say, Jessica and Ashleeee, is dead inside. Britney is very upset (to the point of tears) about the paparazzi and the press saying all these terrible things about her, and her husband, and especially about whether or not she’s a bad mom. I kinda want to defend her motherhood even though it’s impossible to know what she’s like at home, but her public mistakes (almost tripping with the baby, driving with the baby in her lap, etc.) are mistakes people make every day, they’re just not usually caught on film. Our celebrity-obsessed culture focuses on one mom and her little mistakes simply because she’s famous while there are kids who are being physically abused every day going unnoticed because, you know, they’re anonymous. And so Britney says, crying, “People forget we’re just people.”
Here’s the thing, though. Britney’s all about ‘being herself” and on the one hand you gotta give it up to her for that – her mascara alone was a mess last night and she had on a sheer, low cut maternity top and as usual, was chewing gum through the whole interview, which doesn’t lend her an air of maturity. She might have done well to do what everyone does and hire a stylist and a publicist to take the gum out of her mouth, but she didn’t, and if the option is Jessica Simpson, um, ick. Anyway, she’s twenty-four years old. I shudder to think what my world would have been like had it been captured on film back then. I have said many times, I really think that when people have this drive to be famous, I think they often just have no way of preparing for what comes along with that, and then when it happens, they’re understandably upset but there’s almost never any responsibility, no one ever says, I chose this package deal. Do I think the paparazzi is completely out of control? For sure. Even more heartbreaking to me is that Britney kept saying, “I’m fine, I’m happy – It just makes me a stronger person.” And I’ve heard this so often from young people, myself first and foremost – and with a few years on me I think, you know, yeah, I always was a strong person, I was always “fine,” but I see now that my strength isn’t my imperviousness to pain. It’s my willingness to accept it.
Can I just say, though, Britney, you only have a housekeeper once a week? You like cleaning? Even my family had a housekeeper once a week! Man, if I had the money I’d have a guest house just for the housekeeper.


smussyolay said...

really? is holding a baby while driving a mistake people make every day? i'm thinking that one is a mistake that really, really lazy or stupid people make. that one really is ridiculous. i mean, c'mon.

there couldn't be ANY more talk about seatbelts, car seats, air bags, rear facing things, back seats, etc. really? she thinks it's okay to hold your baby while driving? that seems SO preposterous to me. i've known some pretty young and pretty rough people with kids and they have car seats and stuff.

and while i think the idea of having a nanny raise your kids VERY creepy and sad, where is the help for this girl?

Betsy said...

Yeah, unfortunately I think it is. At least Britney, we can be pretty sure, won't do it again. Let's compare and contrast with, mmm, Michael Jackson, who once dangled his baby out a balcony window - or the guy who held his baby while he played with the alligator... back when I was little, there were no car seats, air bags, seatbelts were optional, cellphones didn't exist, and we survived. Yes, she should know better. But I do think she's being unfairly singled out .

smussyolay said...

definitely noted on michael and alligator man (i thought of them, too) -- and they were also stupid. i think i'm mad more that they got less shit because they were men... they're *supposed* to be dumb, they're DADS!! they're MEN!! duh! but a mother!? that's not natural!

as far as celebrity goes, though. that's something that sociologically fascinates me on many levels. she is/was famous enough that she's still in the eye, but at some point if she -wanted- to, i think she could go off the grid. shit, if she really, really wanted to? i think she could now. disappear somewhere remote for a year (or five). and sooner or later, we'd all stop thinking/talking about her.

so, while i'm about the whole "celebrities are just humans like we are so give them a break, jerks," i also am sort of on the side of "you sort of have chosen this for yourself after a certain point" side. i'm definitely conflicted.

it's like being a stripper and then wondering why men hit on you or maybe assume you'd turn a trick. ? you know?

i'm not trying to be mean to britney (although she's really not a fave), but this is a subject that has fascinated me for a long time, esp. since i've held delusions of becoming rich and famous my whole life. so, i've had to ponder such dilemmas.

Betsy said...

I had the sense from things that weren't said that she might actually go off the grid someday - for sure she could. But - that's not what anyone (unabombers notwithstanding) really wants, or should have to do to have a normal life. I just think it's all a little more complicated, and people are bashing her unfairly and I dunno, I just feel like I want to take her in and give her a big hug and give her some of the wisdom of my years. Of celebrity. Ha.

smussyolay said...

i guess i don't mean go off the grid as in no credit cards or anything, i just mean take yourself out of the public eye.

i think it was maybe eddie vedder who whined back in the day that he was famous or something and my friend was like..."then don't be famous...go chill out for awhile. stop touring, etc. it's not like you're hating it THAT much." i mean, that's the some extent, i think you trade off having a 'normal life,' because you make millions of dollars and millions of people know you and you can have pretty much whatever and whomever you want, and that's NOT normal.

again. i get you. you want to smuss her and loave her and be nice to her. and that's cool. cause the other part of me really bags on all these people who read star and people and all those other mags and just mock and rag and gossip about celebrities constantly, too. as if they knew them or something. that's another fascinating thing to me. the fact that we love to love these people, but then we love to hate them, too.

and in my delusions of being rich and famous, i get to thinking, would that drive me insane (being recognized all the time)? what if i got sick of it...everyone talking about me (since that is one of my favorite subjects and all)? then what? would i go batshit? and then i always think: i'd always be gracious. i'd always sign an autograph and talk with people, i think... i hope. i'm just that kind of person.

but like everything i've had to learn the hard way, i never know these things until i'm in the situation.

Betsy said...

Exactly, she just needs a good smussing.
I'm sure you'd be gracious. To the extent that anyone knows who I am at all, I'm super grateful, and of course writers for the most part don't have the Britney problem. I think when success comes later, and after the sorts of stuff we've been through to get there ;), you can't help but have a little better perspective on it. Now if I could just get the cash to go with the recognition... Anyway, I think the purpose celebrity seems to serve, culturally, right now, is for someone to make us feel - better than and worse than. Either way, it's idiotic, because they really are people, people for whom the normal rules begin to fly out the window very often, and had I had that sort of fame back when I thought I wanted it, I am so completely sure it would have skewed my perspective too.

.25 life crisis kid said...

she did make ONE major mistake though. HUGE.

Lauer asked her something along the lines of "what is your goal in life right now. Who do you want to be?" (Something like that).

And she said...

"I don't know."

Given. That's a good 24 year old answer...IF YOU DON'T HAVE A CHILD!

Her first and only answer(if she doesn't care about her spotlight anymore) should have been...BE THE BEST MOM I CAN BE.

That's just me.

And I'm 24. And I don't even have a baby.

So. I don't think it's just the fame that's screwing her up...