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« Elsewhere | Main | Salingaros on Tschumi 6 »

April 23, 2004

Britney Fans

Dear Friedrich --

So shoot me: I enjoy Britney Spears. Not her music -- heaven forbid -- but Britney the public figure. She may well represent the final decline of Western Civ; that's a conversation that needs to be had. Nonetheless, as everything that really matters goes to hell, I can't help being amused by her existence among us as the all-triumphant porno-pop princess.

I love her clumpy, graceless dancing; her clothes-shedding rivalry with Cristina; her Daisy-Mae grit and determination; the whimsical way she treats herself to boob jobs (great big ones last year, streamlined smaller ones this year -- and why not?); her morning-after soap-opera messups; her cheerily shameless need for attention. As The Wife points out, Britney's got the figure of a girl who's dying to put on 40 pounds -- that's lovable too, in a National-Enquirer-reader kind of way. She's a Gen-Y Cher, an I'll-do-anything survivor with a cast-iron diva's consitution. One day she'll crack up, go into hiding, and then try to rehabilitate her career by acting in a John Waters movie. That'll be fun too.

I enjoyed Michael Musto's campy appreciation of Britney, here. Visiting a Britney concert, Musto notices that 9/10ths of Britney's fans are young girls, and writes of the show: "It's a choreographed, disembodied-sounding romp into bubble-headed estrogenland" -- that's pretty good.

And it's not just Musto and me: I can report that opera-lovin', fancy-starchitecture-lovin' Felix Salmon, here, has been spotted in the hipper districts of NYC wearing an "I Love Britney" t-shirt.

Plus -- what can I say? -- I can't resist trashing my own pretentions to being a trustworthy cultural commentator, let alone a man of substance. Not that anyone has ever mistaken me for any such thing.



posted by Michael at April 23, 2004


Loved her guide on semiconductor physics. It showed some true insights.

Posted by: ijsbrand on April 23, 2004 1:43 PM

You prefer a Luger or a Smith & Wesson? Name your poison, pardner! Britney - snort! Cher was/is much more classy, ma cher.

Posted by: Cowtown Pattie on April 23, 2004 1:53 PM

Well, I'll refrain from commenting on who has more class---Cher or Britney. It's sorta like asking who was crazier---Manson or Bundy?

However, I will be happy to shoot you. You might also be interested in knowing that based on my recent conversations with 11- and 12-year-old girls, she's also yesterday's news. She's trashed. So, you no longer have the taste of an 11-year-old girl. You have the taste of an out-of-it 11-year-old girl.

Posted by: annette on April 23, 2004 2:30 PM

IJSbrand -- LOL, I never saw that before. That's hilarious, and well-done, thanks.

Pattie -- I wonder if Britney will acquire ... well, maybe "class" is the wrong word, but something dignified as she grows older. Wasn't Cher kind of a trashy (if pretty and likable) joke as a young girl too?

Annette -- Oh, no, I've lost my edge. Who are the youngsters fans of now?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on April 23, 2004 2:48 PM


You mention a bunch of credible reasons for your appreciation of Britney, most combining various aspects of aesthetics, camp, irony and plain old appreciation of her all-American grit.

But c'mon gramps, give it up! Doesn't testosterone figure in the picture?


Posted by: fenster moop on April 23, 2004 3:35 PM

Testosterone? Do I still have some of that in me? I can remember what it was like to feel one of those feelings, if dimly ...

Well, she's pretty cute.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on April 23, 2004 3:36 PM

Bad Britney! Either that, or You go, girl!


Posted by: Michael Blowhard on April 23, 2004 4:16 PM

I can't help hating Britney Spears...It just annoys me that someone can get so rich and famous with no talent. And the media (as well as some people) is so obsessed with her. I just think there is more important things in the world to be concerned about than the life of some girl who can't even sing...

Posted by: Rod on April 23, 2004 7:06 PM

Am I the only one? I don't get it. That humongous body....and zero sex appeal.

Posted by: ricpic on April 23, 2004 7:12 PM

I don't know if self-plugging is kosher on your comments, but I can't help but cite my ongoing series called "Move Over Britney!", in which I show appreciation for women I like a lot more than the monument to emptiness that is Ms. Spears. My latest entry is here, and the whole list in in my sidebar. Cheers!

(Actually, to give Britney her due in two respects: first, she seems to genuinely want to give her fans their money's worth. I've never talked to anyone who went to a Britney concert and didn't have a good time. Second, she smiles in pictures. I've grown really tired of the pouty, brooding thing women do in their photoshoots all the time now.)

Posted by: Jaquandor on April 23, 2004 7:52 PM

Good lord, doesn't anyone around here have a sense of camp?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on April 24, 2004 11:33 AM

Based on her Saturday Night Live appearance, in which she displayed a respectable degree of comic timing, I think she has a reasonable future as an actress. (Again, a similarity to Cher.) Let's hope she doesn't take herself too seriously.

Posted by: CGHill on April 24, 2004 9:44 PM

Now we've been through this. Most of us don't even understand what the hell camp is! :)

Posted by: annette on April 24, 2004 10:53 PM

VAMP, she was a V-A-M-P, Vamp!

Posted by: Cowtown Pattie on April 25, 2004 4:23 PM

Rocky Horror Picture Show is camp. Jamie Lee Curtis, much of the time, is camp. Britney is another 4-letter word that starts with 'c' and ends with 'p'!

Posted by: Jaquandor on April 25, 2004 6:55 PM

1) It's not an "I love Britney" t-shirt, it's an official Oops I Did It Again tour t-shirt. Really, Michael, get it right.

2) Britney's genuinely one of the greatest pop artists of the past 15 years. Very few artists, and even fewer of recent vintage, can claim three timeless pop singles: Oops, the recent Toxic (which is simply fabulous), and, of course, Hit Me Baby One More Time, which has to be on any list of the top five pop songs ever recorded.

3) Rod, Britney has a lot of talent, and works incredibly hard. You might not like her music, but you can't say that she doesn't put a lot of effort into her singing, dancing, costumes, videos, etc. I very much doubt you could do in a week the number of crunches she does every day, for starters.

4) I'm with Annette. No one understands what camp is any more. Certainly not anybody who uses that dreadful Americanism "campy". I swear Susan Sontag would be rolling in her grave, if she wasn't alive. But suffice to say that Jaquandor is to camp as Alanis Morisette is to ironic...

Posted by: Felix on April 26, 2004 2:32 PM

If I really don't know what "camp" is, I'm more than happy to be set straight. What is it?

(And while I do give Britney credit for working hard at her product, hard work does not equal a good result.)

Posted by: Jaquandor on April 26, 2004 10:20 PM

Camp or not, I think the 2Blowhards have a genuine "first." I have never, ever heard anyone say anywhere before that "Hit Me Baby One More Time" is one of the best pop songs ever recorded. I think I'll just let the comment sink in, like gazing upon Everest or something.

Posted by: annette on April 27, 2004 9:57 AM

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