Sunday, August 28, 2016

I feel sorry for Britney Spears

A lot of the hype about tonight's Video Musi--Wait, we have to call them the VMAs now, I think--about tonight's VMA show on MTV concerns the potential SHOCK generated by Britney Spears' performance. Will she lip-sync (Uh, yeah)? Will she make an inappropriate gesture of some kind (perhaps)? Will she wear something revealing (Magic 8-ball says...signs point to yes).

I long ago stopped caring about the MTV Awards (If I were younger and angrier, I'd say that MTV stopped caring about ME, man!!!), but I'll admit I still care whether or not Britney Spears is going to dance on TV in something revealing, and I might even watch the YouTube clips the next day. But it's a shame that this is all the media is talking about.

One might argue that it's her choice to do this, and to an extent, of course that's true. However, she has a history of mental issues, was stripped of the ability to control her own career (her own life, even), and now spends much of her performing career at a residency in Vegas to keep her off the road, presumably because she needs a stable, controlled environment. Every time you see her post on a red carpet or in some kind of publicity deal, she dons a fake-looking smile that makes her look like a prisoner. I don't think she hates her fans or any BS like that, but I think she is genuinely trying to play the part, which makes it even sadder to me.

You know when she does look really happy to be there (I'm not a psychiatrist, but I play one on Blogger)? When she is with her kids. I hope she really loves being a mom, and I think she does. To a lesser extent, I get the feeling she enjoys performing sometimes, maybe a lot of the time given the right circumstances. Yet if she really had the choice, would she really be doing this? What really makes her happy at this point in life?

I've seen enough accounts of her demeanor offstage to wonder if it's at best a "grin and bear it" situation or at worst a "lights are on, but nobody's home" situation. I can't help but wonder if the ongoing media narrative about how controversial her high-profile performances are going to be is part of the problem. She recently released a music video, and with suspicious rapidity, stories circulated about outraged fans complaining that the "sexier" version was scrapped. I suspect that whole incident was a publicity stunt, but here's the thing: Was it Britney Spears' publicity stunt, or was it "Team Britney's" stunt, with her being dragged along?

Perhaps I am underestimating Britney Spears and she is a canny manipulator who knows exactly what she is doing and relishes any kind of attention. But based on her complicated history, I wonder if maybe she'd be happier out of the spotlight, raising her kids, doing what she wants to do, and not feeling pressure to be outrageous on an awards show.

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