I Prefer Fat Elvis (my $0.02 on Britney)

I am loving the celebrity trainwrecks of the last few months, in particular the drug-addled hooliganism of Lindsey Lohan and the listless, floppy lip-synching of Britney Spears. I like the proof-positive that being insanely rich doesn't make you happy and I like watching basically loathsome people suffer.

Because here's the thing: when I was coming of age in the 80s and early 90s, most music stars and movie stars were resolutely on the left. The obvious comparison with Britney is Madonna, who (not always eloquently) stuck up for left causes and even worked Issues into some of her music (remember the video for Like a Prayer?) Britney and her whole generation of evil Mouseketeers sold themselves as this kind of hybrid of squeaky-clean Christian republican and Girls Gone Wild hedonistic frat house excess. The idiocy of saying something like "we should just trust the president" (I don't care which side you're on; no one should EVER "just trust" ANY president) and the pitiful, blatant hypocrisy of her whole lifestyle seem to have reached their logical conclusion with her simply falling apart in front of the whole entire damn world.*

A while back I read an article in one of my mother in-law's pop-psychology magazines (which are fun) about the social function of gossiping about celebrities. It argued that gossiping about people, whether or not we actually know them, serves as a kind of forum for maintaining social mores and standards. We critique someone's behavior, and in doing so we define what is and what is not acceptable. The Britney situation fits right in there - marrying some mouth-breathing room-temperature-IQ jack-knob: bad idea. Getting hella loaded with Paris Hilton a whole bunch: bad idea. Being really stupid: bad idea.

On the other hand, the debate that quickly emerged online about her weight is interesting unto itself; everyone agreed that her performance sucked and she's doomed, but people were quick to call bullshit on saying that she's "fat" (the short argument there: try having two kids and looking like that.) I take heart in that a few inroads have actually been made in changing the ridiculous body-standards women are held to.

So, to conclude: I prefer the Fat Elvises of the world, full of pills and liquor, dead on the toilet. I like watching horrible celebrities crash and burn. The schadenfreude is all the sweeter for knowing that they had the resources to make dramatic changes, even to call off their idiotic careers entirely if they wanted to and coast on the royalties, but instead they just hit the clubs, hit the streets, and hopefully hit a bridge abutment.

* Meanwhile, Madonna managed to reinvent herself successfully about six times before going into her aristocratic semi-retirement in England. Why she chose England, I've never really been able to figure out...


Kelly said...

hear! hear!

Chrissy said...

Well said sir!
P.S. I love that you are blogging about pop-culture. Isnt it deliciously fun?


hardcori said...

Why Madge chose England has a name, it's Guy Ritchie. He's hot and she married him.

kungfuramone said...

Is it fun? Heck YES it is! :]

And thank you, HC, for the elucidating remark. Now I know.

P.S. I prefer the moniker "Lady M" to "Madge."

Alexis said...

She lost her childhood though. I feel bad for Britney. The being-stupid thing is a shame, but she's basically permenantly three or something. We differ though in that i really wanted her to make acomeback and now I feel sad becsaue I don't know who could help her.

I made this video with Eff where I wore just underwear and heels and sat on my bed and wrote an open letter to Britney trying to encourage her. I think he didn't put it on you-tube because he knew eventhough I wasn't ashamed of myself I should be. :)