America is full up to her ears with great artists and thinkers, the kinds of people to whom you would proudly attach your destiny. Unfortunately, we can’t always choose the embodiment of our zeitgeist, and for some peculiar reason, McFate has seen to it that all of our fortunes are closely tied to that of one Britney Jean Spears. You heard me right: Britney Spears’ life directly reflects the trials and tribulations of the US of A, and may or may not be in control of them.
I remember standing in a Best Buy in 1999 and seeing the Britney album on the stands. Naturally, I wanted to gag, but for some reason, I remember thinking, “jesus, if vapid pop’s all the rage these days, this country’s in a pretty goddamn good mood.” Indeed, we were. It didn’t get much better than 1999 for the country, did it? Well, it didn’t for Britney, either. I wondered at that time what could possibly shake us from our happy perch; surely we were bound for bumpier roads, but I couldn’t fathom what could cause it. I also figured this little girl, dancing on strings controlled by others, would probably flame out in spectacular fashion, but I wasn’t sure whether the cause would be drugs, parents, men, or some other disaster.
Little did I know that our country and her life were intertwined so deeply.
If there’s even a chance she’s got our future by the short and curlies, we need to help Britney straighten out. First, though, let’s review the evidence that BJS=USA.
1993: Britney Spears is selected to join the 3rd generation of the Mickey Mouse Club. This launching pad sets her up for an extended run of sweet success. Also in 1993, President Bill Clinton takes office and guides America towards unprecedented prosperity.
1999: Following on the heels of her hit single of the same name released in the fall of 1998, Britney releases her solo album, Baby One More Time. Featuring her sitting in the “M” of receptivity, the cover photo demostrates the harmless, poppy good times of the album:
Also at this time, America managed to rack up budget surpluses of over $70 billion in 1998 and $125 billion in 1999. The dot com boom was peaking, and Bill C. had dodged all that impeachment business. In broad terms, life was pretty damn good.
2000: Britney releases her next album, Oops…I Did It Again. On the surface, this doesn’t appear much different than her debut, but there’s a slickness to it, something artificially spun. Simultaneously, Britney tries to play the virgin and the wild child, and the media buys it. She’s still talking up her sex-free status while singing an overly breathy “aren’t I naughty?” version of Satisfaction and strutting around in red catsuits:
You might also recall a certain election won in this year by a guy talking out of both sides of his mouth, playing the uniter to one crowd and the divider to another. And the media ate it up. I don’t recall Dubya a wearing a catsuit, but I think we all remember the rumors about Cheney.
2001: In July, Britney finally admits she’s a normal, fallible girl who likes to have fun and doesn’t want to live this PR-driven lifestyle anymore:
”I want to do things that people have never seen before. ‘I don’t want to be considered a role model…’I like to celebrate when something comes up ‘but I do everything with balance. One drink here or one drink there is fine. I’m growing up, I’m not a little girl anymore. But I never overdo anything. I can’t afford to do that.”
Indeed, not a girl, not yet a woman. Now, I don’t know what was going on in Britney’s personal life in September, but I have to believe it was pretty bad, because America went through a bit of a rough patch. Like Britney, there was no going back, either. We started down a road that ends in hell.
2002: Britney releases Crossroads, Bush unveils the dangerous truth that Iraq possesses WMDs. Both are huge disasters.
2003: Britney breaks it off with Timberlake, America invades Iraq. The two will never be the same.
Early 2004: Now the wheels really shoot off the bus. In January, Britney marries pal Jason Alexander (not the Seinfeld dude) “as a joke.” Hahahahaha. *Ahem.* 55 hours later it’s annulled. The country is officially concerned Britney might be falling apart. Likewise, Senator John Kerry draws mixed reviews in his attempts to distinguish himself on the matter of war and finds himself as overscrutinized as a teen pop star. The country is officially concerned we might not get Bush out of office, which would mean the country would fall apart.
Late 2004: Everyone craters. Spears marries back-up dancer Kevin Federline in her second secret ceremony of the year, and unfortunately, this one sticks. She also splits with her manager of the previous 10 years. The US “re-elects” Bush. Both outcomes were likely the result of overmanipulation. In Britney’s case, there were probably too many cooks in her career/life kitchen, and the rebellious collapse of her life was virtually inevitable. In the case of the election, there were a few too many cooks in Ohio’s kitchen, and as we learned in Florida in 2000, this manipulation was also inevitable.
Since those dark days at the end of 2004, Britney’s had to deal with the fallout of her decision, including producing a kid (bonding her forever to this fraud) and watching her nightmare hubby release embarrassing songs like Popo Zao. We’ve also had to deal with the fallout of 2004, including sinking further into the Iraq quicksand (bonding us forever to Bush’s malfeasance) and watching our nightmare administration release embarrassing claims like “immigrants are the real problem” and “Scooter Libby acted alone.”
Today, now, this is America:
Really, we deserve a page at Go Fug Yourself just as much as Britney does, if not more.
It seems to me we must mount a Britney Rescue Operation. Perhaps if we can help her dump Federline and get back to chipper, empty pop music production, we’ll dump the Repugs and get back on the path of good times ourselves.
Act quickly, America. Your own fate may depend on it.