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The A to Z of Britney Spears
February 17, 2002 4:03 AM   Subscribe

The A to Z of Britney Spears "T is for Totally, Britney's favourite adverb. After taking delivery of freebies from Hilfiger, she reported: 'My mom and my sister are like totally walking around in Tommy stuff.' Asked whether she and Justin understood each other, she cooed: 'We totally do.' And, with a grateful glance at the sky, she once asserted: 'I am totally blessed.' She has every right to appropriate the word. She is, after all, a totalitarian phenomenon. " [from The Observer, who really should know better]
posted by feelinglistless (27 comments total)

 
Superb, is cruel (but deserved). I have never understood the appeal of BS. She is an anathema to me.
posted by Hypnerotomachia at 5:49 AM on February 17, 2002


Calling Dr. Willis, Dr. Oliver, Dr. Willis...
posted by MrBaliHai at 5:54 AM on February 17, 2002


Actually 'T' should be for 'Tits' which she shakes with wild abandon. Or maybe her Tongue which she sticks out every 5 seconds.

A phenomenon? Nope, just soft porn wrapped in a banal musical blanket.

And how can she be a phenomenon, when the industry has been churning out music and 'artists' like this for decades?
posted by mikhail at 6:00 AM on February 17, 2002


amen, mikhail. amen.
posted by rhizome23 at 6:14 AM on February 17, 2002


Anyone catch Britney weekend on Nickelodeon? It is interesting to watch her turn from her latest images, with the shakin' bewbies and dancing with snakes, to wearing a blue and pink striped shirt and going on Nic trying to act like she is the sweet and innocent kid. I caught the commercials for it during SpongeBob, but catch any of it...Oliver?
posted by adampsyche at 6:26 AM on February 17, 2002


"A is for America, which Britney nubilely, precociously, go-gettingly embodies. The country is a permanent adolescent like her; she enacts its brash, mercenary dreams"

For a moment there, I thought I was reading the Guardian. Does every British newspaper have a requisite daily quota of US-snarking that it's obligated to fulfill these days?
posted by MrBaliHai at 8:01 AM on February 17, 2002


"A is for America, which Britney nubilely, precociously, go-gettingly embodies." Hard to say which is more annoying, the fatuous idea or the "rhyming" adverbs in this sentence. He galumphs through the whole alphabet, polysyllabically, donnishly, twee-ly viewing with alarm. In the next section he worries about her "designs on Prince William." Fortunately for the monarchy's future, Britney "slunk away, her brush between her legs." Universal darkness covers all at the end when Britney "triumphantly Americanises the supine earth." Supine earth? What a twit.
posted by bmckenzie at 8:09 AM on February 17, 2002


For someone who scorns the Britney Phenomenon, he sure wrote a long, long, detailed article about Britney. Bet he hated every second of it. Bet he will give the money he makes from the article to an art museum, since he is so culturally mature.

I also want to kill whatever genius came up with the idea that America is "eternally adolescent". For some reason the sniping anti-Western Westerners have latched onto this jewel with both teeth.

Plus, Britain sucks in the winter olympics. (just kidding, please do not reply with a message about my "jingoism", another word that I wish would curl up and die.)
posted by dr_emory at 9:08 AM on February 17, 2002


Well, Evelyn Waugh said "We are all American at puberty; we die French." Seriously, I though this was a very funny article, and unsuprisingly the Observer is the Sunday edition of the Guardian, with a few twists.
posted by laukf at 9:14 AM on February 17, 2002


"Designs on Prince William"--aw, too bad that didn't work out for the BS plan to blanket "the supine earth" with publicity about herself. Justin Timberlake doesn't even come close to the press that would have generated.

As for Prince William, wasn't it his dad who once described meeting the Spice Girls as "the greatest experience of his life"? (I'm too lazy to verify this for the mere sake of veracity.)
Anyway, Britney's star will likewise fade as the world gets sick of her too, by which time the media will be relentlessly bludgeoning us with the next "phenomenon" designed to sell CDs and soda pop.
posted by StOne at 9:27 AM on February 17, 2002


I thought the article was funny. To criticise the author for having researched his subject in-depth is stupid: you'd prefer he wrote an ill-informed article?

I could easily generalise, and say something about Americans being uncomfortable with criticism or seeing themselves portrayed badly by outsiders (the A is for America comment), and how that leads to much worse things.

But for whatever reason (generally economic, sometimes political), the rest of us, the rest of the world, get foisted with phenomena like Britney and the Brady Bunch and Friends. Isn't it fair enough for us to view it critically?

Conversely, I meet people who tell me they don't like American movies or American TV all the time (I live in Australia). And I tell them to get fucked.

Sure, we have to suffer through Baywatch and Melrose Place and similar crap, because it's much cheaper to buy programming from the US than to produce it ourselves. But we get the Simpsons too, and Seinfeld and Buffy, and Samurai Jack and so on...

US culture is pretty much global culture. And there's good and bad. But we can't be expected to just swallow it all whole without considering it critically.

How many of you upset by the tone of the article own a Britney CD?
posted by chrisgregory at 9:54 AM on February 17, 2002


I could easily generalise, and say something about Americans being uncomfortable with criticism or seeing themselves portrayed badly by outsiders (the A is for America comment), and how that leads to much worse things.

The reason that I criticized the "A" comment is precisely because it is a generalization and the perpetuation of a tedious stereotype about American culture. I don't have a problem with other countries criticizing the US as long as they're willing to admit their own failures as well. Papers like the Guardian seem to butter their bread with this sort of condescending cultural snobbery while steadfastly refusing to cast their withering gaze upon their own shortcomings.

I've lived on both continents over a period of many years and Europe is far from being some sort of bastion of consistently intelligent, uplifting art, literature, and music. Much of the local pop-cultural fare that I saw on TV and heard on the radio in Germany, Spain, France, and the UK was unbearably sophmoric and even more lightweight than Britney (Heino and the Bay City Rollers, anyone?). A very high percentage of European culture is adolescent crap too, imo.

And I don't own a Britney CD.
posted by MrBaliHai at 10:28 AM on February 17, 2002


chrisgregory....I wasn't trying to criticize him for researching. I was only trying for a crappy little joke about him liking to read about and look at pictures of Britney, despite his better judgement. ah, well. And I do not own a Britney CD.
posted by dr_emory at 10:53 AM on February 17, 2002


I was just trying to defend what I took to be a reasonably intelligently-written article against the tendency for MeFi contributors to take swipes at anything linked to it: either dissing the poster of the link for lacking originality or making the sort of statement about the link that they can feel reasonably confident that the majority of other readers will agree with.

I wasn't criticising you: I was just trying to be responsible.

As far as the article being a generalisation, obviously it is. But you're defending fluff, and by saying that Europeans can also generate fluff isn't a defence, because most countries in the world don't have to suffer the horror that is Heino. But they all get Baywatch on their local TV. And it mightn't be a realistic survey of US people and attitudes, but it is omnipresent, and therefore worthy of dissection and criticism. Britney is sent out into the wider world as a representative of US values and mores. She represents America to us, the rest of the world. And I'm sure that scares a lot of people.

But she does represent the US, and stereotype or not, I think it's valid to make judgements about the US based on the world-view that Britney presents.
posted by chrisgregory at 11:18 AM on February 17, 2002


But you're defending fluff

If that's what you think I'm doing, then I don't think that you're actually reading what I'm writing. I'm not defending Britney, I'm objecting to the writer's claim that America is in a state of "perpetual adolescence" which implies to me that the writer believes that Europe is somehow more culturally advanced.

But she does represent the US, and stereotype or not, I think it's valid to make judgements about the US based on the world-view that Britney presents.

Okay, do you mind if I make cultural judgements about Australia based on Crocodile Dundee and Yahoo Serious films then?
posted by MrBaliHai at 11:44 AM on February 17, 2002


Papers like the Guardian seem to butter their bread with this sort of condescending cultural snobbery while steadfastly refusing to cast their withering gaze upon their own shortcomings

No, the Guardian hates Britain as well. It never stops casting its withering gaze on our shortcomings.
posted by Summer at 12:05 PM on February 17, 2002


No, the Guardian hates Britain as well.

So who then is their prime audience? Self-loathing socialists longing for the good-old days when they used to hang out at the Gay Hussar in Soho smoking cigars and debating the merits of applying Stalinist agricultural collectivisation to the British model? Or are all their papers snatched up daily by members of the Monster Raving Loony Party who use them to line their hedgehog cages?
posted by MrBaliHai at 12:32 PM on February 17, 2002


Thank goodness ... I hate to think where we'd be if it was displaying the jingoism seen in papers elsewhere...
posted by feelinglistless at 12:32 PM on February 17, 2002


Okay, do you mind if I make cultural judgements about Australia based on Crocodile Dundee and Yahoo Serious films then?

No problem. That's probably as good as it gets...

The great Sir Robert Helpmann once said:
'I don't despair about the cultural scene here in Australia because there isn't one here to despair about.'

Australians probably outstrip the Poms for their capacity for self-loathing. The nice word for it is 'irony'. Which I've heard is a word that can't be found in US dictionaries...

The greatest works of art produced by countries like England or Australia have generally involved excruciatingly painful dissections of the poverty of their respective cultures. Look at Fawlty Towers or The Young Ones.

It's not only healthy to be able to laugh at yourself, it's also productive.
posted by chrisgregory at 12:46 PM on February 17, 2002


I'm here (I love that this is my rep...). I actually saw the movie (I felt it was my duty) - see the review here. Looks like the damn thing made $19 million this weekend.

Britney may not be a "phenom" but you have to admit that it's been a hell of a long 15 minutes.

I tend to think the whole idea of Britney Spears represents America more than we like to think. Of course, to me this is a good thing.
posted by owillis at 1:07 PM on February 17, 2002


Of course, to me this is a good thing.

Coming out of the spotless, well ordered Martha Stewart closet are we, Oliver? Finally, the truth is out there....
posted by y2karl at 1:30 PM on February 17, 2002


So who then is their prime audience?

Self-loathing Brits of course. Do you think they don't exist? You have to remember The Guardian has one of the lowest circulation figures of all the dailies. I think only The Independent has less readers.
posted by Summer at 2:04 PM on February 17, 2002


Coming out of the spotless, well ordered Martha Stewart closet are we, Oliver?

And Britney was in there with me. WHAT? WHAT? HEY NOW!
posted by owillis at 2:13 PM on February 17, 2002


But she does represent the US, and stereotype or not, I think it's valid to make judgements about the US based on the world-view that Britney presents.
Actually, a more representative stereotype of the US (if you must) would be Mike Tyson: Mess with us and we'll kick you in the nuts, bite off your ear and cornhole you so hard you'll fall in love with us and become our bitch.
posted by Mack Twain at 3:52 PM on February 17, 2002


even more lightweight than Britney...the Bay City Rollers, anyone?

Now Britney is obviously the spawn of hell, but how could you slander the Rollers, Bali? When I was 6 "Saturday Night" was my favorite song. So much so that I would occasionally start loudly singing at odd intervals in front of grownups, which I'm sure was a factor in my parents decision to put me on Ritalin.
Hell that song still brings a smile to my face today. Sure, it's lightweight teenybopper trash, but it's really good lightweight teenybopper trash, an as Mark Kingwell says(I'm probably mangling this quote)"At the junkfood level is where standards are more important than ever."
Now, If you'll excuse me:

"S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y....
posted by jonmc at 5:43 PM on February 17, 2002


I read the Guardian and have two Britney Spears albums! EXECRATE ME! That said I thought it was a bit of a drab article - nowhere near as poor as Elizabeth Wurtzel's Britpiece from the Guardian last year. The newspaper's pop coverage is apalling (it's very far from perfect generally).

Who The Guardian appeals to - people who try not to let their country of origin define them too much, maybe?
posted by freakytrigger at 5:16 AM on February 18, 2002


"The Times is read by the people who run the country.
The Telegraph is read by the people who think they run the country.
The Guardian is read by the people who think they should run the country.
The Sun is read by people who don't care who runs the country, as long as they have big tits."

Wish I could remember who to attribute that to...
posted by normy at 9:45 AM on February 18, 2002


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