From pseudo-class to trailer trash

You might have been surprised when Britney Spears went from dating Justin Timberlake to backup dancer and publicity leech Kevin Federline. You might have also been surprised when she put her nine-month-old baby on her lap while driving, or when she nearly dropped him on a New York sidewalk.

I wasn’t.

Britney was on Dateline with Matt Lauer last Thursday to speak out against the paparazzi and defend herself. Of the entire hour-long interview, among the usual celebrity drone of “the tabloids are cruel” and “I feel like I’m a target,” Britney said only one thing that really held any weight. It was prompted by a question about her Vegas wedding and lightning-fast annulment thereafter.

“I was on the road for a while, and again I was doing a lot of what I was told instead of what I wanted to really do. And I didn’t know how to break out of that. So in my young mind I’m like, ‘I’m gonna just get married to one of my home friends.'”

Whether this makes coherent sense or not is beside the point, which is that this girl, like so many other pop stars in the late ’90s, was willfully manipulated into being an attractive and highly marketable commodity to be devoured by sweet preteen girls as well as horny boys and men. She, in essence, was a shiny and flawless representation of herself – a caricature, if you will.

So why would America think any more of her? Maybe we assume that if a person becomes that monetarily successful, he or she must have class and brains. But if you look closely, you’ll see Britney never appeared to have either.

For one thing, her simplistic music did not contribute much of anything to the world. Despite having fans of all ages, her lyrics were elementary and reminiscent of what I wrote in my journal in sixth grade. And, quite frankly, hearing her interviews on TRL or on any other celebrity PR machine didn’t make me think that it was her record producers who made her sound dumbed down.

It was obvious that making money, not singing or dancing, was truly her passion.

This is why I watched the Dateline interview to begin with. I thought, ‘Could it be that she learned something substantial after all these years? That her vocabulary improved or that she’s had a revelation about what stardom is really about?’ The answer is no.

Now, people are amazed when they hear of her “trampy” behavior.

Let’s face it – she was a gum-chewing, small-town girl from Louisiana with big dreams, and it was endearing. Now she’s the gum-chewing, small-town hick that can’t seem to get anything right, and we are just appalled.

In essence, the media, and thus the millions of people who buy the tabloidesque fodder, are now attacking a woman for being an ordinary person who makes some (albeit quite stupid) mistakes.

If anything, I give her some credit. She did her own hair and makeup for the Dateline interview rather than getting a style and makeup entourage to primp her up. Sure, she didn’t look good, but she’s retired (for now) from the pop-star circus and isn’t afraid to show it.

Could it be that we are angered at the fact that we gave her media persona so much credit in the first place? Or is it just yet another stab at yet another celebrity for the sake of revenue-inducing drama?

Either way, it’s time for America to wake up and look past the glossy images. Just because a girl can shake her ass doesn’t mean she’s talented or worth so much attention. And just because she’s made over a hundred million dollars doesn’t mean she’s not just your run-of-the-mill country girl.