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Monday, January 21, 2008

Shattered Pieces

The other day, Jennifer F. had a great post up about the current-day tabloid story about the new Anna-Nicole: Britney Spears.

I heard the song "Piece of Me" today, and have to disagree with Jennifer F.'s take on it:

The one song that does speak to the trauma she's been through in the past year, Piece of Me, is still a hypersexualized track filled with gaspy "aaah"s and "ooooh"s.

I am not familar with Britney's music as I don't listen to hip hop. But today the radio was on and this particular song was named, so I left the station where it was, remembering Jennifer F.'s post, and really feeling so saddened by the comments made by the DJ's discussing "the latest." Before I go on, I'd like you to see some of the words to this song:

I’m Miss American Dream since I was 17
Don’t matter if I step on the scene
Or sneak away to the Philippines
They still gon put pictures of my derrière in the magazine
You want a piece of me?
You want a piece piece Piece of me…

You want a piece of me?

I’m Mrs. 'Lifestyles of the rich and famous'
(You want a piece of me)
I’m Mrs. 'Oh my God that Britney’s Shameless'
(You want a piece of me)
I’m Mrs. 'Extra! Extra! this just in'
(You want a piece of me)
I’m Mrs. 'She’s too big now she’s too thin'
(You want a piece of me)

I’m Mrs. 'Lifestyles of the rich and famous'
(You want a piece of me)
I’m Mrs. 'Oh my God that Britney’s Shameless'
(You want a piece of me)
I’m Mrs. 'Extra! Extra! this just in'
(You want a piece of me)
I’m Mrs. 'She’s too big now she’s too thin'
(You want a piece of me)

You want a piece of me
You want a piece of me

When I was a little girl, I decided at one point that I wanted to be an actress. And darn it, I was going to be a good one! Although I was shy by nature, I had a flair for comedic humor, I loved wearing costumes and found that playing a role was freeing for me. I could do anything or be anyone if I was doing it on stage. I wanted to sing like Barbara Streisand sang "Memory", and how Julie Andrews sang in "The Sound of Music." I used to dance "ballet" all over our livingroom while playing Mom's and Dad's records. This is embarassing, but I danced to "The Sound of Music" and Peter, Paul, and Mary's "Greatest Hits."

Um, yeah.

I was a clown, but you've never seen such a sincere (and shy!) clown in your life!

In Elementary school somehow I ended up in a group of "smart kids" thanks to a teacher who wasn't willing to let me slack; she was one who discovered the treasures I possessed, even though I didn't recognize them. And so that led me to the stage, where we put on a skit for the school, with hilarious results. I became a "star" that day, and my guess is that the very teacher we were honoring never forgot about it either.

In Jr. High, I tried out for a play, and was cast in one of the principal roles. I was so love with the theatre that eventually it lead me to Community Theatre, where, at the age of 15, I became "Annie" in "Annie, Get Your Gun." It was only for 2 weeks, until the real Annie could get there from her final tests. But it was Heaven to me, and I truly desired to act. I wanted to go to Hollywood. I begged my Mom to let me get an agent and do commercials.

She refused, telling me that no daughter of HERS would EVER follow such a path. No way. I argued and pleaded and no avail. The answer was "No."

Now, I've never been as pretty as Britney Spears, and I've never had her voice, but in her life, I see what I could have had to some degree...and I thank God every day for my Mother's wisdom.

The song "Piece of Me" on one hand sounds like a challenge to a fight, other times like a plea for freedom. She alternately plays the conquettish temptress, and then turns, mocking angrily. She is enslaved to the people who all want, and take, pieces of her, here and there. She has a family and is still working; no different than any other woman. So she is crying out against those who criticize her working when she has children. She has been in the spotlight since she was 17; and from that point, she's been surrounded by vultures taking pecks every chance they can get.

First it was the status of her virginity...that lasted a couple years, as I recall. Most people I knew thought she was lying. Then it was about her breast size: "They must be fake."

Over the years, it's been more and more- everyone wants a piece of her. She can't get away, she can't live a life of privacy. Every single piece of her is scrutinized and prounounced in the public forum. Whether she was a virgin or not. Whether her breasts were real. Whether she's a good mother. If she's too fat or too thin.

The message is loud and clear; Britney is a piece of meat. Why not take a slice? Everyone else is. Nothing is sacred.

And she knows it; her very SOUL is crying out for mercy and no one is hearing her.

And now the tragedy of her "glamorous" life unfolds before our very eyes. Is there any surprise, what has happened to her? Is it so shocking? After all, what she has been through would destroy ANYONE!

I was in tears this afternoon as I heard her lyrics, hearing her anger, hearing her agony, hearing the truth in her chastizement of those who continually chop pieces of her body and soul, bit by bit. How can there be ANYTHING left of her?

I don't follow celebrities; I don't know when it happened, exactly, but at some point I saw the truth of the world of theatre, film, and Hollywood, and I turned my back on it. Sure celebrities are cool, but what do they do but entertain us? I have my favorites, certainly, but I'm not interested in tabloid gossip about them. My interest is limited to their art, and maybe a bio if about them as a human being. But what has been done to Britney and those like her is an absolute crime.

You can use the argument that "She put herself out there." Sure you can. But just the same, her ability to perform does not give the public the "right" they have taken to tear all parts of her life to bits. The media is partially at fault, partially a pawn; for if the average everyday consumer out there wasn't clamboring for bits and pieces of their celebrities, the paparazzi would be out of work.

So I fault us all, the American public, for our decadance. For our inablity to leave well enough alone. For putting a price on fame, and that price is the body and soul of the one who does not necessarily chose it, but has it thrust upon them.

The best thing that could happen to Britney is for the world to forget her and let her heal. But that won't happen...the shark frenzy is just getting started, and it won't end until the headlines announce her horrible death.

That's just what happened to Anna Nicole. And name others...they aren't the first casualties of American pop culture, and they won't be the last.

And what is so sad is that Britney is a child of God. She is God's own daughter...and see how she has been treated, see how she has been used. See how she is being judged and ridiculed, see how the vultures are drooling for the next scandalous thing.

I don't think the world ever got to know Britney; they got to know an image, embellished it, recreated it, ripped it to shreds, and now stand in judgment over the destruction for which she is blamed.

And maybe now I'm a part of it as I'm discussing it here.

If I could meet Britney I'd tell her just one thing: That she is a child of God, and there is NOTHING anyone can do to take away her dignity as a human being. But I suspect Britney may never understand that again...because it seems there's nothing left of her but shattered little pieces that will require a lifetime of repair.

My prayers are with her.


Melody said...

It is sad, and all you hear in the media is how low she's fallen, how she's so bad that she lost her kids, etc. Your post is a needed reminder that Brittney is still a child of God; that He isn't finished with her yet. She definitely does need prayers.

The Ironic Catholic said...

Good post, and so true....

Fr. V said...

"And what is so sad is that Britney is a child of God."

Yes, there's the highth of the trajedy.

Anonymous said...

i pray for Britney seems likely she has bi-polar like me..& i wish she could get the care she needs..

Kasia said...

It really is sad. And no, she's not the first, and she won't be the last. I think the most prominent "first" was Marilyn Monroe, though of course she wasn't really the first either. Judy Garland had a horrible rollercoaster life with drugs and such, and I'm sure others did before her too.

Prayer is really all we can offer her. I so wish I could do more, but all I really can do is pray. Well, that and try to keep from participating in the feeding frenzy...

Tony said...


I find that my sympathies are not with Ms. Spears. I know she's a child of God, but that particular "child of God" made it very difficult for me, as a dad, to raise my girls in a Catholic manner.

You mentioned "depraved" society, but she drank at that particular faucet, building her fame, fortune and celebrity at the expense of millions of young girls who thought her skanky lifestyle was the way to go.

Now the faucet has turned into a fire hose, and it's not so much fun drinking from it any more.

Of course I'll pray for her. I pray for a very public conversion of heart, and the acquisition of the peace only God can supply.

I also pray for the millions of young girls affected by her. Not famous or covered by the media, but every bit as much deserving of our prayers.

Sarah said...

This was very thought-provoking, Adoro. Thanks for that. :)