Saturday, October 06, 2007

Shine on you crazy diamond

Some time ago- back in February, to be precise- I did a post on the meltdown of Britney Spears. I personally liked that post then, and still do. But I've steered away from talking about her problems since. However, I think it's about time to make a few observations. Because at this point, she's heading for complete destruction, and everyone seems to know it except her.

At the time, I said that her problems were due to her success at an early age, her desire to "have it all", substance abuse (presumed), the entertainment "system", her messed up family, yadda yadda yadda. I stand by that.

The problem is that she still had a solid chance to recover, both personally and professionally. Now, while miracles do happen, she's far worse off than she was 8 months ago.

Which is pretty amazing, considering where she was at back then.

Her comeback-thus far- is a disaster. Her kids have been taken from her, she might be charged with abuse, and yet another dirtbag "lover" is telling tales about their night of sex. And this one might have the video evidence.

Supposedly, she's going to be touring in support of her latest musical offering. At this point, it looks as though it'll be a disaster, if it even happens. Early reviews of her latest songs are pretty poor, and she's embarrassed herself every time she's performed publicly.

Of course, she's also embarrassed herself pretty much every time she's set foot in public, so that last point isn't terribly surprising.

She's closing in on a professional Black Hole. She's right on the event horizon, circling the drain, etc. If, or more likely when, her latest album flops, she'll be pretty much finished professionally. With no trace of a career left, she'll be more and more irrelevant than ever, and the shambles that is her personal life will also go downhill. She could well be heading for Dana Plato territory.

This is all more or less background. In reading more about what she's up to these days, I think she's only got a couple good options left. Even after the disaster that's probably imminent, she might be able to get it together. But how?

I think the first Good Thing that could happen would be a spiritual awakening of some kind. I'm not terribly religious, but if she had some kind of revelation, it would be great. Suddenly waking up one morning and realizing that she's kind of a loser- and definitely a bimbo- and deciding to look for something better is the sort of thing that would salvage her life, if not her career.

The next possibility would be for her to find a new manager. A nice Drill Sergeant type: somebody who's willing and able to kick her butt. What she needs is a lot of tough love. She needs to get into rehab- and stay there until she's actually beaten her addictions. Then she needs to get her lazy, chunky butt into shape (not that I'm in a great position to criticize, but I'm also not an entertainer). After that, she'd need to mend fences with family and friends, and finish up with a "contrition tour" of various magazines and TV shows. Oprah would of course be the crowning moment. Go on Oprah, admit to your mistakes, cry (hopefully with complete sincerity), show off your new look- sexy but understated and more mature (wearing underwear and keeping it hidden is a necessity), perform your newest song (which needs to be written and produced by the best talent money can buy), and you're golden.

The third option is finding A Good Man. This one is pretty unlikely, since she's been pretty bad on this count. But if she could find someone that she could really truly care for- and who really cared for her in return- it might inspire her. But he'd probably have to be similar to the Drill Sergeant. He'd have to be willing to put his foot down and tell her "if you want me, you have to earn me, cuz at this point you're a mess."

I'm a complete cynic, but I'm also a bit of a romantic at heart. It's worked before, right? But her new man has to be both tough and supportive. And as someone who spent most of his military career around Drill Sergeants, I have to say that's kind of their job. (The good ones, at any rate.) So options 2 and 3 seem to go together.

She needs to be lucky enough to find someone, and smart enough to trust him (or her) completely, whether as a lover or as a manager. Which again, sadly, takes us back to the realm of shaking our heads and doubting her judgment.

Here's hoping she finds at least a couple of the above. Unfortunately for her though, you don't usually meet them in tanning salons and nightclubs.

If she doesn't get lucky and find one of the three Good Things, then where will she end up? Well, we've already mentioned the Dana Plato "child star" suicide or accidental death disaster. Hopefully she'll avoid that one. But then what's left?

Well she can always go onto the reality show circuit. I'd say that in a few years, she'll be a strong candidate to appear on Survivor, Big Brother, or one of those other garbage shows that I never ever watch (really).

Or I bet Playboy would give her a shot- assuming she loses some weight (though airbrushing can fix a lot). Penthouse would also love to have her, but they'd probably want a bit more "action".

Both of those would be an admission that she's desperate, and as a career move, historically posing nude doesn't work out. Need proof? See Dana Plato again.

Retirement is the least bad choice, assuming she manages to hold onto her money without giving it all to her Ex for child support. Then perhaps in a decade or two, she can write a book (well... collect money from a publisher to have somebody write a book) about her rise and fall. Who knows? By that point, she might be forgotten enough to stage a genuine comeback. Especially if she were to get coaching in singing, acting, and dancing so that her new act would impress people.

Of course, she could always just take some time and try to better herself. Enroll in college, travel the world, work for charity, or enter a convent. But I don't see her having the desire for anything like that.

In any case, she's going to have to make a major choice soon. Disaster looms, and a successful album supported by a successful tour will only delay the inevitable fall. And make it that much worse when it does come.

As I said back in February, "Good luck kid. You need it."

And finally, as a postscript, here's a comment posted back then. With a nod to Pink Floyd, of course:

Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Now there's a look in your eyes, like black holes in the sky.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
You were caught on the crossfire of childhood and stardom,
blown on the steel breeze.
Come on you target for faraway laughter,
come on you stranger, you legend, you martyr, and shine!
You reached for the secret too soon, you cried for the moon.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Threatened by shadows at night, and exposed in the light.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Well you wore out your welcome with random precision,
rode on the steel breeze.
Come on you raver, you seer of visions,
come on you painter, you piper, you prisoner, and shine!

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