In a celebrity gossip-feeding culture that thrives on people’s love of soap operas and Schadenfreude, Britney Spears’s myriad, poorly dressed tragedies generally make bloggers weep with glee. But this week, Brit’s latest downward spiral has ventured into tragic territory: She’s lost custody of her kids and, according to OK! magazine, she’s on suicide watch. Though our fascination with the macabre justifies obsessing and/or cackling about Brit’s missteps (see VMAs), these latest developments have inspired a different kind of reaction: pity. Britney’s problems have crossed over into the sincerely unfunny zone, and it’s time for us to look away. For good.
We never thought we’d say that. We love a juicy celebrity story, and we’ve been barely closeted Britney fans since the olden days of thousand-crunch abs and wrangled snakes. Her sweet but dim personality made us willing to believe her life would eventually work out for the best. When she hooked up with K-Fed, we figured she was rebelling; when she married him, we just knew she’d realize the error of her ways, and when she finally divorced the sleazebag, we assumed she’d quit partying after a week or so and get cranking on the mother of all comebacks. When that got derailed by rehab and head-shaving, we said, “Well … Listen, her hair was fried. This is just a fresh start! It was probably a GOOD idea.”
Clearly, we had high hopes for the future — there’s no longer any joy to be had in charting the ups and downs of Spears’s fortunes. Running off and marrying a guy who appeared in You Got Served makes for delicious watercooler gossip. But being declared an unfit mother? That’s downright depressing, especially since Britney’s unsettling response was handing over the kids like it was just an errand, then stopping at a tanning salon before hitting the bars. Ergo, instead of gleefully speculating which dude Britney is going to elope with next, we’re left wincing. Rather than youthful rebellion, her behavior looks a whole lot like mental illness, denial, and ignorance baked into one giant casserole of catastrophe, and deriving any fun from that just leaves a bad taste in our mouth.
Which is why we’ve had our fill of the tabloid coverage — from US Weekly’s horrific “Mommy’s Crying!” headline to the supposedly less sensationalistic Entertainment Weekly trotting out a tacky cover that plastered the words “Oh, The Horror!” over a shot of Britney’s untoned tummy. We’re just over it. Prolonged mental breakdowns and rumors of child-abuse aren’t our idea of entertainment, especially not from the tabloids we rely on for mindless amusement.
If we’ve learned anything from the fiasco that is Britney’s life, it’s that 24-hour access to celebrities isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Frankly, there are some things we’d just rather not know. —The Fug Girls