I’m not one who normally gets into celebrity gossip, but there are some things that are just impossible to ignore. We all knew that Britney Spears was just a little bit crazy for a long time. But we’re all a little bit crazy, aren’t we? So there’s no harm in that. The problem is that this poor girl was thrust into show business at a super young age. She never had a chance. Some child actors/performers manage to adjust to life as a normal adult, but I think a majority do not. I’m certainly not expounding any information that’s new here. But think about how hard it is to grow up as a non-celebrity. It’s hard enough to adjust to the world as just a normal kid, let alone having to live your life as a Mouseketeer, of all things! And then to transition from that to the spotlight in the way that she did, on an absolutely enormous level, must be impossible to comprehend.

She was essentially born into a role not unlike that of a royal family. I mean she wasn’t literally born a star, but she started at a young enough age, that it was essentially all she knew. She had an agent at age 8. At age 8 I did star as Hector the Mouse in our class production of “The Cat Came Back.” Mrs. Arnoff recognized at an early age that I possessed unique skills that would best be nurtured on the stage. That, and the fact that before I turned into the quiet, shy, introspective person I am today, I was a handful in the classroom and Mrs. Arnoff hoped I’d release my energetic tendencies and need for attention by being awarded large roles in school plays. As it happened, my desk spent more time in the corner of the classroom than it did amongst my peers’ desks. But I digress.

The problem that Britney faces is that I doubt she was ever really helped along in acclimating to her process of achieving stardom. I don’t think it would be very farfetched to assume that her education was relatively incomplete. And I can only assume that she grew up spoiled with few, if any, people around her to help keep her grounded.

Now she’s on a suicide watch, she’s making death lists of people she wants revenge on, and she’s suffering from acute anxiety and horrible bouts of paranoia. She’s convinced that there are recording devices in her room at the rehab facility she’s in and she’s constant battling a feeling that she’s being watched. But can you blame her!? She is being watched! She’s American royalty. The only difference is that she isn’t revered like Princess Di was or Prince William is. And she certainly wasn’t groomed to the degree that the young Princes of Wales have been. (Granted that episode where one of the two princes – can’t remember which – wore a Nazi uniform as a halloween costume was a bit out of line for an heir to the throne of England.) Britney likely didn’t have a regimented program of tutors, teachers, mentors, and manner police watching over her like children of the crown do.

I get the feeling that I’m sort of rambling all over the place here. But what I’m really getting at, is that I actually feel sorry for Britney. Sure she’s richer than I’ll probably ever be. Sure she probably brought a lot of her problems on herself due to drugs and booze. And more and more facts about her drug usage are coming to light everyday. But I happen to be a person who knows a little bit about anxiety. I’m certainly not suffering from the levels of paranoia that she is, but I know what it feels like to be out somewhere only to be completely overwhelmed with a completely inexplicable sense of dread. On more than one occasion I’ve fled bars, clubs, and restaurants for reasons I didn’t fully understand. It’s about as scary a feeling as there is. And it’s one that is next to impossible to control at the moment it happens.

So what it comes down to is the fact that all these amazing events of Britney’s life have finally come to a head (no pun intended when considering her recent haircut). Actually, her haircut is a pretty good indication of what’s going wrong with her. She lost her hair, yes, by choice, but I also happen to think that she’s losing her mind. I wonder if it isn’t such a far-fetched notion to think that she knows she’s losing her mind, and shaving her head was her subconscious way of showing us this. “Look, my hair is gone. You can see the outside of my scalp, beneath which is my skull, encased in which is my brain. And there’s something wrong with it!”

I joked not long ago with various friends that the perfect move for Britney and her career would be for her to join Slazenger 7 (the band of which I’m a member, for those unaware). And actually, it probably would. She could have been the lead singer of a band that has no fame, very little, if any, following. If she would become a member of the group, she would be just that, a member. It it wouldn’t have been her band. It wouldn’t be just her out on stage with a bunch of backup potential husbands. She simply would have been the face of of a band that played light-hearted, irreverent, rock ‘n’ roll songs. No crazy dance routines. No constant appearances on MTV. Just a chance to hang out, sing songs, play some clubs, and have fun. Granted, her being who she is would probably have prevented this from being like that, but still. Her public appearances would be as part of a group. Not just her. But if you go back and look at the beginning of this paragraph, you’ll see I began it by suggesting my thoughts what would be good for her career. I think that’s the problem. Since she’s been eight years old, people have been worried about what would be good for Brittney’s career. Who’s been worried about Britney?

Besides me that is.

Now Anna Nicole is a slightly different story only in that she was older when she got famous. I think she was a girl who totally expected to live her whole life in her small Texas town. She had a one year old son when she moved to Houston where she got a job at Walmart before becoming a waitress at Red Lobster. Finally, she moved to exotic dancing in order to support herself and her child, where she was eventually discovered and groomed for Playboy.

The tragedy here lies in the fact that she wasn’t prepared for the jump to fame and riches like that. One second she’s stripping in front of a bunch of boozed up strangers for dollars, the next she’s on the cover of one of the most famous magazines in the world and pulling in millions of dollars. She didn’t go to modeling school or have ambitions to be the Guess Jean girl. It just fell in her lap, and she didn’t know how to behave afterwards.

Here’s one of the things I think may be similar between Anna Nicole and Britney. Anna Nicole failed her freshman year of high school and dropped out as a sophomore. I’m assuming that Britney finished high school, but I’m also assuming that it wasn’t a priority in her life, what with being a 17-year old pop star phenom. Is it terribly presumptuous for me to correlate these unfortunate life-path similarities down roads paved with drugs and alcohol with a simple lack of education? I’m sure it is. But I have little doubt that it’s at least somewhat of a factor.

I’m not saying these two women are/were dumb. But isn’t it possible to look at the vast numbers of child stars who’s lives turned to crap and associate the fact that many of them were home-schooled or schooled on the set of their respective mediums with the fact that they were ill-equipped to handle what life was going to present them?

Leonardo DiCaprio was a child actor. Granted, not necessarily a star, but he’s well-adjusted today. But he’s also a well-educated individual. I can’t help but wonder if either Anna Nicole Smith or Britney Spears grew up in an environment such as he did, how they might have fared.

I’m not blaming parents or anything, necessarily, but I think it’s really easy for the general public to look at the lives of these celebrities and mock them simply because their famous. Personally, I feel sorry for them. Anna Nicole’s death was tragic. I guess we’re still not sure what her cause of death was, but clearly she wasn’t right in the head for a good portion of her final years. Mostly due to drug use. But I think drug use is often used as a coping mechanism for people who simply can’t adjust to a lifestyle that includes being uber-famous. Yes, I know I’ll probably win the award for obvious statement of the year for that last sentence, but that doesn’t make it any less true. But when the pictures broke showing how Britney tripped while carrying her baby, you’d have thought she held a gun to the kid’s head. I have little doubt that there are plenty of parents who are well respected pillars of their community who have actually dropped their kids due to clumsiness. All she’s guilty of is being human.

But I guesss we don’t want our celebrities to be human.

Anyway, I’ll wrap this up by saying that I already sometimes think I’m going crazy. So I can’t imagine what it’d be like to have photographers following my every move. Britney, if you read this, I’m sorry but we’ve already found a girl lead singer, but if you want to join the band I’m sure we can work something out.

And don’t worry about the going crazy thing. We all go a little bit nuts every once in awhile. I usually do a couple times a day. Call me, we’ll hang out.

One thought on “Britney Spears & Anna Nicole Smith – The Modern American Tragedy

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