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Britney Spears: Sex, drugs and pop
by Thanos Kalamidas
2008-01-08 09:30:28
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Two days ago a 14-year-old girl died in her bedroom in Athens, a victim of drugs and alcohol and her parents are trying to understand what really happened and how drugs and alcohol found their way into this child’s room. They are both very ordinary people, drinking very rarely, usually on special occasions, and, of course, they never tried drugs. At the very same time a 29-year-old former pop star is drowning in drugs and alcohol with all the media watching her and betting over her next step.

It's not my style to write about celebrity habits, but what’s going on lately with Britney Spears it was natural to come my way, after all it is everywhere in the media world - first you read about the kids being killed in Kenya and next the new deed of the young pop star. The truth is that stories with young pop stars are as old as entertainment itself, and there is a long line of young entertainers that have already walked the same path Ms. Spears is currently upon.

In modern times, especially in cinema, the example of Drew Barrymore is the first to come to mind. She started with small roles in Disney TV productions when she was very young and made her big hit with Steven Spielberg’s E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, after that alcohol and drugs became part of her life and she was only twelve or thirteen when she first had to go to a clinic for help. I think that the only child star in modern times to be the exception that proves the rule has been Jodie Foster who followed a more quiet life and has turned into an exceptional Hollywood star. I suppose the Taxi Driver is not the same as Disney TV for a start, but somehow most of Disney's stars have followed Barrymore’s example with the latest victim Britney Spears.

I’m not going to talk about her music talent, aesthetics is something very personal, but still Ms. Spears has become a role model for thousands, if not millions, of young girls and her struggle to deal with success, money and most of all fame has found its way through alcohol and drugs - well, all the clichés in the life of a rock star: Sex, drugs and rock & roll. In her case, it is sex, drugs and pop!

The media is full of pictures of Ms. Spears obviously under the influence of drugs and alcohol, pictures of her driving her new sports car under the influence and taking her infant kids for a walk in the park under the influence. When she passes her limits good policemen arrive at her house, carefully put her on a stretcher, then into an ambulance and drive her to a clinic where, after a couple of weeks, she will come out healthy and fit ready to start …all over again. This can continue forever unfortunately, since fame and money help.

However, what remains from all the photos and reports is the dead body of a fourteen-year-old girl. The fourteen-year-old cannot see that what applies to Ms. Spears doesn’t apply to her. There are no cameras around and nobody will see when she will take the first or the second dose for fun; there will be no medics arriving on time and there are definitely no rehab clinics to fix her good as new again. She thinks that all these will happen, but nothing really will. She will die alone among her childhood toys.

Most likely it sounds puritanical blaming Ms. Spears for what happened to a fourteen-year-old girl somewhere in Athens, but, whether she likes it or not, Ms. Spears is a role model for these girls. Of course, the 29-year-old Ms. Britney Spears is legally at an age to choose her lifestyle and is fully aware of what is legal and what is illegal, even more than a fourteen-year-old that is just looking for experiences, but something has to change.

This change has to come not only from Ms. Spears and all the Ms. Spears of this world, but from the media that show the fun-carousel that Ms. Spears is riding without pointing out the dark side of this fun. Actually in this case there is only the dark side and the fourteen-year-old has seen it. It seems to me that the media should be the next to go rehab. Last month one magazine that targets sixteen and seventeen-year-old girls, with a circulation in the hundreds of thousands around the world, promoted the pregnancy of another member of the Spears' family, Britney’s sixteen-year-old sister, while hundreds of organizations around the world try to prevent teenage pregnancy.

I don’t expect the death of a fourteen-year-old in Athens to awaken Britney Spears, her sister, the paparazzi, the news agencies and magazines, but unfortunately the child who died in her childhood bedroom from an overdose was not the only one. There are thousands like her around the world, each dying beneath a Britney Spears' poster on their bedroom wall, which should somehow awaken them to the real dangers!

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Emanuel Paparella2008-01-08 13:24:31
Sad and tragic story indeed. In the relativistic times in which we live and have our being (wherein everybody puts on their individual Punch and Judy show) we no longer seem to have the ability to grasp what the ancient Greek understood and promoted: that a beautiful life is an ethical life grounded in wisdom and that the unexamined life is not worth living. Ideas matter, and the young, whether they are aware of it or not, are unfortunately the victims of the sad lack of ethical dimension pervading our bizarre era: the era of fame and celebrity parading as a role model and characterized by perfection of means and confusion of goals.

Simon2008-01-08 20:37:33
I bet Thanos has the latest Britney album stashed next to his stereo!

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