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Feedback: A little too much to swallow

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Taylor Kingsbury, Staff Writer

Taylor Kingsbury, Staff Writer

Is anyone else getting really sick of looking at Britney Spears? OK, maybe not looking at her. She is a hottie, I’ll give her that. However, in the week preceding the release of her new album “In the Zone,” Britney Spears has been crammed so far down my throat that the very mention of her name makes me nauseous. In fact, after writing it twice, I feel another wave coming on.

The pop princess’ handlers have obviously spent ludicrous amounts of money making sure that we know exactly who Britney Spears is, as if we didn’t, and that she has a new album in stores, as if it’s worth getting.

More importantly, her team of agents wants us to know who the “real” Britney is.

However, the only “real”ity we’re glimpsing through this campaign is how our media “real”ly force-feeds us our idols, and how eagerly we lap it all up.

The feast began with Britney’s much-hyped interview with Diane Sawyer on “ABC Primetime.”

The broadcast promised an intimate glimpse into the life and mind of everyone’s favorite pop pixie, but what we got instead was a carefully constructed press release masquerading as a legitimate news program.

Perhaps the interview was carefully staged or edited, but there was nothing revealing about Britney’s appearance. More than a week later, I’m still a little perplexed as to what the point was. Let’s recap, shall we?

Spears discussed her breakup with Justin Timberlake, a topic already beaten to death by the media. The pop star daringly reported that the separation upset her. So a person gets sad after losing their significant other? Fascinating.

Spears also strongly advocated abstinence until marriage. This is a curious standpoint from a girl who once sang “I’m not that innocent,” and whose sexual relationship with Timberlake was a matter of public record.

Britney repented this activity, defending herself by adamantly declaring that she thought her and Justin were going to stay together, and that when two people are in that situation, “stuff happens.” So, you see, Britney never actually meant to have sex, it just kind of happened. A complete denial of human nature? Now, that’s “real.”

This view is a nice fit with the barrage of sexually suggestive photo shoots Britney has participated in throughout her career, providing sock-drawer fodder for adolescent boys (and probably some girls, too) worldwide.

Perhaps the most startling revelation Sawyer extracted from Britney was her admission that her voice was merely “OK.” Well, jeez, Britney; we’ve known that for 6 years now. Are you just now figuring that out?

The “Primetime” interview was a fine segue into “Britney Spears: In the Zone,” the second in ABC’s series of one-hour commercials for the pop star’s new album.

The piece offered even more behind the scenes footage of the “real” Britney, spliced between live concert clips. However, if these performances are an accurate representation of a Britney Spears concert, the show should have been called “Britney Spears: In the 35,000 Seat Karaoke Bar.”

At first, I found myself screaming conspiracy, but it turns out that ABC is not the sole culprit behind this media blitz. Spears publicity junket also included her ostensibly purchasing a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Commemorated the day before “In the Zone” hit store shelves, Monday’s ceremony was a little too conveniently timed to be considered an honorary gesture.

In fact, when Britney was first announced as a star recipient, she was set to be added some time in 2004. Apparently, her pull extends beyond the ABC control room, and she was able to pull the ceremony forward to a more fortuitous date.

Honestly now, what has Britney Spears done to deserve a star on the Walk of Fame? Sure, she is one of the best-selling artists of the last decade, but she is also one of the artists whose CDs are most frequently sold back to used music stores. Trust me on that one.

She was certainly not honored for her film work. Her one foray into cinema was “Crossroads,” a critical and commercial disaster, which demonstrated that Britney can’t even act like Britney Spears well.

Britney can’t even really be called an artist, technically. With such a huge deal being made about her writing a couple of her own songs for this album, you can see how shallow Britney’s contribution to her “art” is. A singer writing songs? Imagine that; I am truly amazed.

Britney Spears is not an icon, she’s a product. Her façade is a corporate creation, and this recent media push has only revealed exactly how hollow that image is. She may make albums, but she certainly does not make music.

No one deserves to be idolized just for being cute. I know plenty of cute girls who will never get a star on the Walk of Fame, but will undoubtedly contribute more to society than a distorted and unattainable vision of femininity.

Wow, that was 21 “Britney”s. Excuse me, I have some serious throwing up to do.

Taylor Kingsbury, a senior journalism major, is a columnist for the Campus Times. He can be reached by e-mail at

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