for when you don't know what else to say

Friday, February 23, 2007

Craig Ferguson makes sense

During his monologue Monday night, Craig Ferguson declared he would not make any Britney Spears jokes. He also shared his own struggles with alcoholism and expressed something I've been thinking about for a while. (it's 12 minutes long, but worth it)

I have loved celebrity news and gossip for a long time, but the tone and exploitative nature of the beast seems to have taken a turn for the worse in recent months. Coverage of Anna Nicole Smith's death has been disgusting thus far, and only will intensify as the custody battle goes forward. But that particular story spun out of control last October before her death, when her disgusting pimp/drug pusher/companion allowed Entertainment Tonight and The Insider to exploit a poor woman who was obviously still out of her mind with grief over the loss of her son. Anna Nicole's tragedy was big news, but the really disturbing question (i.e. why would someone subject a vulnerable, grieving drug addict to these interviews) was not being posed. She was once again held out for our prying eyes like a freak show. But this was not some drunken dance at an awards show or dumb TrimSpa ad. This was her son's death. The whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth.

When the Britney Spears "Cootergate" incidents began happening, I just shook my head. Yes, she was out of control and not wearing panties. But most people who go clubbing don't have a cadre of photographers poised to get the gynecologist's perspective as they exit cars. And in years past, I don't think people would have published something like that. I didn't condone her behavior at the time, but I can think of some nights in my own life where photographic proof would have shamed me. Britney knew she had these people tracking her every movement, so yes, she should have tried to avoid it. But again, she's a human being - with a lot of personal issues. Her exploits just made me feel like she was in trouble, stuck in a downward spiral, and she needed someone to tell her there's another way to deal.

Fast forward a few months: Anna Nicole is dead, and Britney looks determined to join her in the afterlife. Say what you will about Anna Nicole (I was never a fan), but she was used up by her atrocious entourage and the media until there was nothing left. No one stood up and said that this woman needed help, not drugs and tabloid interviews. And now that she is gone, the people who profited from her in life are fighting over profiting from her in death. I hope the circus surrounding her messy exit from this life does not end up destroying the one good thing she had left, her baby.

I also hope that Britney will be able to get help and avoid a similar fate. She is clearly disturbed, and just doesn't know how to cope with what I can only imagine is a seriously crazy life. When I heard that she had shaved her head, I felt a darkness come over me and settle in the part of my brain that adores reading US Weekly at the gym. I just can't find it funny anymore. Craig Ferguson is right. Schadenfreude isn't as hilarious when the stakes are human life.

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