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article imageBe careful what you ask for

By Viga Boland     Feb 21, 2007 in Entertainment
You might just get it and find you've paid dearly for it.
That, to some degree is what's happened to Britney Spears. And before you assume I'm being hypocritical in posting yet another article about Britney, when I've made it clear in other posts that I'm fed up with all the gossip about this troubled woman, let me make it clear that this thread is not really about Britney at all. She's just the catalyst.
My thoughts here have been prompted by the editorial linked to this. Philip Hensher of The Independent poses the question "Why would anyone want to be famous?" His very well-written piece sums up what I wonder every time I pick up a paper, a mag or those juicy "rags" near the checkout in my supermarket and see celebrities and all their secrets blasted on the cover. Why, indeed, would anyone want to be famous?
Oh sure, when I was a kid and pretended I was on stage singing to a rapt audience, I too had dreams of fame. So did my daughter, the singer. From the time she was 6 and we recognized how talented she was, both she and I dreamed of the day when her name would be on everyone's lips. That day never came, at least it hasn't yet. But when Britney broke on the scene followed by so many others who were "making it big" and living my daughter's dreams, we couldn't help but think she was missing out.
No more. After reading what Britney is going through, I am so happy that my daughter never became famous when she would have been too young to know the ramifications of that fame. I remember Britney saying she'd do anything, whatever it took, to become famous. Well she asked for it, and got it, and what does she have now? Obviously, a mental breakdown.
What makes it even worse, as the article points out, is that if any of our friends or family were cracking under the stress of watching our careers go down the drain, we'd rally to their side and try to help. But for the most part, their suffering would be private or restricted to those who love and understand.
Not so when you're a celebrity: every bit of your life is blasted to millions as soon as it happens. You are hounded and followed and exposed for everything you do. And when you break down, the whole world knows about it. Worse yet, they point the finger at you and gossip on about your breakdown. You can't even bow out gracefully.
What a dreadful price to pay for fame. Is it worth it? Well sure, Britney earned millions. She made the record books. And she made a lot of people rich. Where are those people now, the music moguls who profited from this teen idol? Are they there to help her? No, they dropping her like a hot potato.
What happened to Britney could happen to any young person being promised Nirvana in the way of fame and fortune. She worked very hard to get to the top. How often did the media report the hard parts of being a superstar: the hours on the road, performing night after night, interviews, camera shoots. Did they report how every move and comment is orchestrated; that young stars are told what to say and what not to say? That after a while, you lose your identity and don't really know who you are!
Does the ordinary man, woman or teen on the street know what really goes on behind the scenes of becoming a megastar? Unless you really study the industry and are involved in it in some way, you don't know the facts: it's not pretty. As Philip Henscher points out:
A life like this is almost unimaginable. To be unable to leave the house without being photographed; to be subjected many times a day to the violent, threatening and abusive attentions of the paparazzi; to have your every appearance in public picked over in print. There is clearly no escape from this situation, except perhaps through traditional means of oblivion, and the inevitable additional toll on mental health.
American Idol is a phenomenon. We watch the future Britneys all vying for the coveted title. How many of these hopefuls have any real idea of what winning that title will cost them? I bet very few.
If there is any good to come of what Britney is going through, I hope it will be to alert other young wannabes to the price of fame. You may get the fame but lose yourself. That's expensive.
Philip Henscher sums it up best:
What is repulsive about the whole sad story is that the agencies of her fame bear the responsibility for selling not just her career and her public appearances, but her private life too. On the other hand, when the tactic starts to carry a very heavy personal cost, nobody seems to be responsible for the breakdown but the victim herself.
Your thoughts? Did you ever want to become famous? Why or why not? Could you have handled what Britney and the other stars live with? Would it be worth it despite the possible consequences? And the big question: Should young people be pushed into stardom?
More about Fame, Britney, Breakdowns, Celebrity, Media
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