Support Local Journalism. Join Riverfront Times Press Club.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Britney Spears, The X-Factor, And Made-To-Order Controversy

Posted By on Fri, Apr 13, 2012 at 7:08 AM

  • Totally edgy, guys.

Now that she's reportedly worth $15 million to a TV show aimed at adolescent girls and their doting families, I think we're allowed to come to the conclusion, all of us, that nobody ever truly desired us to be offended by Britney Spears. From the Halloween-schoolgirl costume to the snakes to "If You Seek Amy" (like the swear word), it's clear now that we were only ever supposed to watch Britney Spears offend some other amorphous group of people.

Now I'm pretty sure that's over, too. Unless she's going to be The Mean Judge!

Here, at least, is the last possible place she can be a controversial or divisive figure. In the private, parochial universe of a TV music contest, where all music can be contained within theme weeks and all stars are discovered, still, by other stars and major labels, she might be a satisfying, stagey bad girl. The major-label types in shows like these act as though they still have not only the power to shape taste but the desire to expel, instead of build up, the world's Britney Spearses.

And Britney Spears can act like she's at risk of being expelled. Some possible story lines for season one:

  • Simon says something dismissive about her very real personal issues; Britney walks out to a commercial break as the crowd sucks air through its collective teeth.
  • Britney says something dismissive about Simon; Simon rolls his eyes and says something dismissive about Britney -- I'm thinking, "Nobody would seek Amy if she were dressed like that, now would they? (It's like the swear word." -- who walks out to a commercial break as the crowd sucks air through its collective teeth.
  • Britney sucks air through her teeth. The crowd gasps, and TMZ immediately writes a post about how offended some people they found on Twitter are.

This could be wishful thinking, but at some point I think there might have been a media establishment sincere enough in its desire to control our opinions (that is, sincere enough in its desire to control our opinions through something other than an exhausted, pro-wrestling-style faux-fourth-wall-breaking near-irony) to actually ostracize Britney Spears--to actually try to stifle her hypersexualized preteen-pop, or at least her erratic behavior at media establishment functions.

Maybe that might have led us to a Britney Spears who was a genuinely rebellious figure, or at least a genuinely controversial one. The one we have now, waiting aimlessly for her next cue, is just playing her part; no doubt she'll hit her marks again on The X-Factor.

Tags: ,

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 26, 2022

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2022 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation