Yeah, you saw the title, and if you're anything like me, the first thing you thought of was one of two things, and since Amtrak has the better PR people lately, I'm guessing that Britney Spears is at the top of that short list, and the only other possible contender for the top spot would be the entire Bush administration... And even with all they've done to fuck up over the course of the last seven years, even they have better spin control and PR than Brit.
The folks who know me well (and even some who don't know me all that well,) know that I am a quasi-celebrity-gossip-whore. I say "quasi" because I don't have a subscription to any of those tabloid magazines, but I admit to happily scanning the covers when in the checkout lane. And while CNN is my homepage, after scanning the real news headlines, I do admit that my first stop away from the homepage is D-listed.
Since that is the case, I think it goes without saying that the Britney debacle has been pretty much inescapable, even by those who don't pay attention to the celebrity trash gossip. Unless you're particularly dense, you've picked up on the fact that I work in the social service industry. We gossip heads at the office have our own take on the whole thing. We chat, we jokingly assign therapists, parent aides, and visitation facilitators to the case... I mean it might seem callous of us to spend our free time poking fun at such an easy target, but then again, it's not every day that we have such a well-known person who seems all to happy to easily dive into the ol' possible client pool.
I mean sure, we are all horrified when she endangered her kid by driving with him on her lap and got away with it by saying, "Oh, that's how we did it back home, because we're just country, y'all!" That was just the earliest well-known misstep in a loooooooooong stream of fumbling attempts at "parenting." (I put parenting in quotes, because I'm really not sure if what she has done in the last 2.5 years really qualifies.) And while I can't attest to the stringency of standards for child care in the state of California because I don't work there, I can tell you this, going by the standards I know, she should've lost those kiddos a very long time ago. And as for all these hearings and whatnot, I am appalled that she has been to court as many times as she has, (and I'm NOT counting all the other hearings that she no-showed for,) because when I see folks feebly trying to defend her by saying, "Oh every parent screws up from time to time, it just seems like a bigger deal because she's a celebrity and she's photographed all the time" well statements like that make me want to punch those people in the face. (And contrary to popular belief, I'm not one to rush to violence.) The fact is that there are plenty of celebrity parents who have managed to raise their children without a need for the department of child services. I mean even Michael Jackson kept his kids out of the system... That example alone should show you that they've got a very low standard to meet to be deemed a capable parent. And her celebrity status cuts both ways, because while she it sucks for her that she was caught publicly screwing up with her kiddos in tow by the paparazzi, I can promise that the average-joe-level parent has to wait months for a hearing regarding changes or increases in visitation. And they certainly had to be more compliant than loony ol' baldy over there to get any kind of visits.
I know that we all have more important things to worry about than the latest Spears shenanigans, but the fact is that we as a country like to see people royally fuck up... We love a soap-operatic story line to play out in the public view for us to see. For a lot of us it is just time-wasting entertainment, and in this case, it's more of a truth being stranger than fiction in an almost, "I couldn't write this stuff if I was a former staff writer on Passions! What the hell comes next!?!?" type of fascination. And yes, it is a shame that her kids will have to grow up with this, knowing that everyone saw their mom's baloney flaps, her head-shaving meltdown, the frap-fueled insanity, the appalling British accent, and everything else, and you know that the classmates will be laughing AT them and not WITH them. I do feel bad for the kids, and I do hope that things improve for them, I have to say that I don't feel any kind of empathy for Britney, because like so many people I work with, she just doesn't seem to genuinely care, and that makes me resent her.
Consider it from this point of view. Even if you don't have children, if you can imagine having kids, and you can imagine having them taken away by "The Man" for whatever reason, even if it's a bogus trumped up accusation by a resentful ex or something, can you honestly tell me that you would not be doing EVERYTHING in your power to prove yourself capable and get your kids back as quickly and painlessly as possible? (You're insides are screaming, "OF COURSE I would do everything I had to!" ... I know this because that's the rational part of your brain at work.) You would be taking every parenting class, every drug test, every court hearing, every single thing pertaining to the case VERY seriously. You would return every phone call, you would be thirty minutes early for every scheduled visit, you would take a pass on going out to be photographed at Hyde or at the local 7-11, because you want your damn kids back, and you don't want to do anything to jeopardize that! Because you have it in you to be a good parent, or you already are one.
So every time you catch yourself reading a headline about America's favorite trainwreck, and think to yourself, "Jesus-God! What the hell is she doing, why doesn't she just get her act together?" Just think of me, because I have the privilege of working with non-compliant people just like her EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.