July 11, 2008

Congratulations, You're... Kind Of A Whore

I try hard to stay away from the whole celebrity-obsessed portion of American culture. I think that it's pretty much not worth it being a celebrity if you have to endure what some of these people go through (Britney Spears used to be sane, right?) on a daily basis. I also think the paparazzi horde that's spawned from our national obsession is disgusting, and should be curbed with a federal law. And I also, also think that the celebration of a 17-year old girl giving birth, just weeks after damning to hell teenagers in Massachusetts who did the same thing (not to mention pretty much every other teen mother in America), reeks of the hypocrisy that's become so commonplace in this country.

But it's hard not to take notice of the celeb comings and goings if you're a student of American pop culture. It pervades almost every medium. Trying to not notice what's going on with Angelina's twins, or who John Mayer happens to be doing this week, is difficult stuff. That said, this whole brouhaha over the deal brokered to publish the first photo of Jamie Lynn Spears' baby is just sad. Hang your head in shame, America.


Every news-related website I happened to stroll across the day Jamie Lynn's little brood fell into the world carried the story. And not just entertainment news sites like IMDB or Entertainment Weekly or what-have-you, but sites like CNN, MSNBC, Slate, etc. For a short period of time, CNN even ran it as the main story, complete with a picture of a smiling new teenage mom, somehow impervious to the normal cries of "Whore!" and "Irresponsible!" that rain down upon every other knocked up teen in this country.

It wouldn't bother me at all, really, if the country didn't have a collective conniption fit over the story of the teenage girls in Massachusetts who apparently made a "pregnancy pact" and got their preggers on at the same time. If you haven't heard the story, basically, 17 high-school girls in the fishing town of Gloucester banded together and made a pact to all get pregnant within the year, supposedly in support of one of their friends who first had a bun shot into her oven earlier this month. They were apparently uber-enthusiastic over the idea, throwing parties and celebrating the seeds (pun intended) of their efforts, some even going so far as to have allegedly slept with older and/or homeless men to find fertilization. That's just wholesome, right there.

When the story broke, America, inevitably, exploded. It hit the rounds of the morning news programs and all the usual talking-heads shows, with the consensus being that these girls were fucking retards. I believe that was the phrase used by Larry King, at least. And I don't disagree with them. Kids who think it's a super-cool idea to have a baby before they even have a chance to graduate high school and go on to get knocked up in college are just wasting golden years of their lives.

What I couldn't stand, though, was the backlash (that I saw coming from miles away) against movies like Juno and Knocked Up, which parent groups and other giant asshole organizations blamed for "glorifying teen pregnancy" and painting a skewed picture of what it's like to be pregnant whilst being unprepared for it. It's the same sort of uproar and lunacy that springs up against "violent" music, movies and video games following a school shooting; the most egregious being the country-wide blaming of Marilyn Manson for the Columbine shootings. Short and simple, it's not the fault of either of those movies, or any movie, game, TV show or anything like that. It's the fault of stupid kids who are too affected by their peers and parents who didn't seem to be able to instill such a basic system of values as to make this idea an instant "no" in their kids' minds.

And yet, after all that hoopla, here we are, fawning over the little bastard spawn of Britney Spears' little sister. If this doesn't speak to the absolute idiocy of the fake celebrity obsession that we have in America, nothing does. We love making celebs out of people who have done nothing to deserve the status. Whether you're talking about fame given to a partying, rich, spoiled whore like Paris Hilton, or internet/YouTube giants like the cry who cried about "leaving Britney alone!", or people who embarrass themselves on reality TV shows, it's all the same. In America, you don't even need to have talent to lend to the populace to have them prop you up on their star-loving shoulders.

In Jamie Lynn's case, it proves that you don't even need to have done anything yourself; you just need to be related to someone famous, and it spills over for you. She's the Don Swayze for a new generation. We'll see how much she's loving it, though, when the adoration goes away, the TV show has to be canceled because of public backlash and the needs of a child actually become reality, and she's left as just another young girl too stupid to know what's good for her.

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