Last Saturday, I sadly missed a special presentation of something called “The Fall of Britney Spears” or something like that on E! Channel, a sad commentary on our society that used to be Vancouver Island’s TV station.
I don’t like Britney Spears’ music or PR thing very much at all, but we are both parents of two children so suddenly I have a good degree of empathy for her. I’ve also always been rather concerned about celebrity microscope effect, long before the death of Princess Diana.
But this show on E! Channel was about reviewing recent events detailing Britney’s “fall.”
Though I missed the show, I thought about it every time I saw the trailer for the film Untraceable. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but it seems that one of the plot elements of the movie is that some killer fellow has set up some sort of murder machine that will kill someone at some point, a point which accelerates closer when a greater number of people visit some website. So people’s participation in the spectacle makes them complicit in a murder.
You can even try out http://www.killwithme.com and take part in the movie/murder/complicity spectacle on your own in an ironic, self-reflexive nod to the plot device.
It seems to me that everyone who watched that Britney Spears show on E! Channel last week [and every other act of celebrity obsession] is complicit in the struggles she is now enduring. And while we can callously wipe it all away by saying she voluntarily chose to become a celebrity, that is insufficient to excuse what truly appears to be a celebrity bloodlust complex. We like to build up people to be larger than life, but at the same time we are always looking for excuses to bring them back down to earth to make sure they aren’t better than us.
I expect sociologists have much more to say on this, and those who have seen Untraceable will be able to confirm how much this observer complicity is significant in the movie, but in the end, the movie may be a strong metaphor for our role in Britney Spears’ tribulations.