People keep calling Britney Spears a spoiled brat. Well, that just infuriates me. She's not a spoiled brat.
Get it, world? Me. Me. Me. I am far more spoiled than Britney Spears ever could be.
manager ditched her. Her lawyer quit. Her former bodyguard is
testifying against her. She and her mother are estranged. Her ex wants
greater custody of the kids. And right before that infamously
disastrous MTV performance, her hairdresser walked out.
and that song she "performed" at the Video Music Awards? It was titled
"Gimme More." If she were really a spoiled brat, she wouldn't have to
ask for more. In fact, I have always been given so much that at times
I've had to ask for less. Plead, even.
Please, Mom, give me a
little less attention – like when I was 13 and making out under the
bleachers with Chris Austin and you showed up to intervene. Please,
Dad, a little less hovering at the breakfast table. At 15, I swear, my
hand-eye coordination was developed enough to handle a butter knife.
spoiling continues to this day. Zev is constantly offering me things.
He yelled and yelled and yelled for me the other day, and when I groped
my way into his darkened room in the middle of the night, he held out
his index finger and said, "Take my booger."
I bet Brit's kids don't lavish her with such gifts.
was spoiled from the beginning. At 6, when I declared, "I am a dog," my
parents let me take my meals in a bowl on the floor. I got my own TV
when I was 3 and my own phone line when I turned 12. I like to say I
didn't learn to walk until I was 14. That's when I finally got too
heavy for my father to carry.
Like a true spoiled brat, I still
don't fully appreciate everything they gave me – Chris was pretty cute,
after all. But at least I can say that my parents' overindulgence made
me believe that I was the center of their universe and that no matter
what I did in my life, I'd never be alone. I'd never want for love or
shelter. And I'd never feel the need to shave my head and smack an SUV
with an umbrella.
The same cannot be said for Britney Spears. If
her family had spoiled her, made her think that she was the best thing
ever to walk this planet, she would act like it. She wouldn't flash her
naughty bits. She wouldn't be clubbing at paparazzi-infested
nightclubs. And she probably wouldn't have gotten to the point where
she has to undergo random, twice-weekly drug tests.
I know some
people are still going to hold on to the misguided notion that Britney
is spoiled. That fame and fortune have turned what would have been a
talented woman into a self-destructing cartoon. While these people are
wrong, I have to admit they do have a point about how celebrity helps
ruin (but not spoil) young performers.
I am against allowing
children to perform at all. Just as Shakespearean theater used men in
drag to play women, I think the entertainment industry should use very
young-looking adults to play kids. (Drew Barrymore would be just as
adorable in her "E.T." role now as she was then. And waiting might have
saved her a few trips to rehab.) But even in a world where people can
reach international stardom before they reach puberty, there is a way
to keep the craziness of it all from making them crazy. And that, I
think, is by really, truly spoiling them.
Smother them with
kisses. Give them more love than their arms can carry. Let them know
that they can walk on water – but don't let them go water-skiing
without sunscreen. And a life vest. And parental supervision. And maybe
a Coast Guard escort and an Air Force rescue task force hovering above
in a helicopter.
In fact, don't let them go water-skiing. The
library has great summer programs for kids. And when you're done you
can catch a movie. Maybe "Charlotte's Web," starring Holly Hunter.
you can sit down with your kids, watch the Video Music Awards, hug them
close and tell them, "I am going to spoil you so bad, you're never
going to have to say, 'Gimme More.' "
But that's just me.
Me. Me. Me.