Britney Spears 101 at the Hungry Brain | Bleader

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Britney Spears 101 at the Hungry Brain

Posted By on 08.09.11 at 02:54 PM

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Tonight the Hungry Brain hosts, and Homeroom programs, a panel discussion on Britney Spears. The event features zine-maker Liz Mason, whose most recent publication Caboose #7: Britney Spears 101 is about fame, pop culture, consumerism, and Mason’s own struggle with cancer; Judy Hoffman, a University of Chicago lecturer in the cinema and media studies and visual arts departments who directed the Spears tour documentary Stages: Three Days in Mexico; and Christopher Smit, a Calvin College professor of media studies and the author of The Exile of Britney Spears: A Tale of 21st Century Consumption. 9 PM, the Hungry Brain, 2319 W. Belmont, free.

After the jump, a snippet of the A.V. Club's Marah Eakin's recent interview with Smit:

AVC: You have a chapter called “Consuming Toward Exile” where you suggest that we—in part—did this to Britney. What do you mean by that?

CS: I think that some people who read the book feel accused by the word “we.” I use it a lot in the book. What I mean by “we” is that if you’re like, “You know, I don’t buy records by Britney, go to her concerts, wear her T-shirts, and I’m not the audience you’re talking about,” well, we can no longer have a media system in which we feel that we’re not giving permission too. We’re by proxy contributing to the media world, now more than ever with new media and social networking. So if you contribute at all, you give permission to what happens in the larger sense. People aren’t fans, but they will look at the headlines, watch shows that mention her, go to films that objectify other women, or continue to adhere to narratives and stories that are told to us that deny women selfhood. To say that it’s our job or our work means that our dollars, our attention, our very presence in a media context means that we’re not free from responsibility. Part of what I’m doing there is nudging the reader and myself. I’m in that “we” as well. I’m not Walter Lippmann talking from the top of the banister.

Also wrapped up in that idea of “we” is Britney Spears herself. She’s not out of the envelope of responsibility. She’s certainly part of this. If you read the chapter about Paris Hilton in the end of the book, I’m going toward sort of a mob mentality. We’re all working against her.

Read the whole thing here.

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