Maidens yet unyoked shall shear their hair for you when they wed, and through ages long shall reap the great morning of your tears.”

– Euripides

Who would not sing for Britney? She knew herself to sing! If not to sing, not always, we knew her to –sync, anon to sink!

Britney Britannia, ruler of the waves (where thy bones are hurld…!), your fate was built in th’eclipse, and rigged with curses dark. You have no chance of reprieve, Britney, no hope of deliverance from the watry floar. Already in November was your hair’s true color foretold (cf. “Will Britney Spears’s Pantyless Antics Hurt Her Custody Case?”), and already a case of deforestation.

I am a close personal friend to Britney Spears and have been particularly devastated to see my swart Star at her current crossroads. For I once saw her at a bowling alley, once at a Greek restaurant. We exchanged plaintive glances. Once with child, she moved down my street. She used to jog past the public library, an SUV her warden. It is possible we exchanged cups of sugar, too. One goes mad keeping track of trifling neighborly affairs.

Indeed, Britney inspired my first newspaper column. This was, of course, long after she’d tepidly resurrected the Mickey Mouse Club with Justin and Christina, broken off from a short-lived girl group, and transfixed the fullness of humanity with the rhapsodic “…Baby[, ] One More Time.” It was a bit before she won her Grammy and Forbes named her world’s most powerful celebrity. Her fifty-five hour Vegas marriage to babyhood compeer Jason Allen Alexander (“I really wanted to see what it was like to be married”), quickly annulled, was still to come, as was the confession that JT had trod on her flower (“I thought he was the one. But I was wrong!”), and the restoration of her virtue with a chaste kiss from the Madonna (“Like a Virgin,” “Madonna Smooches With Britney and Christina; Justin, Coldplay Win Big at VMAs”). It was, I think, about the time she landed her first multi-million dollar promotional campaign—some tenuous Pepsi crusade—and got into a bit of a tiff with PETA.

I never finished that first Britney article. I abandoned her midway through and wrote instead about man-beef. But the topic of the column was to be this: the Anglican Church (or any suchlike phantom) was to canonize Britney for her vociferous affirmations of abstinence. I’m not sure that the Anglican Church (or any suchlike phantom) is in the habit of creating saints of living persons, or that anyone then gave credence to Brit’s cute disavowals of skankdom, but on my soul I couldn’t tell you if this were an earnest intention (or any suchlike phantom!) or, then already, a burlesque.

For Britney is the first star of her generation to have aped—impeccably— every pose of regressive womanhood. In the course of our adolescence she has morphed on magazine covers from wholesome child to nubile maid to home wrecker to Madonna with child to sozzled ho and now, finally, to a new order of monk: a sweatshirt for a habit and the Star of David drooping from her nape. Her bubble-gum is the only unifying principle, as far as I can tell. Elizabeth Taylor has spent a lifetime enacting such a decline.

Britney, you were never beatified in your era of chastity, but your day is come. Quoth Justin, “[You are] starting over, cleaning [your]self up. [You] look amazing: very GI-Jane.”

Britney, your hair is the first (the only!) item on the 11 o’clock news. You checked into a rehab center in Antigua and made a one-day recovery. You almost missed your flight home and condescended to sitting in the last row of coach, for how could a mother bear to be apart from her kiddies? You shore your head, Britney, and a tattoo artist appended allegedly cute red lips to your wrist. They say it took about half an hour. Your wig is a fright and you “went out on the town” between visits to the hospital this weekend, for it is important to be a good friend.

Now they are interviewing the proprietrix of the dismal Valley beauty parlor of your atonement.

“Oh my God,” she begins, “She came in here and She told me what She wanted to do, and, ‘Oh my God,’ I said, ‘I can’t do that to you.’ And then—” (Ay me!) “She picked up the clippers and She—She began shaving her own head.”

The reporter held the instrument aloft. “These are the clippers Britney Spears used to shave her own head this afternoon.”

Today you, reader, can purchase the holy relics. The hair itself, the clippers the very Red Bull she sipped of. Bidding begins online at a million dollars and anything you might find counterfeited on eBay is a fraud!

I am watching, for perhaps the tenth time, an oracular video. It dates probably from the summer and your hair is still intact. In the arcane incoherence of your syntax there is a genuine mysticism (“I’m ugly: my jaw hurts; it’s like uuggh. I been grinding my teeth cus I’m nervous—it’s weird—I’m not nervous”). I do not doubt you’d outstrip Madonna herself as a Kabbalist if you put your soul to it. You burp with abandon. You eat take-out fries. You prophesy that “time-travel-speed,” on the model of Back to the Future, is a reality not only feasible, but verified. You scratch yourself—mortification of the flesh!: “that feels so good to itch– it feels like heaven!” Your ex-husband objects. So do we. No, Britney! “Yes, Kev’n,” you tell us (one syllable, like my—John’s—Heav’n). You keep this crazy shit up, boo! The mind is its own place! Better to reign in Hell, than serve in…

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