October 26, 2007 | 1:29 pm
Posted by Orit Arfa
Some people ask me how I can possibly compare Britney to Israel, as I did in my parody of Chris Crocker’s famous Leave Britney Alone YouTube plea. Britney and Israel have a lot more in common than you think.
Britney grew-up Kentwood, Louisiana with an inborn ambition to perform. She appeared on Star Search when she was ten years old, then moved on to star in the New Mickey Mouse club. But she broke out on her own at age 17 with her first hit: âHit Me Baby One More Time.â Her dreams came true even before her body came into its own.
After a 2,000 year ambition to live freely on their own land, the Jewish people founded Israel in 1948. Israel fought for its existence and made it. Then in 1967 the wildest dream of the Jewish people came true: Israel conquered the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Israel was a worldwide star. Her dream came true even before its land came into its own.
Overall (at least in their better years) Britney and Israel liked to do things alone. Britney gave up the chance to be in girl group because she needed the limelight for herself. Only until her less successful fourth album, In the Zone, when she was already on the decline, did she collaborate with artists other than Madonna or her ex-boyfriend, Justin Timberlake. She was a pop star that dwelled alone.
Israel for a long time retained a friendly distance from other nations. Only America (the Madonna of nations) is considered Israelâs real best friend. Hopefully America wonât drop its alliance with Israel as Madonna did with Britney, despite their hot kiss. Overall, though, Israel is a people that dwells alone.
There is no denying that Britney is already an icon. The blonde from Lousiana has captured the imagination of millions of people for her beauty, her passion, her performing talent, and her fun, danceable pop songs. Okay, so sheâs no Celine Dionâbut take her at face value. She is the American Dream.
Israel too has become an icon. Sheâs a productive, beautiful stand-out in a region embroiled with dictatorship and strife. She has provided inspiration to millions of Jews and non-Jews around the world. She is the Jewish Dream.
Loved and Hated
People either love them or hate them. Israel and Britney have garnered both devout defenders and mean critics. But no one can remain apathetic for too long.
The Press: âGimme Moreâ
Both Britney and Israel have been relentlessly scrutinized and hounded by the press disproportionately to other pop stars and countries, respectively.
The press likes to build someone up, and then shoot them down. It gives them a special sense of power, since the press boasts no distinct accomplishments of their own other than covering the accomplishments (and failures) of others.
At the first sign of weakness, the press will start nitpicking every wrong or sour turn of any star. Britney and Israel have been constantly put under microscope, and soon enough, they started believing the mediaâs lies. They became the monsters the media and the critics made them out to be.
Israel and Britney grew-up too fast. They became so strong that they didnât know what to do with their own strength. Given their strength, they became so criticized that they didnât know how to cope with all the attention.
Just as Britney reached her peak, things started to go downhill. It started around her Onyx tour when she felt this great instinct to nest. She marries a childhood friend for 24 hours in Las Vegas. She cancels her tour, citing illness. Not long after she claims she wants to be normal, to raise a family like everyone else. She got married and had two kids.
Israel reached its peak during the Six Day War. Suddenly, Israel wasnât David against Goliath, but the Goliath itself. Israel was vilified as an Occupier. The Jews were no longer this weak people, but a strong force to be reckoned with. Israel felt this great instinct to nest: to give away the land it won and to be normal, just like everyone other democracy. Israel forcefully uprooted its own citizens from their homes in Gaza to fit in. Israel became so normal that it fought a bloody war in Lebanon completely unprepared.
Neither Israel nor Britney are truly âfessing up to their mistakes. And oopsâthey keep doing it again. They are trying to cover up their mistakes with parties and good times. They are getting stuck in the toxic relationships. Britney is drugging herself with alcohol, partying and who knows what else. Sheâs neglecting her children. Israel is drugging herself with an obsessed vision of peace, and neglecting the children of Israel.
What this all boils down to is that Israel and Britney suffer from lack of self-knowledge and self-pride. Who are they? What are they? Is Britney a pop star, a mother? Is Israel a liberal democracy, a Jewish State? Until they look deep inside themselves and discover the best of themâand be proud of thatâIâm afraid that both will continue on a terrifying path of suicide.
What has kept Britney going is her creative output. What has kept Israel going is its creative output (and not the government and the press). If they continue to create honestly and productively, maybe they will sustain. I anxiously await the redemption of both. Hit us baby one more time!
—Orit in Israel
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