“If Britney Sparks survived 2007, you can survive today” – an actual coffee mug I’ve seen someone sip brandy out of. I can think of two times in my life where I’ve felt genuine concern for a celebrity. One was Charlie Sheen during his winning streak, which wound up briefly making him the most famous person on the planet, often in the context of “is this guy gonna survive another year?”. The other was Ms. Spears. Never been much of a fan of her music and quite frankly I was a bit irritated by her celebrity, which I felt she didn’t really earn. In fact she was kind of the poster child for “everything wrong with the music industry” for about five years. I never quite knew what her deal was. Her personality and backstory was totally downplayed, other than the fact that she was just a “down home Southern girl with dreams of becoming a star”. Had I not been 12 at the time it was released, I might have recognized “…Baby One More Time” as one of pop culture’s most uncomfortable moments, though even that was eclipsed by that one VMA performance which caused everyone’s Dad to completely perv out. WHAT DO YA THINK THE GIANT SNAKE REPRESENTS, GUYS? She was such a fever dream for the business that it almost seemed strange to consider that there was a real person behind it all. That is, until her personal life became a tabloid fixture, with candid, somewhat unsavory shots of her cropping up all over the place, along with monthly stints in rehab for God knows what. It was really a vicious cycle; like 90% of her bizarre, “OUT OF CONTROL!!” behavior was probably directly attributable to the fact that she was being followed by paparazzi everywhere she went. Then again she did lose custody of her kids to Kevin Federline, so maybe she really did crack.