When a teenage Britney Spears was burped into the limelight way back in 1998, you could tell from the start she knew exactly what she was after.
Now 25, she can no longer stomach the level of fame she's attained. But can Britney Spears, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, resurrect her career?
That's the question appropriately asked by The Boston Phoenix, which notes that Americans love comeback queens almost as much as they love train wrecks.
Can Britney Spears rise from the ashes of her own self-destruction?
"Everybody is really attuned to showing what a manic-depressive, bipolar, poor-mother mess this girl is," says Kelly Cutrone, former publicist and the founder and CEO of People's Revolution PR in New York City.
"Everybody's building on it, stalking her, and running around getting pictures of Britney Spears, just waiting for â€˜the moment' to line up."
Yet despite her penchant for irresponsible partying, her astoundingly bad VMA performance, a poor driving record and â€" rock bottom â€" the loss of custody of her sons to ex-husband Kevin Federline, Spears' new single "Gimme More" may still hit pop pay dirt and Blackout drops October 30. So there is hope.
Most Americans get off on a good redemption story, and Britney Spears would make a darling poster girl â€" but can she just stop parading that naked vagina around like a beauty-queen's crown long enough to turn things around?
It's the question of our time. In a show of encouragement to the Louisiana lush, The Phoenix came up with a field guide to celebrity comebacks. The pop princess is a Category One at the moment. Follow the jump to continue.Category One: Ticking Time Bombs
They're the cock teases of the comeback.
Every time these celebrities get photographed looking like a person â€" instead of a wasted, drugged-up Fraggle â€" they taunt the public with star potential.
With Britney Spears as the prime example, a Category One's behavior involves getting publicly sloshed at every opportunity, being incapable of sustaining a committed relationship, and uncontrollable exhibitionism (nipple slip, crotch shot, upskirt, no pants, no underwear, nude sexual photos, etc).
A penchant for churning out empty claims of being "ready to heal" is also par for the course. Take Babyshambles frontman and heroin addict Pete Doherty, who has repeatedly apologized to everyone for everything he's ever done.
Jodie Foster-v.-2.0 Lindsay Lohan extolled the benefits of clean living to Elle as she was carted back to rehab... where she had sex with Riley Giles.
And "What Britney Does Next" is like a XXX version of What Katy Did, Susan Coolidge's children's-book series about a little girl who gets herself in terrible scrapes but wants nothing more than to be beautiful, beloved, and good.
Considering Marilyn Monroe and Anna Nicole Smith's personal, tragic histories, Spears would be wise to check herself permanently â€" or at least say that she will before she totally and completely wrecks herself. Soon.
Category Two: Boys and Girls Gone Wild
Way back when, the beautiful Vanessa Williams posed nude for a photographer, who then sold the naked photos to Penthouse without her authorization.
All the drama cost her the Miss America title, but she bounced back through hard work, determination, and insistence that she was neither a lesbian nor a slut.
This fall, the world-weary Ugly Betty star offered some words of advice to shamed High School Musical star Vanessa Hudgens in People magazine.
"Welcome to the lesson of hard knocks," said Williams, referring to the racy, hot and very naked photos of Vanessa Hudgens that were leaked on the Internet not long after the debut of High School Musical 2.
"She got her first big one right now."
Williams went on to assert that Vanessa Hudgens would be "fine." She will. It's not like she was caught masturbating in public (Pee-wee Herman), or snuggling with a transvestite (Eddie Murphy), or getting head from a prostitute (Hugh Grant), or urinating on underage girls (R. Kelly).
All of the humiliated, aforementioned offenders have somehow managed to keep their careers afloat and their bank accounts super-sized.
Follow the link to The Boston Phoenix above to continue reading ...