Idol Chatter

BritneyCatholic.JPGMadonna has been a constant presence in Britney Spears’ life at least since Madge gave Britney her very first kiss from a girl back in 2003, the year Madonna appeared on the Brit-hit “Me Against the Music.” Now it looks like she’s giving her tips on ticking off the Catholic League. In two photographs illustrating the liner notes of Britney’s critically acclaimed new album, “Blackout,” the Southern Baptist-raised singer is shown slinking into a confessional with a handsome young man dressed like a priest. Britney herself is hardly dressed.
In response, the League’s Bill Donahue released a bit of boilerplate sensitively noting Britney’s alleged inability to raise her own child–that’s how to make converts, Bill–and suggesting the photos are a shameless bid for publicity.

Publicity is one thing Britney doesn’t lack, however. After nearly four years of living out the pop tart ideal without releasing an original album, credibility as an artist is what she’s after, and it looks like Madonna has given her lessons in gravitas. Madonna’s fascination with the Catholic Church–from her name to provocative choreography with cassocked and surpliced backup dancers–has given Madonna a certain nubbly texture in a disco world of lamé and chiffon.
Madonna’s manipulation of Catholic imagery, however, has never really criticized the Catholic Church. Her frolicking priests and glittering crosses, rather, fit into a psychic landscape of idealized fathers and lovers, and the sacrifices women make for love. Britney, raised in a evangelical church in Kentwood, Louisiana, can hardly claim to bear the weight of a confessional in her subconscious. The problem with Britney blasphemy is not that it’s offensive, it’s that it’s meaningless.

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