Ritualistic Human Sacrifice: The Story of Britney Spears

Heidi S.
9 min readJul 24, 2021

(This is Part 1of a series on fame, but each part stands alone. | Part 2 | Part 3 | Interlude | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Postlude)

One of my dream projects is to write a book about fame. I don’t know why the concept has always fascinated me, because I absolutely do not want to be famous. But I do want to talk to famous people worldwide about their experiences (and their sense of self) in a conversation where they aren’t promoting something. And I especially want to analyze what their experiences say about us. Since I don’t have access to famous people, I have to write this from the perspective of being a fan and a consumer of popular media for nearly four decades.

There are two quotes that have stuck with me.

First, in episode 43 of the Beautiful Stories From Anonymous People podcast (2017), host Chris Gethard (who is way more famous than me, but can probably shop for groceries without being photographed) said in response to being asked about the appeal of fame: “Being famous sucks. It’s scary and it’s dehumanizing.” (His full answer is worth listening to. Around the 45 minute mark.)

Second, in the One Direction: This Is Us (2013) documentary, Harry Styles talks about the word “famous” and how it takes away everything else about you: “I just struggle with the word. It just gives you no substance. … I hate it.

With those two quotes in mind, I want to talk about Britney Spears.

The legal issues with Britney’s conservatorship have been making the news lately, including leaked audio from a June 2021 court hearing where she says she was forced to get an IUD, forced to go on tour after a four-year Vegas residency with no break (earning money she has no control over), forced to be monitored by nurses, and forced to take lithium.

But I remember when she was put under conservatorship way back in 2008.

I know that liking South Park is controversial, but sometimes the satire is good, especially when it punches up and makes you say, “wow, we are seriously messed up as a society.” “Britney’s New Look” (2008) is one of those episodes. It wasn’t well-received. The episode is a parody of a short story called “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, published in The New Yorker in 1948. Essentially, “The Lottery” is a story about a village where someone draws the short straw to be stoned to death for the sake of a good harvest. If we take…

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Heidi S.

PhD in philosophy | Feminist | Anarchist | Pop culture junkie | Kpop listener | Actually Autistic