Tuesday, February 19, 2008

My 12-Step Program to Quit Britney

Okay, really, my fascination with all things Britney (and her trainwreck life) has devolved into a sad little abnormal obsession that involves periodic and regular checks of certain web sites to see what's developed in the last five minutes. "Gotta get my Britney fix!" I'd exclaim, before gleefully clicking my favorites to find out what idiotic thing the poor girl has done now. I cheered for her parents' much-needed return, and booed the antics of evil-incarnate Sam Lufti.

But, enough is enough.

Over the weekend I finished my accounting homework early enough to watch a DVD on James Nachtwey, one of my most favorite photojournalists. The guy's shots are incredible. The DVD was a documentary about his life (a little) and his work (a lot). He's a war photographer, and he's been everywhere. Although unfortunately there is always a war somewhere in the world, he also shoots humans in the poorest of conditions, famine, mass poverty, that sort of thing. Heavy stuff far, far removed from the glamour and glitz of Hooeywood and its so-called "news."

Nachtwey made a statement in one of his interviews about advertisers being concerned about their pretty pictures portraying inane mass consumer goods running side-by-side with his shots of starving children and war-torn countries. The advertisers are worried that if people see his images, they won't want to plunk down hard-earned cash for more unnecessary items, and will instead turn their rampant consumerism into something, oh, I don't know, worthwhile.

He talked about what's really news today, and mentioned that the celebrity beat most certainly is not.

And I hung my head in embarrassment.

Because I am one of those people who has been getting her news from TMZ instead of MSNBC. I'd click right past the news of human rights issues to read about Britney lifting a Bic lighter from a service station in Beverly Hills in front of a hundred photographers. Sure, maybe every once in awhile I'd check on some campaign news, but only if it was something major like Mitt dropping out or Hillary verbally whacking Barack for being inexperienced (again). Steve Fossett's legally-declared death sparked a bit of attention, but only for a moment.

So, since watching that DVD Sunday afternoon I've been battling my internal demons. "Don't check on Britney! Don't do it!" "Oh, something might have happened! Is her dad still a conservator? Has Sam been served yet?!" "Bad girl! You don't need Britney!" "One quick check! It'll only take a minute!"


Thankfully, something big happened today to help me with my little addiction problem. Thank you, Mr. Castro, for giving me something worthwhile to read and think about instead of Britney.

I may still cave tonight and check up on Brit-Brit, but I figure one step at a time is better than squandering my entire lunch break on TMZ. So, here's my 12-step program to quit Britney:
  1. Watch meaningful documentary on someone who is actually doing something worthwhile with his life (Nachtwey).
  2. Admit that you have a problem.
  3. Watch documentary on another respected and beloved photographer (Henri Cartier-Bresson), marvel at his talent, and remember that the only way to get to his level is to shoot, shoot, shoot (i.e. spending more time on real photography and less time on paparazzi web sites).
  4. Remember that fuzzy, grainy, on-the-run grab shots of celebuwrecks is not real photography. Look at real photography web sites for reinforcement.
  5. Pick up the dang camera and shoot.
  6. Have a major world leader cede power to his little brother. Review major world leader's life in pictures and recognize the impact photography has on telling The Story.
  7. Use 40% off coupon from Borders to get that long-wanted Cartier-Bresson book that's always been too expensive. Read book. Slobber over breathtaking images and ponder if you have the talent to discern the "decisive moment."
  8. Say to yourself, "Britney is not news." Repeat ad nauseum.
  9. Stop listening to Britney CD. Turn on NPR.
  10. Apologize to anyone you've bored with "Britney News" in the last month. Apologize again. Beg for forgiveness if needed.
  11. Dump photos from DSLR into Mac and work on them, instead of surfing for Brit Bits.
  12. Spend time writing for the blog (and posting images!). Recognize your blog slackerism, own it, apologize, and move on.

I can't say that I can quit Brit cold turkey, but I'm going to try. I must admit that Fidel is making it easier.

I've always wanted to visit Cuba and shoot (it's a target-rich environment for photographers down there)...maybe someday soon it'll be easier to get there (and back).

Down with Fidel! Down with Britney! Up with photography and the democratic process! Up with Photocracy!

(Seriously. How many bloggers do you know who can so definitively link Fidel Castro and Britney Spears in the same blog post? It takes God-given talent, people.)


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