Saturday, January 5, 2008

What's Wrong With This Picture?

The entertainment world continues to go crazy. There is no other way to describe what is going on. Britney Spears married an idiot back-up dancer and it turns out he is the better parent. She has lost custody of her children and made headlines for substance abuse problems once again. Having violated a court order, Britney's children seem to have no hope for a positive future at all. But she is not the most screwed up person in her family.

Although she has publicly stated that teen pregnancy is not a good idea, Britney's 16 year old sister, Jamie Lynn Spears, has announced that she is pregnant. Everyone seems surprised about this event. How could it happen? Jamie Lynn's boyfriend, Casey Aldridge, lives in Jamie Lynn's home. What are they thinking? What are her parents thinking?

There is one more news item that bears mentioning in this context. Amy Winehouse is a mess. There have been canceled concerts and tours. There have been arrests and public debacles including intoxication from various drinks, plants and pharmaceuticals. And yet we learn that she is still hoping to perform at the Grammy Awards this year (that is, if she can get a visa to get into the US).

All three of these young ladies- the oldest is Britney at 26- have had success in entertainment. They are hailed as great entertainers and personalities who shape the opinions of our younger generations. And there is the problem. A stint or two in rehab, an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy, run-ins with the law are all dismissed as incidental to the all-important value of pop-culture.

Let's not kid ourselves. When we allow Britney and Jamie Lynn and Amy set our values for us, we are in big trouble. It is not acceptable to screw up your life. There are consequences when you make mistakes, so do not make mistakes. An unplanned pregnancy for an independently wealthy teen is less problematic from an economic standpoint than it would be for the average student at Eastside High School. But socially it is at least as devastating for that unborn child. If you have enough money, or friends in the right places, you may get out of legal jams, but it does not mean that it is alright.

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