I bet you read that title and thought, “WTF, Seth. Yes she is!” But here’s the thing, an ad hominem attack on someone is intellectually improper and a poor way to argue a position. I agree with the statement to a point, but it’s not enough to just say she’s stupid since that would be spreading misinformation. So what should we know and understand about her? I don’t know her personally and I don’t know much more about her than an average person. I know that in interviews she is sometimes robotic and doesn’t demonstrate the use of critical thought or have much knowledge about current events. I think she’s very undereducated. Most of her schooling was done on sets or with private tutors between tours. But that doesn’t make her stupid.
A person who is stupid doesn’t record and release albums that sell in the multi-millions. A person who is stupid doesn’t sell out arenas around the globe. People don’t succeed in business by being stupid. She knows how to entertain and bring in money, and she’s been pretty consistent for the last 11 years. I’m sure she has a huge team of people in her employ who have been instrumental in her success: a manager, assistants, stylists, publicists, lawyers, etc., but that’s business and is irrelevant to whether or not she is personally stupid.
I usually scoff at the things she says and roll my eyes at how she sounds when she says them. But I have to wonder, why does she say the things she does that make her sound stupid? My point really isn’t about Britney at all, but about critical thought. Too often I dismiss people who appear to me to be irrational, crazy nut jobs (Sarah Palin, I’m looking at you) or just plain moronic. But I shouldn’t do that as often as I do because it’s short cut thinking and it’s too easy.
It’s important to look at cultural influences. While Britney may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, she does act in line with the culture she grew up in, a culture that doesn’t encourage critical thinking or independent thought. She learned from a very, very young age to take direction form other people. She has been performing since she was a kid, learning the dances and singing the songs she was told to dance and sing. She has lived and breathed entertainment from the time she was a kid. Following orders and doing what she is told to do is all she knows because it’s all she ever had to know. She says and does things in line with how she has lived and the values she holds. She’s a puppet, and I feel bad for her that her life is not her own. (She’ll be 28 in December and she can’t even sign a legal contract without her father.)
Saying, “Britney Spears is a dumb, talentless skank” not only contradicts the facts, it reveals a short-circuit in the brain of the person making the statement. The better statement would be “Britney Spears is a talented dancer and has achieved much success as an entertainer, but her public statements and opinions reflect a low level of education and unfortunately, she has a lot of influence in American pop culture.”
If only I was as stupid as Britney Spears. I’d be stupid all the way to the bank.