celebrities, mental health, money, psychology

Britney Spears says, “I deserve to have a life!”

This morning, 39 year old Britney Spears is all over the news. She went to court yesterday to ask a Los Angeles court judge, Brenda Penny, to end the “abusive conservatorship” her father, Jamie Spears, has had over her affairs since 2008 (a licensed professional conservator, Jodi Montgomery, took over direct oversight earlier this year). At this point, Spears’ financial affairs are jointly handled by Jamie Spears and Bessemer Trust. It’s hard to believe 13 years have passed since Britney’s very public mental health breakdown. I was never a big follower of Britney’s career, but I do remember the dramatic news stories and photos of her shaven head. I heard about her impulsive decision to marry Jason Alexander back in 2004, only to divorce him 55 hours later. Clearly, she did have mental health issues at one time. But does she still have them today?

News about Britney Spears. She doesn’t want to perform while her father is still in control. I don’t blame her.

Based on what I’ve read, which is admittedly not very much, it would seem to me that there are grounds to allow Britney Spears more control over her life. I haven’t heard of any other mental health dramas involving her in quite some time. She’s been quietly pushing to end the conservatorship for years. She was even working as an entertainer, at least until 2019. I wouldn’t have expected Spears to be working last year. Practically no one in the entertainment business was doing live shows after March 2020. But she’s clearly still successfully generating money, and people are still interested in her career.

Britney Spears dropped quite a bombshell in her testimony yesterday, claiming that she has an IUD that she would like to have removed so that she might have another child with her boyfriend, Sam Asghari. However, since she has no rights to make her own medical decisions, the IUD remains implanted against her will. She says she’s been forced to take medications she doesn’t want, such as lithium, a mood stabilizer often prescribed for treatment of bipolar disorder. Britney says the drug made her feel “drunk” and unable to carry on conversations with her family. She wants to do therapy at her home, where she might have privacy. Instead, she’s forced to go to another location, where the paparazzi “stalks” her.

Spears also claims that her management has forced her to perform against her will. She claims that she was threatened with a lawsuit if she didn’t do her shows. She says she felt like she was being “trafficked” and should be able to “say no to a dance move”. She’s claimed that she’s been forced to perform, even while sick with a high fever, and she’s been required to enter mental health treatment facilities against her will, based on exaggerated circumstances. Britney has also said that she doesn’t want to perform again, as long as her father is in charge of her affairs.

Finally, Britney Spears says that it makes no sense that she’s trusted and expected to perform at high level shows that involve millions of dollars in investments, yet can’t make the simplest decisions about personal aspects of her life. Frankly, I can see her point on this. It does seem to me like she should have had control over her affairs a long time ago, once the acute mental health crisis had ended. Or, at least she should have had some of her rights restored. At the very least, her affairs should not have been handled by a family member/authority figure like her father, but by a neutral party. But given that, as his daughter’s conservator, Jamie Spears was “earning” $16,000 a month plus $2,000 a month for office space rent, I guess I can see why he’d be reluctant to give up such a sweet gig.

What a mess! And it appears to be mostly over money, which is a real shame.

It’s concerning to read about some of the alleged personal issues Jamie Spears has had that might have made him a poor choice as a conservator in the first place. Lynne Spears’, Britney’s mom and Jamie’s second ex wife, claimed in her 2008 memoirs that her ex husband “verbally abused and abandoned her” and “exhibited erratic behavior.” In 1980, when Lynne Spears first attempted to divorce Jamie Spears, she filed a restraining order against him, worried that he would harass her, particularly if he had been drinking alcohol. Jamie Spears is evidently a notorious alcoholic. Lynne Spears has also spoken in favor of having Jamie Spears removed from his interests in Britney’s affairs.

In 1998, before Britney hit stardom, the family was struggling financially and on the verge of bankruptcy. When Jamie and Lynne Spears divorced in 2002, apparently things got better– Jamie Spears was not that involved in Britney’s life as she rocketed toward fame and fortune. It wasn’t until she had her breakdown that he was suddenly so interested in her affairs. Mr. Spears also allegedly was involved in an altercation involving one of Britney’s teenaged sons. Britney’s ex husband, Kevin Federline, got a restraining order against Jamie Spears, forbidding him to see his sons with Britney.

What especially sucks for Britney is that she is being forced to pay, not only for her own attorneys’ services, but also for the services of opposing attorneys. According to The New York Times:

As the fight drags on, the bills are piling up — and, in a quirk of the conservatorship system, Ms. Spears has to pay for lawyers on both sides, including those arguing against her wishes in court. A recent $890,000 bill from one set of Mr. Spears’s lawyers, covering about four months of work, included media strategizing for defending the conservatorship.

So… it appears to me that a whole lot of people are on Britney’s payroll, and a whole lot of people stand to lose if she regains the freedom to make her own decisions. It’s a really fucked up situation. I feel sad for her, because it looks to me like she’s being abused by someone who should always be interested in protecting her– her father. But instead, it looks like he’s profiting off of her and, perhaps, even getting a charge out of running her life. He’s allegedly referred to Britney as a “racehorse who has to be handled like one.” And at age 68, it’s not as if he’s likely to kick the bucket anytime soon.

Jamie Spears’ lawyer, Vivian Lee Thoreen assures us that Jamie has his daughter’s best interests at heart. She has stated to People magazine, quite nauseatingly, “Any time Britney wants to end her conservatorship, she can ask her lawyer to file a petition to terminate it; she has always had this right but in 13 years has never exercised it… Britney knows that her Daddy loves her, and that he will be there for her whenever and if she needs him, just as he always has been — conservatorship or not.” I don’t know about that… and while my southern mom always called her father “Daddy”, it seems especially inappropriate, disrespectful, and demeaning for a lawyer to address another adult in such a way, as if Britney Spears is just a child who needs reassurance. No 39 year old woman should be addressed like that, or spoken of or to in that way.

I truly hope that the judge in this case exercises wisdom. I don’t know all the details, of course, but from what I’ve read, it’s high time for Jamie Spears to get back in control and support of his own life. He needs to leave Britney alone. And if she really does need help managing her affairs, it should be from someone of her own choosing, who is neutral, professional, and works for her– and in her best interests. That help should not come from someone like her father, who will always have emotional ties to her, for better or worse. He’s not neutral, and from the sounds of it, he’s not particularly mentally stable himself.

No matter what, it sounds to me like Jamie’s time having any say in Britney’s life should end. I’m rooting for Britney. I hope she gets relief very soon. #Free Britney!

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stupid people

I feel like I’m living in an episode of ER…

Remember ER, the wildly popular show created by the late Michael Crichton? I was a super fan of it from day one. I watched it religiously from its premiere in 1994, until I left the United States for Armenia. Then, when I came back in 1997, I went back to watching it. I downloaded all of the episodes and have seen them all at least twice.

One thing I remember about ER is that the writers were always coming up with some new fantastic situation involving the cast. One episode I remember in particular involved quarantine. Everyone in the emergency department was forced to stay isolated due to an epidemic. Seems like all of the medical shows have some storyline like that one. I remember Trapper John, M.D. also had a show about an extremely dangerous and contagious plague.

A 1980 episode of Trapper John, M.D. called Quarantine. It was very memorable.

I just watched this episode again. It’s about a baby with pneumonic plague. I looked it up and I see that it’s a lot like COVID-19, only it’s caused by bacteria rather than a virus. Antibiotics would help, although it seems there isn’t a mild version like there is with COVID-19. Notice that the mom is wearing a gown, hair covering, and a face mask, but no GLOVES! And she takes off the gown while still in the room with the baby. None of the staff is wearing PPE properly. They wear gowns, but no masks or gloves.

Also, this episode is about illegal immigration, which is also oddly timely at this point. I guess we were more humane in 1980, though, because Gonzo promises the illegal alien mom that he’ll do everything he can to keep her from being deported. I shudder to think about what the conditions are like at the southern border of the United States right now.

A clip from an ER episode called “Lockdown”. I believe that one involved a smallpox outbreak.

I’m sure most medical shows have at least one episode’s storyline related to quarantines. They’re exciting and unusual, and they bring out the best– and the worst– in people. A lot of folks are panicking due to the COVID-19 crisis, and some of them are doing incredibly stupid and selfish things, just as they always do in medical dramas. This morning, I read a news article about a couple in Canada who visited a grocery store and bought out the entire meat department– two shopping carts worth of stuff.

Caught on tape cleaning out the meat section…

Dan Marcotte and his girlfriend, residents of Lake Country in British Colombia, reportedly went to a Sav On Foods and bragged about “cleaning house”, as they also wondered if they could afford to pay for all the meat they’d thrown into their carts. They’d run in front of other customers, blocking them from being able to buy meat as they proceeded to hog all of the pork, beef, and chicken. Now, Marcotte is complaining because he’s getting negative reactions from the public, including death threats.

Here in Germany, people have been “panic buying” as well. Just as it has in the United States, toilet paper has become a hot commodity, as have hand sanitizer and hand soap and, curiously, flour. However, the local powers that be have put a stop to the “Hamsterkaufen” nonsense by placing limits on the numbers of these items people can buy at a time. It seems sad to me that this would be necessary in our so-called era of civilization, but it sounds like meat products are going to have to be rationed too, to stop greedy, selfish people like Dan Marcotte and his ilk from hoarding.

Marcotte explains that he has a “big heart” and used his moving company (which gets one solitary one star review) to help people escape the wildfires in 2017 and 2018. But now he complains that people have forgotten his past kindnesses in the wake of his regrettable decision to buy up all of the meat at a grocery store. I don’t condone people threatening other people’s lives over something like this, but I also don’t blame people for thinking Marcotte is a jerk and for letting him know that he is. What he and his girlfriend did is selfish and unreasonable, and karma can be a massive bitch with big teeth.

Marcotte claims that he felt “anxious” about the virus and had bought the meat entirely for his family. He says he has a mental health problem that causes him to “overreact” in certain situations (I don’t recall ever going through anything like this before in my 47 years, but what do I know?) Well, Dan, what about other people’s families? Have you thought about that? Guess not. In fairness to Dan, I did read that he is eager to “make things right”. He donated $1000 to a local food bank, which theoretically could feed up to 3000 people. However, he reportedly has no plans to return the meat he’s hoarding. I wonder if Dan has considered that money is very nice, but if there’s nothing to buy with it, it’s worthless. He says he’s still getting death threats and negative publicity, which will surely affect his business. I don’t think he deserves to have his livelihood destroyed, but he really should give back some of that meat.

As for Bill… he was finally let off “ROM” (restriction of movement) status yesterday, so he went to the commissary, where his temperature was taken, hands were washed, and he was allowed to shop in a group of about fifteen people at a time. He said it was a pretty relaxed shopping experience, although a lot of the shelves were cleaned out. Although there was plenty of TP available, he couldn’t find any hand soap that wasn’t in a bar form. Naturally, there was also no hand sanitizer, and Bill found three bags of flour– one all purpose and two self rising. He got the last of the all purpose flour.

Meanwhile, my allergies are acting up, and I have a very annoying dry cough. But that’s normal for me at this time of year. I don’t feel sick and don’t have a fever, and I mostly isolate myself even when there isn’t a “plague”. Hopefully, once the pollination is finished, I’ll stop coughing and wheezing. Asthma is not a joke, but it’s probably more humorous than a bout with the COVID-19 virus is.

I know there have also been some good stories about people being kind and generous. I guess this story about the “meat packers” really amazed me. I mean, I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am. People can be very selfish and greedy, particularly during a crisis. This is a time when people show their true colors. I just hope it’s not an extended time, because I’m not sure how long people are going to be able to tolerate this “new normal”.

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