playground magazine published a story by me in spanish today.
here is the original english version:
The Britney Youth
Five months after the official announcement of his romantic split with Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake was visited at his childhood home in Memphis, Tennessee by Barbara Walters, the elderly television news personality and journalist who interviewed the famous boy-popstar (and his mother) in their small-town living room for an hour-long ABC 20/20 special. This was prime time American entertainment at the dawn of the third millenium. This was nothing out of the ordinary. This was a boy and his mother and a television reporter on a ranch, having a conversation, in front of a camera, for money. This was something I absorbed as a fourteen year old girl, like cereal.
She was there, at the Timberlake residence in 2002, ostensibly to discuss the release of Justin’s debut solo CD, Justified. 13 tracks of hip hop-infused pop music, produced in large part by The Neptunes, and designed to advance Justin Timberlake’s public image beyond the bubblegum, Good-Boy, N*Sync poster-child innocence, which he and his mother/manager had been cultivating since his days as a mouseketeer on the Mickey Mouse club.
Barbara Walters also conducted the first interview with President and Mrs. Bush following September 11, 2001.
And of course, since she had made the trip to Tennessee to talk to the boy-popstar, Walters was obligated (by society) to broach the undeniably more sensational subject of the breakdown of the boy’s most recent romantic relationship, with an equally famous girl-popstar, one Miss Britney Spears.
Seventy-two year old Barbara Walters had been hoping, she told him, to put the discussion to rest, ‘once and for all.’
‘I don’t think that’ll be the case’, he replied, laughing nervously on the sofa (beside his mother), before becoming serious and poised over the course of a few long seconds. At twenty-one years old, Justin Timberlake had been famous for more than half of his life. ‘But, I remember when we decided that we were going to go our separate ways. We sat down and I said to her, “If there’s ever a moment when you ever need me, you can rest assured that I will be there, because I love you as a person and I will always love you…”’
Timberlake’s mother/manager smiled and nodded with tear-soaked eyes as her son delivered this vague and mature-seeming monologue on the conclusion of his first-love.
It tasted like cereal, spoon-fed. It tasted like our expectations and identities developing through a collage of cultural references. It tasted like unconsciousness. I mean, after a while, it didn’t taste like anything.
And so the world mourned the denouement of the once bright Power Couple.
The Prince and Princess of Pop.
There was nothing that any one of us could do about it. It was over.
When Walters asked ‘What kind of a girl do you want to bring home to Mom?’ Justin pointed to his mother/manager and, smiling, said, ‘Somebody like her’.
I accepted that it would be almost impossible for me ever to relate to another person.
I heard someone say, ‘We’ll be right back after this commercial break.’