As you probably heard by now, Britney Spears’s little sister and star of Zoey 101, Jamie Lynn Spears is pregnant. GoldnI can give you the run-down.
I go back and forth about the Spears family and whether they’re appropriate fodder for discussion. I mean, to me, it’s obvious that Brittney is deeply screwed up in a way that goes beyond the drug use and the cooter flashing and the bizarre behavior. In a way, I guess I believe that those things are not her problems, but symptoms of her problems.
And I find that, as an outsider, scary and sad. But, in general, I don’t pay much attention to her. I’m just not interested.
I did laugh, though, when I heard that someone had given Britney’s mom a contract to write a book on how to be a good mother.
I mean, please, in what world is Lynne Spears a good mother?
But, in general, it seems to me that how we talk about the Spears girls, especially Britney, is just a way for us to blow off some misogynistic steam in a way I find kind of gross. And I’d rather not casually talk about anyone being a slut or a whore or a stupid bitch as if those are just okay ways of talking about any woman.
But I read this post by Sara Robinson yesterday and I think that colored how I read this line at Perez Hilton’s this morning.
“The book is delayed indefinitely. It’s delayed, not cancelled,” says a spokeswoman for Thomas Nelson, which publishes Christian books.
Thomas Nelson is here in town, so I am passingly familiar with them, and, from the outside, they do seem to try (though regularly pretty unsuccessfully) to meld the business of publishing with a Christian ethos.
In other words, while other publishers might have contracted a book from Lynne Spears about how to be a great parent, in spite of the fact that her most famous child is clearly suffering profoundly from decisions Lynne made as a parent, just because it would sell some copies and bring some publicity, I have every reason to believe that Thomas Nelson brought that project under contract because at least the acquiring editor (if not more people) sincerely believed that Lynne Spears could write a book on being a good parent.
And, I wonder, how can that possibly be?
But that’s where I think, keeping in mind that Thomas Nelson is a conservative Christian publisher, Robinson’s insights are useful.
She talks about her experiences being raised in a fundimentalist environment:
Oprah Winfrey once said that the best advice she ever got in her life was from Maya Angelou, who said: “When people tell you who they are — believe them.”
I’ve gotten good mileage from this advice over the years. Being raised fundie, you spend a lot of your life being told to believe someone else’s preposterous interpretation of events over your own lying eyes. Growing up this way really twists your reality lenses; and those of us who come out of it as adults spend a lot of time and energy learning to see and interpret the world clearly again. Angelou’s quote is one of the mantras that gave me permission to trust my own observations of what people were saying and doing, knock off the false hopes and wishful thinking, accept this information as literal truth, and rely on it as an accurate indicator about how they were likely to behave in the future. It’s knowledge that was acquired late, but has since kept me out of an amazing amount of trouble.
Believing someone else’s preposterous interpretation of events…
What a good way to put it, though, I would add that often, if the training is deep enough, you have to get over believing your own preposterous interpretation of events.
I have, for instance, some beloved friends whose father has just gotten dicked over by a religious organization about as hard as you can get dicked over. I mean, so hard that, if he had any sense when it came to this stuff (and I say this as someone who loves him dearly and has watched my own father pull the same stupid ass stuff on himself), he would run away from organized religion forever. And yet, he refuses to believe what he’s seen with his own eyes–that the way we do the day-to-day business of Christianity as a bureaucracy perpetuates a lot of evil on people trying to serve Jesus–and instead believes his problems are a result of the Devil.
My heart aches for him, because he’s going through this and because he refuses to believe his “lying” eyes and so is still vulnerable to going through this again.
And my heart aches for my Christian friends who do this same thing. I don’t believe it’s all Christians and I don’t believe this tendency has been very wide-spread for very long (it’s probably always been a strain of Christianity, but I don’t believe it ever permiated the whole culture in quite this way–though I could be wrong). But it scares me how prevalent it is and how it’s not just a way of existing in the church, but how some folks encounter the whole world.
I mean, how did Lynne Spears get a book contract with Thomas Nelson? Because someone there was willing to believe her preposterous interpretation of events over what is plain for the whole world to see.
One of y’all will know this off the top of your head, but didn’t Jesus warn against this very thing, warn you to be vigilant and mindful of how other people will try to pull shit over on you?
Why does that lesson seem to be unlearned?