Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Toxic ...

Britney Spears was released from a psychiatric ward today, the second time in a month that her bipolar self was unleashed upon the world earlier than expected. The expected paparazzi flood soon followed, along with a dire statement from Britney's parents, who bemoaned their daughter's early release and feared for her life:

"As parents of an adult child in the throes of a mental health crisis, we were extremely disappointed this morning to learn that over the recommendation of her treating psychiatrist, our daughter Britney was released from the hospital that could best care for her and keep her safe," the statement said.

"We are deeply concerned about our daughter's safety and vulnerability and we believe her life is presently at risk. There are conservatorship orders in place created to protect our daughter that are being blatantly disregarded. We ask only that the court's orders be enforced so that a tragedy may be averted."

As much as it pains me to agree with Jamie and Lynne, I think they may be right on this one. I think that unless someone, somewhere steps in quick to put this woman into involuntary treatment, we're going to be in for a breaking news alert of the most ominous kind, followed by a port-mortem news blitz that will make Heath Ledger and Anna Nicole Smith look like a cat-in-the-tree local interest story.

It's not hard to analyze how we got here. Britney has not been treated well, neither by herself or those around her. That includes her handlers, the paparazzi and, yes, her parents. Like many a child star before and after her, she shows signs of being used up, squeezed of all of the potential she had inside her. But when you add the growing proof that she does have serious mental issues, and we're talking about a walking time bomb. Without proper treatment - without people giving a true damn about her - she's mere months away from being a statistic. Blunt, but probably true.

Rolling Stone has published a cover story about Britney with the headline "Inside an American Tragedy." Obviously there will be those who say bunk to that, especially considering the things that are going on in this country right now, things that are far bigger than the travails of one pop star. But a tragedy of some sort is happening before our eyes. Let's hope it doesn't reach what seems to be its natural conclusion.

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