And to return to NYLPM’s favourite topic:

Oops, she’s doing it again!: from the new Salon (which is slow-to-load and now looks entirely undistinctive) an insightful look at the Britney phenomenon. The sub-editors take the predictable kiddyp*rn angle*, but the article is worth more than that, and until the very end manages to neatly articulate a lot of the doubts that even the pro-Britney contingent may well have felt. The final message is that rather than treating Spears as an exception, she’s best understood as representative of a culture which has become sexually supersaturated, and that it’s possible to analyse that culture without being repressive or a moralist. Criticism is not censorship.

*(I can well understand why stuff like the “Baby One More Time” video is disturbing to some, but it looks to me less like ‘child p*rn’, and more like mainstream smut in the teen tradition of Porky’s and Screwballs. A friend’s first reaction to it was that it was an adult dressing as a schoolgirl, in a kind of Carry On film style. The revelation of the singer’s true age makes some difference to that impression, but not, for me, enough. An instructive comparison would be between the Britney video and images like Blind Faith’s album cover (pre-pubescent naked girl pouts while holding big aeroplane), or the original logo for Virgin records, both of which are far less acceptable. And Max Martin has nothing on Malcolm MacLaren, whose original promotional plans for Bow Wow Wow involved the production of a magazine celebrating pubescent sexuality, entitled Chicken. Lovely.)

**(Apologies for the annoying vowel-replacement in parts of this post, but there are some hits even NYLPM doesn’t want to attract.)