Louisiana, as I’m sure you well know, is a community property state. Which means that in the absence of a pre-nuptial agreement, the bride and groom are entitled to share equally the earnings amassed as of the start of the marriage. According to the marriage licence, both Britney and Jason are residents of the state.
So technically, Britney’s like, you know, real crazy, soooo whacky and spontaneous wedding cost her $50m. Or – to do the old “it’s amazing” newspaper trick – Jason was pulling over $909,090 per hour, or $15,151 per minute, or $252 per second.
But it’s not all good news for Mr. Spears-Alexander. He rapidly signed to Baltimore-based publicists Game Time Management, who are touting his wedding video at $1m. Naturally, he’ll have to share half of that with his ex, which is a real bummer.
Enough obtuse financial fantasies. This latest premeditated twist in the chaste-schoolgirl-virgin turned Timberlake-bonking-raunchy-celebrity-lesbian-snogger plot provides Britney with the column inches she needs to remind herself she exists.
Message boards are buzzing, ex-girlfriends are spilling the beans for cash, Hugh Hefner’s hopped up onto the bandwagon (he wants her as girlfriend, Playmate, and centrefold), and stentorian editorials such as San Antonio’s Express News have disgorged the usual pompous moral high-ground pap:
“Celebrities… should not look upon matrimony as a lark. Most people still hold marriage sacred. It should not be seen as publicity fodder – and it certainly isn’t a joke. Britney, no longer a girl but not yet a woman, should be ashamed of her shenanigans. This wins her no prizes as role model of the year. Her fame and accessibility to money may make it possible to tie the knot and untie it just a few hours later, but it doesn’t make it acceptable. She knows better. She’s not that innocent.”
Well there you go. That’s told you.
As the Express News well knows when it’s not pontificating, nothing is sacred, everything is publicity fodder, and as for Britney being a role model – well it depends on the role she wants to model, doesn’t it? It’s all a stunt, it’s all PR, it’s all rubbish. Entertaining, yes: but rubbish.
There are those who argue that Britney has left herself nowhere to go and there’s no topping a 55-hour marriage in PR terms.
Of course there is. There’s always somewhere to go, although it might well involve a rapid descent into the increasingly skuzzy and extreme.
Although she’s not asked for my advice as yet, her best course of action is to record a fantastic new million-selling single and album. In most observers’ experience this tends to generate celebrity, and Britney and her manufacturers have the ability to do it. The alternative is to become a white trash famous-for-being-famous media whore. It has its attractions, I suppose, but the shelf-life may be short.
Britney’s one-time lover Justin Timberlake got his big PR break by (allegedly) having sex with her (a piece of PR turn-blending if ever there was one) – but he was then wise enough to record an album that had some quality. He’s ended up with automatic media currency because his talent – if you like that sort of thing, and lots of people do – has earned him an entree into the company of Cameron Diaz and the Hollywood aristocracy.
Meanwhile, Britney is forced to work at it by exploiting whatever opportunities she and her publicists can concoct. If she got her act together and created some decent product, she’d need to exert herself a lot less for a far bigger return.
She’d just need to keep singing, record risqu¿ videos, do a Hurley on the dress front every now and again, and occasionally snog a superstar or a bit of rough, whilst gently stoking debate about the size of her breasts.
Easy. And it doesn’t jeopardize half your $100m fortune.