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Sex. Celebrity. Politics. With Teeth

A Close Reading of Britney Spears' Latest Instagram Caption Prose

In a recent post, the singer announced that she's writing a book—but the subtext, Melissa! The subtext!

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Photo: Valerie Macon/AFP (Getty Images)

Macy Rodman, a Brooklyn musician and friend of mine, recently opined that “celebrities should be forced to write novels instead of personal memoirs. Imagine what kind of deranged shit Audrina Patridge would come up with?”

As if heeding Rodman’s call, Britney Spears has announced that she’s working on some fiction! At least that’s what the caption says on this Instagram post from Friday:

I’m writing a book📚 about a girlwho was murdered 👀 … yet her ghost 👻 gets stuck in limbo because of trauma and pain and she doesn’t know how to cross over to the world she use to know 🌎 !!!! After being stuck in limbo for three years, she is a ghost who thrives off of her reflection in her mirror 🪞for existence!!!! She has no one she can trust but something happens and she figures out how to cross over to the world where her family is !!!! Coming out of the limbo she has a decision to make … greet the same people who murdered her or create a whole new life !!!! She no longer needs her mirror … she found a portal by citing certain prayers constantly that give her the insight and gift to not be scared anymore and come out of limbo … but what I will leave to the IMAGINATION 💭 is what she does when she crosses over …… besides learning to write her name again 😉 ✍🏻 !!!!⁣

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Taken at face value, this caption would appear to be an announcement of sorts for Spears’ debut novel—perhaps a juicy work of autofiction in the grand literary tradition of Nicole Richie’s The Truth About Diamonds! But anyone who’s been following Britney for years knows that she’s no stranger to getting meta, shifting the narrator, and otherwise deploying deceptively experimental prose in order to communicate with the public. There’s that letter she allegedly gave her former photographer, Andrew Gallery, in the mid-aughts where she refers to herself in the third person; those blogs she used to write on her personal website back in 2007 where she explained things like that the notorious umbrella incident, for example, was merely her “preparing my character for a roll” and that she “takes all my rolls very seriously.” I mean, take “Lucky,” for instance! Sure, she’s not a credited writer on the Oops!... I Did It Again track, but I’d have a hard time believing that a singing about the secret pain of a pseudonymous “girl named Lucky” night after night back in the day wouldn’t have had an impact on Spears’ approach to storytelling.

Anyway, all that said! Here’s what I think: Britney’s basically telling us without telling us that she’s finally free from the confines of her conservatorship as well as from her life as a celebrity product benefitting others and now must decide whether she wants to let a lot of those people responsible for those confines, i.e., her family members, back into this new chapter of her life. “Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth,” after all, as Brittany Murphy once said.

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  • In other Britney news, her fiancé, Sam Asghari, got her a puppy named Porsha!! [Hollywood Life]
  • Taraji P. Henson’s releasing music. [Page Six]
  • In his upcoming documentary, Justin Bieber says that he hopes that he and wife Hailey Baldwin have a baby soon—or in his words, “hopefully we squish out a nugget.” :( [Page Six]
  • Spencer Pratt doesn’t think Lauren Conrad should appear on The Hills: New Beginnings because he doesn’t think she’s cut out for reality TV, which ??????? [Us Weekly]
  • Kanye West got coffee with one of Donald Trump’s former lawyers in New York City. [Hollywood Life]
  • ...which happens to be where Kim Kardashian West is at the moment, rehearsing for her hosting gig on Saturday Night Live tonight. [TMZ]
  • The Jezebel readers will hate me for saying this, but Kim’s comic timing and delivery seem pretty good!! [Twitter]
  • Happy Spooky Season, from Katya Zamolodchikova: