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The big why

Britney concert provokes existential crisis


They couldn’t have been more than 18 years old, and they wore matching black T-shirts with white letters spelling out “Its Britney Bitch.” The words were stacked atop each other, and Nathalie Ramirez and Sarah MacArthur of Chino Hills, California, had crafted the shirts themselves. They had made the trip to Las Vegas, clutching a pair of $275 tickets to see Britney Spears perform on April 25 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

I asked the two visiting teenagers the simple question: Why? Why Britney Spears? Sarah seemed not to expect anyone to ask the Big Why. She thought for a few moments and answered, “Why not?”

There were so many reasons “why not.”

The heroine of the evening lip-syncs ritualistic dance music, for starters. She didn’t seem to particularly appreciate the fact that many in the adoring, capacity crowd of 14,500 traveled great distances—from far greater distances than Chino Hills—to see her in person. She didn’t talk to the audience, other than to recite such tripe as “Las Vegas! How you doin’?” But the phrase “thank you” was never uttered from the stage during her proficient but chilly performance. The showcase was not long for those used to two-and-a-half-hour spectacles from genuine artists. I’ll give Brit this, though: She was in good shape, looking fit and pretty, and carried off her dozen dazzling costumes quite well.

But why not? Because Britney Spears plays her fans for fools.

I didn’t have the heart to tell the kids from Chino Hills, having the time of their lives in Vegas, any of my opinions. Nor did I feel it was right to point out, of their homemade T-shirts, that “Its” needed an apostrophe. They’ll figure it all out for themselves someday.

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John Katsilometes is a columnist and magazine writer for the Las Vegas Sun and Las Vegas Weekly and editor-at-large for ...

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