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Published September 16 2011

Morast: Britney more than just artist – she’s art

Run through a list of our society’s most polarizing topics, and you’ll see the usual subjects: religion, politics, sports and George Lucas’ tinkering of the “Star Wars” franchise.

We need to add Britney Spears to the list. Now.

Why? Because lately, nothing I say draws more shocked faces, irate eyes and combustible responses than mentioning “I’m lovin’ Britney’s latest album” or “I can’t get enough of Brit Brit’s ‘I Wanna Go.’ ”

Part of this is because I associate with snobs. They hate everything.

But even the most average, everyday acquaintance looks at me like I’m a member of the Taliban after I declare anything positive about the pop star who says she’s been the American dream since she was 17.

Apparently she’s wrong, because anecdotal evidence suggests Britney’s more like an American enemy, one of those stateside villains our country casually attacks because they believe she’s an example of everything that’s wrong with our greedy, celebrity-obsessed world.

Then there’s the talent police who will tell anyone who’s not deaf that Britney can’t sing without auto-tune and that she lip-syncs on stage.

They’re right, but they’re also completely wrong.

Because while Britney’s an easy target for the people who never say anything they haven’t heard before, she’s also very misunderstood.

She’s hated because people feel she’s an inadequate voice for her generation or because she doesn’t write songs that try to capture the malaise of life itself.

They decry her star status because she’s not an “artist” – whatever that means.

But these critics are overlooking one major distinction: Britney isn’t the artist; she’s the art project.

She’s the person singing songs written by brilliant writers. Her albums were produced by people who manipulate music the way painters exploit colors. She’s wearing clothes designed by people who see fabric as creative thread. And she’s dancing moves conceived as physical expressions of today’s world.

She’s the blank piece of canvas these artists can color with their creative whims.

It’s kind of sad, actually.

It’s also beautiful, because pop stars like Britney exist as living, breathing pieces of art that walk among us.

They sacrifice their freedom so other people can express their dreams.

And like all good art, they represent a vision of the future that many people aren’t ready to see.

I see it. And I love praising it. I just hope the people around me start getting it.

Fargo’s karaoke queen

Cassandra Mae Jopp could be crowned a karaoke queen tonight.

The Fargo woman is part of the final four – two men, two women – competing for the “King” and “Queen” titles on ABC’s “Karaoke Battle USA.”

See if she gets the crown at 8 tonight.


Readers can reach Forum Features Editor Robert Morast at (701) 241-5518