Friday, October 10, 2008

Starting Too Young

First, a correction....In my previous references to MSNBC, I should have said CNBC. Also, the Dow is all over the place as I type this. I'm glad I don't make a living that way.

Last night at work my coworker - apparently reading some news item about Britney Spears - asked me if Madonna had ever been such a train wreak. (He is only in his mid twenties and has no memory of that bygone era.) I have never been a Madonna follower, but I don't recall her ever running her life into the ground that way, which of course led to googling and some noteworthy differences between the two women.

The biggest difference in my mind is when and how they got started. Madonna was an A student in high school and went to college for a short time before embarking on a career as a professional entertainer. She was 25 years old when her first solo album was released. She had time to grow up and be on her own.

Spears, by contrast, is only 27 now. She - a small-town Louisiana girl - was enrolled at New York City's Professional Performing Arts School and first auditioned for the Mickey Mouse Club TV show when she was eight years old. I have an 8yo granddaughter, and the idea of a girl that age doing those things is ridiculous to me. Spears later attended high school for one year before going off to perform again. She never experienced real life the way you and I, or even Madonna, think of it. Because she was rich and famous before she was old enough to run her own life, it was run for her, and continued to be run for her through young adulthood, the time when you and I learned how to run our own lives. So when she started doing things that only she could control, she had no decision-making experience to help her. Hopefully when she's Madonna's age she'll have bounced back and will be able to look back with some humor.

None of this is new, of course. Entertainment history is littered with people who got too much too soon and never learned to handle life when it finally hit them. It's just a shame that too many people, particularly parents, don't learn from this.

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