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We are all guilty of harboring certain fascinations with celebrities. I don’t care how many times you might loudly sigh as your friends discuss model and actress Kelly Brook’s most recent holiday snaps, you’d be hard-pushed to find anyone who wasn’t interested in the life of at least one specific someone, be it a particularly dislikable politician or a favorite artist.

For me, it’s always been Britney Spears, and it’s always been more than her music. I think we’re interested in the private lives of people we don’t know partly because we’re taught to contextualize things as best we can from an early age. It’s just one of those things that’s drummed into your head on repeat in history class, and English. So why wouldn’t we attempt to contextualize celebrities, too? We’ve been doing it to authors in the name of academia for hundreds of years, so the leap from Virginia Woolf to Spears really isn’t so far. If you put it in context, of course.

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