Once upon a time, I was just a lowly college senior, totally over going to classes run by underpaid graduate students to fulfill my English Lit degree requirements, on the eve of my final for one of the aforementioned classes.
Now, I knew that I needed to be studying, because God knows that I didn’t actually attend or read for Restoration and 18th century literature. And when I did, I spent most of my time stealing glances at Jeremy Maclin. Or doing his part of our group work on our midterm project that was worth 50% of our grade overall. I mean, clearly he had better things to do.
In any case, I needed to review all of the books and essays and shit that we had “read” that semester. And I totally sat down with the books on the couch and MTV on the television, because even then MTV programming was full of crap, so I was confident that I wouldn’t get distracted.
Until Britney: For the Record came on. And I totally stopped studying.
I don’t know what it was about this documentary of “her most intimate moments” that captivated me, but I have a feeling that it was less the entertainment value of her life and more the drudgery that awaited me in the pages of studying that kept my eyes glued to the screen for three straight hours.
So, I was pretty much doomed when I showed up for our test the next day. I bluffed my way through the three short answer questions about the articles of whoosits and the theory of whatsits, and I arrived at the essay portion, which accounted for half our final exam grade. Which, for those of you keeping count, made it worth 25% of my total grade for the course.
The first option was so over my head that I almost cried, but I never even bothered to read the third option, because when I started in on the second, it was like the clouds open, light shone down, angels sang, and Jesus said: “This, my child, is why I created Britney Spears.“
And praise be to you, Oh Savior, because it’s what earned me a 4.0 in this class.
The question in question (I kill myself) went something along the lines of this: “Describe how Eliza Haywood’s depiction of the “young lady” in her essay Fantomina influenced feminism and helped to create a new set of rules for writing women.”
For those of you who care, but don’t want to bother stumbling through this entire Restoration piece, Fantomina is about a woman who falls for this bro while pretending she’s a ho, and proceeds to have him in any way possible. This means dressing up as a line of different women to sleep with him and keep him interested. There’s more depth to the real story, but you get the gist.
So how did Britney help me with this essay? Simple. Those 60 days where Brit’s most intimate moments were documented included the filming of both ‘Circus’ and ‘Womanizer.’ So the night before my exam, I had seen many a clip of this music video in-process, with-commentary:
See where I’m going with this?
Not only was I able to say that Haywood’s essay took the stereotype of the persecuted woman (think Scarlett Letter) and turned her into this powerful, sexually aggressive equal player in the eyes of her lover and the readers, but also how its basis still affects popular culture today, even if the nuances are lost on the unwashed masses.
Even though my grad student professor, who for the record found me highly amusing and therefore noticed when I wasn’t in class, resented that he had to give me a shiny grade for this essay after I attended roughly 25% of his classes, he sucked it up and did the right thing. He even called me in person to tell me how impressed he was with my “ability to translate the principles of the class into popular culture in a way [he’] never seen before.” I mean, yeah, he tagged on that I would have gotten even more out of the class if I’d bothered to show up more often, but…
A+. Thanks, Britney. Bitch. 🙂