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Culture

The Britney defense

Was it idiocy on display or a clever way to snag viewers? Either way, a serial YouTube poster got the 15 minutes of fame he set out to achieve.

Hand it to Chris Crocker for demonstrating the Janus-like ability of the Internet to simultaneously fascinate and repel.

Following Britney Spears' impersonation of a sleepwalker at Sunday Night's MTV Video Music Awards, Crocker's lachyrmose defense of the pop singer's performance soared to the top of the YouTube most watched video chart.

Not only that, he received invites to appear on Howard Stern's radio program as well as on ABC, among other media stopovers. All for a recorded video close-up telling Britney's critics to go stuff it. Not bad.

At first, I dismissed this as mere garbage on display, the sort of cyber flotsam that Andrew Keen so eloquently warns against in his recently published The Cult of the Amateur: How Today's Internet is Killing our Culture. But as I began sampling some of Crocker's other YouTube entries (there were 1,250 at last count), his shtick was so over-the-top that I began to laugh out loud. The truth is that the joke is on all of the flamers ripping his YouTube appearance--as well as on the rest of us so fascinated by his deliberately outrageous performances.

Mind you, I wasted about an hour watching this guy strut and cuss and role play in front of his camera. If there was art instead of artifice, I might have come to a different conclusion. Truth be told, there is an infinite number of ways to better invest one's time. But an idiot defense for Britney. How fitting! Was it simply idiocy on display or a clever way to snag viewers? I've got my view. What's yours? Either way, a serial YouTube poster got the 15 minutes of fame he set out to achieve.