About a week ago, on Friday, Jan. 4, Britney Spears lost custody of her two sons, Sean and Jayden. Federline’s attorney, Mark Vincent Kaplan, appropriately said that “there are no winners here.” Of course, that can be said regarding any custody battle, but in a situation where children are better off being raised by K-Fed than the alternative, that truly is a lose-lose scenario.
This must be really tough for Britney, but let’s not forget her younger, pregnant-er sister, Jamie Lynn. She’s going to have to rethink all those parenting tips her big sis gave her. Their mom, Lynne, is also probably rethinking whether releasing her book on parenting, Pop Culture Mom, is a good idea at any point in time. I’d say if she just cuts the chapter(s) on putting Coca Cola in baby bottles, she’ll be fine. But let’s return to the topic of Jamie Lynn, the pregnant 16-year-old. Not only has promiscuous sexual activity skyrocketed in the Zoey 101 demographic, but public interest in teen pregnancy has increased as well. Case in point is the teen dramedy Juno. Sure, it got major distribution and hype previous to Spears’ knocking up, but the real life preggers teen only helped Juno’s success. The movie, unfortunately, is marketed as the next “quirky,” “indie,” buzzword-laden film that like so many of its predecessors combines comedy, good music and interesting wardrobes. Ooh, how hip, right? I think it’s a shame that everything from Wes Anderson films to Napoleon Dynamite to Little Miss Sunshine to Garden State get lumped into one nonexistent genre — a genre I unaffectionately call McRandom films. Engineered to appeal to the masses while looking underground and inaccessible, Juno is the next of these “totally random” films. Obviously, they aren’t all bad. Juno is a very rewarding film; it’s just that’s what the machine turns them into. I may be making an overstatement, but because of Jamie Lynn, this movie has transformed from a well-calculated underground hit (to later clean up in DVD sales) into a potential Oscar winner. Not only that, but the soundtrack could become the next Garden State. In the past week, the Juno soundtrack has been the top downloaded album on iTunes. Featuring Kimya Dawson (herself and The Moldy Peaches), Cat Power, The Velvet Underground and some great Belle & Sebastian tracks, the soundtrack is basically a mix CD my friends and my 15-year-old self would listen to incessantly. It’s really great and if it becomes super popular, I’m going to stand by that. But if it has the Shins-launching success of Garden State, I’ll be shocked. (Just that it has any level of mass interest is kind of a shock.)
One would never think that an artist (that wasn’t a rapper) who wrote songs called “Who’s Got the Crack” and sang lines like “Who am I going to stick my dick in?” would ever be featured on a top selling album. But then again, we live in a new world. Michael Cera and Seth Rogan have replaced the Stiflers and Ashton Kutchers, so why can’t The Moldy Peaches replace Kelly Clarkson, Belle & Sebastian conquer Nickelback? There could be a slow-building musical revolution, just as films are changing. The Shins and Death Cab for Cutie paved the way for more deserving bands just as Juno can open the door for better, more original films to get national attention. We, in 2008, could be at the beginning of a new cultural renaissance. And why? Because Jamie Lynn’s boyfriend didn’t wear a condom.

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