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> pop politics
News & Views
Parallel Lives: Britney Spears and Shinzo Abe

TMM takes a look at the uncanny parallels between Britney Spears and Shinzo Abe

By tmm editors

Posted: September 14, 2007

ONCE ON TOP OF THE WORLD, ex-popstar Britney Spears and Japan’s ex-leader, Shinzo Abe, have fallen on hard times. From Britney’s tabloid antics and disastrous MTV performance to Shinzo’s resignation scandals and major electoral beat-down, it’s been a rough year for both of them. Who knew these two had so much in common?

Below, TMM takes a look at the uncanny parallels in the lives of Brit-Brit and Shin-Shin.


Britney’s Story — The year started out relatively well for Britney. The sympathetic (if incompetent) single mother had filed for divorce from K-Fed and reunited with her old manager, Larry Rudolph, the man responsible for her rise to the top. A new album was finally in the works.

Tale of Shinzo — The leader of the world’s second-largest economy seemed to have it all when he took the helm from Junichiro Koizumi last year, drawing a 60 percent approval rating. Japan’s youngest leader since World War II promised a muscular foreign policy that would raise Beautiful Japan’s stature in the world.


Britney — Once known for a her rock-hard abs, Britney is rocking a post-natal gut, having given birth to two boys—her “boo-boos”—in rapid succession. To prove she didn’t adopt them, she flashed her C-section scars and well-waxed baby chute at every opportunity.

Shinzo — In the first of many gaffes by his underlings, Abe’s health minister, Hakuo Yanagisawa, referred to women as “birth-giving machines” and blamed them for Japan’s falling birthrate.


Britney — Her single “Do Something” did nothing on the charts.

Shinzo — His approval ratings sank to 30 percent.


Britney — K-Fed had already fled. Now Britney fired her manager, banished her mother, and drove her assistants to quit. And just before her VMA gig, her hairdresser gave notice, taking the hair extensions with him.

Shinzo — The fuck-ups came one after another. Three cabinet ministers resigned amid financial and corruption scandals. Another committed suicide. A fifth stepped down after condoning the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But the nail on the coffin was Shinzo’s slow response to the nation’s pension crisis—when Japan’s social security agency lost 50 million pension records.


Britney — She claimed “exhaustion” when she passed out at a New Year’s event and then continued the downward spiral by checking into a rehab center in Antigua—and checking out 24 hours later. After shaving her head and getting a new tattoo, she checked into rehab in Malibu. And we know how well that turned out.

Shinzo — He checked into Keio University Hospital this week. The 53-year-old fallen statesman had gastrointestinal inflammation caused by “extreme exhaustion” and stress. In other words, a nervous breakdown.


Britney — Alarm bells were already going off (the crappy OK! photo shoot, her ugly custody battle, more snatch-flashing and hard partying). Then she took the stage at the VMAs on September 10 looking like a fat-ass hooker on crack, and suddenly she was Shitney Spears.

Shinzo — After a crushing election defeat in August, Shinzo tries damage control. He reshuffles his cabinet, but the pressure proves too much. On September 12, he abruptly resigns (and commits political seppuku).


Britney — She’s down, but luckily for this fan, she’s not completely out. Her new album’s set to drop in mid-November, and so far the early buzz has been favorable. Good, danceable tracks, including one where she sings, “I have bad media karma.” Now if she could just hit the gym and hire a stylist. Come on, Britney. Give us a reason to say, Gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme some more.

Shinzo — The road to recovery may be harder for Shinzo. Cracking under pressure does not play well in Japan’s shame-based culture. Maybe he should consider shaving his head à la Britney and going for spiritual rehab in a monastery. Shinto for Shinzo? We hear the Buddhists believe in re-incarnation.

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