There’s nothing like an emotional Internet post about Britney Spears by an effeminate young man wearing perfectly applied eyeliner to bring out the haters. The evidence is readily available in the comment section of Chris Crocker’s YouTube channel. In case you haven’t joined Chris’s cult following in the past year, he’s the 19-year-old vlogger and hardcore Britney fan whose video you’ve all been forwarding since Tuesday.
You know, the thin, bottle-blonde so apparently devastated by the rabid media fall out following Britney’s zombie-like Video Music Awards performance, he’s crying – sometimes screaming -- into the camera for 2:11 minutes: “You’re lucky she even performed for you bastards! Leave Britney Alone. PLEASE!” Since Chris posted the video Tuesday, often not one minute goes by without another ugly, often homophobic, post popping up in the YouTube video comment section. Just a few lovely samples (original spelling in tact):
“go back to your spaceship!”
“why do people watch your videos. your so f--king stupid. i hate you. go to hell.”
“You are a pure looser, you need a life. Better yet...Why dont you just put the barrel in your mouth and pull it, and end your s--t once and for all.”
But the attention isn’t all ugly. There’s plenty of supportive posts on Crocker’s MySpace page. And now the media won’t leave Chris alone. His video is such a sensation, it’s been excerpted on local and national news stations, and Crocker’s been interviewed on CNN and ABC, as well as the Howard Stern, Ryan Seacrest and Wendy Williams radio shows. If Wikipedia hasn’t recognized Chris as an official Internet phenomenon, he certainly is now. And while it’s easy to dismiss Chris’s videos as attention-seeking schtick, he’s more like a young Candy Darling, sensitive and dramatic, with the Internet as his Andy Warhol.
Netiquette was lucky enough to catch up with Chris on the verge of his big cyberspace break out.
Netiquette: So, everybody wants to know … are you totally fake crying?
Chris: Absolutely not. That’s actually that was the second take, in the first take I was just talking and broke down on camera. I filmed it in front of window lighting, so you can’t see my tears. I was very genuine.
N: You’ve talked about being a Britney fan in past videos. But you don’t often address her life. Why the change?
C: I just wanted to get it out there. You know, there’s a one in 10 chance you’ll hear from Britney fans. I’m not delusional, I know (Britney’s VMA appearance) wasn’t a good performance. It’s not about her as a performer, or about her kids, or her weight. She’s a person.
N: Did you think this one video would get so much attention?
C: I actually had no idea that any of this was going on. I went to the grocery store after I posted it, not even five hours afterwards. An old woman in the grocery store said she saw it on (TV). From then it kind of snowballed.
N: Why do you think people who see your video react so strongly? Some are saying pretty mean things about you on YouTube.
C: To be honest, Britney’s a national treasure. Everyone has an opinion. Believe it or not, for my generation, it’s just as big of a topic as 9/11.
N: Yeah, but people on the Internet are so angry. It’s weird.
C: The Internet is a place where haters can roam free, where psychopaths run free, and threaten lives. I’ve never had my life threatened, but I’m getting death threats now.
N: Holy cats! Are you scared?
C: I’m trying to make the best of it. Sometimes I think, wait a minute, should I fall asleep at night?
N: Do you really think people who are comfortable saying horrible stuff anonymously online would actually come after you?
C: If you can say it on a computer, why not say it in person? If they’re serious about it, why not? But I don’t really live in that big of a town. I don’t think that anyone cares or is contributing to the hate.
N: Do you want Britney Spears to see your video? Do you think she already has?
C: You know, I have no idea, but I know that it was posted on TMZ, and they’re kind of in cahoots with Britney from what I’ve heard. If she saw it, I would like her to tune everyone out and let that video serve as a message to her that (she does) have fans, that we don’t just like her when she’s glitzy and glamorous, we like her for real reasons, and we’re sticking by her.
N: You used to be friends with another Internet phenomenon, celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton. But you two had a falling out?
C: We talked on the phone every day. It’s kind of like he said to me, “I don’t want to talk to you about Britney.” So I couldn’t talk to him as a friend anymore because we have such opposing opinions. If I can’t talk to someone about what I care about, see ya! I choose Britney over you. I would choose Britney over my mother.
N: Perez posted a spoof of your “Leave Britney Alone!” video called “Britney, Leave Me Alone!”
C: He tried to say that my video about Britney was cheap, but a smart move. How is mocking me … how is that not cheap?
N: Are you hoping to get an Internet breakout career, kind of like Perez?
C: I think that (Perez and I) are very different people, but if I could get the same kind of attention and bring something thought-provoking to the world, then yeah … I’m a very passionate person. I can put myself in other people s shoes. I can do social commentary or if “The View” ever needs a guy, you know … I say what people want to say, whether it’s about pubic hair or Britney Spears or incest … (laughs).
N: What advice would you give Britney Spears right now?
C: Kind of what I said earlier, about tuning everyone out. She needs to find the performer in her that we all know is there. And you know if she’s not ready to break back into the music industry right now, she’ll always have her fans waiting. If she needs to focus on the kids, fine, we’ll be waiting.
N: Tuning everyone out…growing up in a small town as an out gay kid who wears makeup, I’m guessing you’re speaking from experience.
C: The only way to have true confidence is through faith and diversity. I’ve faced that since kindergarten. Life has prepared me in any ways to deal with the media, I don’t for a second stop and question myself. If anything, I stop and question them.
N: Your YouTube videos almost got you a TV show in the past. Will you be heartbroken if the current hubbub fizzles away?
C: No because I know that at the end of the day I’m still going to have my luscious hair, and I’m still going to have a mirror to look into and that’s all that matters. The public doesn’t make this diva, I’m already made.
N: Your eyeliner is so perfect. My friend Ree wants to know if you use MAC Fluidline.
C: No, I don’t. It’s Palladio from Sally’s and it’s like $4, and it’s the best eye liner in the world!