Tuesday, April 29, 2008

This whole Miley Cyrus Vanity Fair nudity scandal is about as American as old money buying political influence.

Yesterday, the Annie Leibovitz portraits of heavily toothed kid’s TV star, Miley Cyrus hit the internet and everyone was horrified at the fact that she appears wrapped in a sheet with her back exposed. Because she’s 15 and therefore she can’t officially be lusted after yet.

So, everyone was clamoring for an explanation and her father was and is still saying he is upset with the shots. Of course, Miley Cyrus is also out there in force saying she had no idea what shots they would use. Additionally, in the first round of rebuttals and apologies to the Middle Americans who actually are the target audience for the shots, it was pointed out that it’s essentially ludicrous that Cyrus’ father, Billy Ray, could be upset as he was not only present for them being shot but is actually IN some of them.

So, now, we’re getting further rebuttals through spokespeople of course, that are saying Cyrus’ parents actually weren’t there for the shots where she was wrapped in a sheet.

Ok, what utter crap.



The New York Post reports:

"Miley's parents did leave the shoot and were not present for the final shot, nor did they see any digital images of the shot in question," a Miley spokeswoman told The Post yesterday.

Her grandmother and her teacher were left to supervise, according to People magazine.

"Annie convinced them it was going to be artistic," a source told People. "Her parents are mortified."

Right, so, there were adults present but they were her freaking TEACHER and her GRANDMOTHER?

This entire thing is one of the most brazen and astonishing examples of how American culture insists on walking this dual line between being hyper sexual and complete and utter sex-phobia at the same time. Everything is about going back and forth and back and forth and maintaining the sexualized status but denying at the same time. She took the photos but now she's embarassed, her father was there but he's shocked and disappointed, he wasn't there for THESE shots being taken but she wasn't left alone. Blah blah fucking blah. This is part of the reason Britney Spears went insane. She had to be a virginal Republican, Christian child and a hypersexual dominatrix at the same time.

Hillary Duff's current struggle for status is a great indication of how America's libidinal tastes work. Duff’s people have been relentlessly hammering it home that she’s not an illegal kid any more and can be sexual and sexually objectified by audiences by planting gossip items all over the place (that only ever involve her with her long term monogamous boyfriend), kid actors can’t remain lucrative kids forever. If they do they end up like Macauley Culkin – except he never really had MUCH acting talent anyway.

With the billion dollar industry that is Miley Cyrus and Hannah Montana, you have this kid who at 15 – when she’s not playing to a specific audience of kids, is attending adult events like the Academy Awards dressed up like an adult vixen. The two personas are completely opposing but each side must exist in order for the other to exist and to potentially continue to exist. She couldn’t be worth a billion dollars unless she was doing something right for America and this is what she’s doing. She’s being a kid one minute for the parents and then a vixen at the same time but making sure to deny it so potentially offendable parents won’t stop buying the products.

I categorically REFUSE to believe that Vanity Fair, an army of publicists working to protect a brand worth a billion dollars and someone as acclaimed as Annie Leibovitz managed to put together a set of photos that portrayed the child subject as partially nude and ethereally sexual in a mildly gothic way and no one quite knew what was going on to the extent that pictures were actually published and now we're all shocked. I refuse to believe that. I refuse.

It is as ludicrous as subscribing to organized religion to believe that.

There is a consciousness at the root of this and it’s about pushing Cyrus’ mainstream and corporately constructed, insanely lucrative appeal to the hilt in a country that gets 5 year olds to dance on stage in swim suits in small Christian town beauty pageants while they’re systematically banning art and literature because of sexual content.

For this to work you have to have the imagery and then the arbitrary, intellectualized, verbal chastisement and denial that it exists. After that, everyone’s fine to look at the images all they want.

Cyrus is being told to lay low at the moment and she’s claiming she is “embarrassed” at the images. In a week or so, things will be fine. Just like with Vanessa Hudgens. It only lasts as long as it’s in front of people anyway.

“I think it's disgusting Miley was photographed in this way," one person wrote on Vanity Fair's Web site.

They sure do. Especially after they go out tomorrow and buy 6 copies of the magazine to make absolute certain that it’s disgusting.

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