You couldn’t watch the news or scan the Internet yesterday without hearing/reading about it—reports about Miley Cyrus’ obscene, shocking performance at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday night. Parents outraged at the child-star-turned-porn(?)-star; the most liberal of celebrities tweeting disdain and even disgust; a live-television prime-time scolding by Nigel Lythgoe on So You Think You Can Dance. Tongues wagging everywhere. (Pun intended.) Never mind that we’re on the verge of war with Syria; yesterday our news cycle was dominated by looping video of Cyrus’ completely UN-sexy twerking bum as newscasters reported it as actual news and pundits cracked jokes (again, pun intended).
Do you think Cyrus is upset at all this negative publicity? Her performance upstaged Robin Thicke (you know, the other guy that was on the platform?). Hell, she upstaged Syria.
Don’t hold your breath. Miley Cyrus got exactly what she wanted.
First of all, let’s put this in context. While I’m completely on the bandwagon with those who thought Cyrus’ performance was inappropriate, I can’t help but chuckle at the people who continually tune in to the VMAs year after year and have the gall to act surprised. It’s the MTV Video Music Awards, people. This is what they do. For that matter, parents, Miley Cyrus actually did not behave out of character. Did you see the music video? Did you really think this performance was gonna be safe for your kids to watch? The whole thing about Cyrus trying to shed her good-girl image—that’s last year’s news. I haven’t seen or read a single news story about Miley Cyrus in the past 12 months that painted her as anything remotely wholesome. So be outraged all you like; just don’t be surprised.
That being said—it’s pretty obvious that Miley Cyrus needs help. In fact, she needs the public’s help. She needs your help.
How can you help Miley Cyrus?
Like I suggested earlier, all the tongue-lashing in the world isn’t going to break this cycle; in fact, it’s only going to perpetuate it. I’m no psychologist, but I’m taking a stab in the dark that Miley Cyrus craves attention—and for people who crave attention, negative attention works just as well as positive attention, if not better. With one obscene-yet-pitiful self-exploiting performance, Cyrus became the most talked-about person in America overnight. That’s enough attention to satisfy her craving for at least a week or two.
But what if it hadn’t worked? What if people wised up, realized they were being manipulated into giving her attention, and changed the channel? What if the collective news media had grown a conscience and made a decision not to perpetuate it by reporting it? All day long? Over and over?
What if Cyrus’ obscene antics had not given her the attention she was looking for? What if the whole thing had been downplayed, instead of played up? What if we hadn’t given her the satisfaction?
I realize that the fact that I’m even writing this article about Miley Cyrus almost defeats the purpose (after all, this counts as publicity, too). I also realize I write for a music news publication which sometimes posts pieces on celebrity news and gossip, because it’s interesting reading. So believe me, I’m not attempting to over-moralize here. But I figure someone’s got to say it, even if nobody does it: if Miley Cyrus’ behavior offends you, there’s a better way to respond to it, and that is to ignore her. Stop watching. Stop chattering. Stop downloading her songs and buying her records. Don’t go to her concerts. Stop following her on Twitter. Seriously. Don’t voice your outrage: that’s exactly what she wants. Vote with your feet. Vote with your wallet. Not to protest her or even boycott her, but to help her. For that matter, if the public ever dared to make a collective statement like that, it would even force media outlets like mine to take notice and stop publishing pieces about her. (After all, we’re not interested in publishing things people aren’t going to read/watch.)
Anything we don’t feed will die. If we were to stop feeding Cyrus’ compulsion for attention, maybe she’d have to start taking a closer look at herself.
I’m actually a realist. Do I think this is going to happen? Nope. Haven’t seen it happen yet, and Miley Cyrus isn’t the only celeb we’ve seen go down this road. Just saying it would help her if it did.