A few years ago, I was visiting a friend in North Carolina when I heard on the radio a pretty crazy concert promotion by a station.
The Top 40 radio show was running a contest where people could win tickets to a concert featuring someone I had never heard of by answering some questions correctly, however for every wrong answer, the broadcast team would get to swing a sledge hammer at their car.
Amazingly enough grown men and women…worse yet PARENTS…were frantically calling the station and giddily declaring their willingness to risk accruing a few major dents in their vehicle to score some tickets to see Hannah Montana.
I asked my friend what a “Hannah Montana” was and she explained that it was Billy Ray Cyrus’s daughter.
The “Achy Breaky Heart” guy? I replied in disbelief, stunned that the singer had managed to produce anything else successful beyond his one-hit wonder (I’m sure my country music friends could cite some other songs that did well, but don’t bother illuminating me).
My friend then explained about the Disney show and how popular it was with kids. And from there I did not so much notice the younger Cyrus’ music or talent but the onslaught of products aimed at kids, from clocks to bookbags and if I ever needed to go gift shopping for my niece there was now an alternative to Dora the Explorer-affiliated items.
A few years later I heard about Hannah Montana again and it involved what would mark the first time in my recollection her name would be associated with something overtly sexual.
Cyrus, then 15, posed for famed photographer Annie Leibovitz for a feature in Vanity Fair magazine with some of the images from the session being considered provocative, causing a minor scandal.
“I took part in a photo shoot that was supposed to be ‘artistic’ and now, seeing the photographs and reading the story, I feel so embarrassed,” said the Hannah Montana star.
Miley Cyrus declared that the pictures were artsy but “not in a skanky way.” Those last words were hers.
Time would tell if her remorse was sincere or just a reaction to the Disney folks’ fury over their squeaky clean investment being tainted by sultry photos of an underage girl. However I had my doubts as teenagers don’t accidentally pose under satin sheets for national publications in their father’s presence.
The risqué Vanity Fair shoot would be the first milestone on Miley Cyrus’s road from the Disney Channel to TMZ.
Miley Cyrus has gone from talking about how her Christian faith has helped keep her grounded and not ending up like tabloid regulars Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan to supplanting the older ne’er-do-wells from the gossip circuit, perhaps to their dismay.
What happened at the MTV Video Music Awards program was the manifestation of an ongoing “brand reconstruction.”
First it was getting tattoos as a 17 year old. Then it was the leaked photos from her 18th birthday party of Miley celebrating with the hallucinogen “saliva.”
For her 19th birthday she bragged that “you know when you’re a stoner when your friends make you a Bob Marley cake.”
And then there is her big summer of 2013 song, “We Can’t Stop”, where she references people going to the bathroom to score lines of cocaine and then dancing with “Molly”, a nickname for the drug ecstasy in a pure powder form.
So should anyone have been stunned that Miley Cyrus would have been grinding up against Kirk Cameron’s television father’s real son on basic cable?
For Miley Cyrus, the MTV VMA was the “Twerk” Funeral for Hannah Montana and her metamorphosis into something else. Or to put it in a more appropriately vulgar way, the public loss of her former persona’s virginity.
If Buffalo Bill from The Silence of the Lambs had a daughter, she would be Miley Cyrus.
The smiley teenage Miley in the long blond wig has been replaced by a mullet coiffed, mens-underpants wearing millennial sporting a perpetual fierce open jaw facial expression of a rabid baboon.
And while her antics lit up Twitter, I suspect this new fame will be fleeting as all the name dropping in her future songs cannot compensate for a dearth of real talent.
I’d like to close with two things. First I hope that Miley Cyrus’s folks managed to perform at least one responsible service in her life by ensuring that the millions she earned from her “Christian” days were properly invested so that when the party does stop Miley Cyrus isn’t compelled to live off the residuals of “leaked” sex tape(s).
Secondly, she and her paren…scratch that, the individuals who created the biological cocktail that produced her should sit down and watch the George Burns’s black comedy Oh God You Devil, which warns about the consequences of doing anything to pursue fame and vanity.