Right off the bat, let me preface this article by saying this is a piece about self-exploration. It is entirely selfish; my primary intent is to expand my perspectives for personal gain. It started as an objective political piece and collapsed quicker than the GEICO caveman TV sitcom.
I’m in my mid-20’s. I’m an artist and a writer. There are a myriad of depictions that would suitably describe who I am and how I feel. At or near the top of that list – that for the sake of my self-esteem I won’t actually compose – is perpetual confusion. Some of it I could be talked into accepting as normal, most of it I’m convinced is personalized. I continue to hope that the day will come in which I have a clue.
Since I can’t even begin to understand myself, needless to say it’s quite difficult for me to try and understand others. But as an aspiring artist or writer or person who’s able to afford dinner, it’s rather important to know what is interesting to people, what will abduct their attention, and most importantly what will garner a response.
Earlier this week we learned that Americans are 12 times more interested in Miley Cyrus’ recent antics than the Syria dispute. And this time we can’t even blame America or the media – the usual suspects or scapegoats, depending on your appetite for machination. Miley beat out Syria in every country in the world except Israel and Russia, who suffice it to say each have their respective reasons, despite the fact that Syria received nearly two and a half times the media coverage that Miley did.
Now before we go any further, let’s actually analyze what it is that’s getting Miley Cyrus so much darn attention. Was I the only one who was flummoxed by how big and controversial this story was? Even upon first read, confusion prevailed once again.
Let me get this straight: a college-aged pop star who makes her living romanticizing the risqué, who posted provocative selfies online as a teenager, who was photographed wearing a t-shirt that boldly states “Sex, Drugs & Rap”, whose last record was entitled “Can’t Be Tamed”, who is completely nude in her newest music video, whose history of salacious photo shoots make her the embodiment of an incendiary sex-crazed rebel; danced in an overtly erotic manner at an event specifically designed to enhance the brands of celebrities based on the degree of outlandishness of their performances, airing on a network whose mission since its inception has been the same, which in turn provokes overreactions from impressionable teens that will inundate the digital and social media world so the value of the event is ultimately higher next year and more revenue can be generated from advertising and partnerships?
Stop the fucking presses. Next you’re gonna tell me that Kim Kardashian’s sex tape was a publicity stunt. For once, I can pinpoint the source of my confusion. It has absolutely nothing to do with the behavior itself – if it were up to me, Miley Cyrus would quit music and just twerk at every waking hour – and everything to do with why people can muster such an enormous reaction to an incident that so obviously took place solely so the aforementioned result would indeed materialize. Calling it a ruse would be giving it too much credit.
I get why the Syria debate isn’t a popular story. It’s messy, confusing and political. I get that people don’t want to read about kids being gassed. We could have a whole other discussion about the advantages of ignorance, in this situation and in general, but this isn’t the forum (is it?). And I get why people don’t want to decide to kill more of our own and theirs on the other side of the world, while many of us can’t even find a job.
My issue is that the line between juicy, scandalous controversy and downright nonsense has officially been crossed. At least when a celebrity commits suicide, or when a politician has an affair, or when an athlete takes steroids, something is actually happening. It is at least a partially legitimate event, newsworthy or not, that exists beyond the realm of theatrical deception. It was not created exclusively to feed on itself.
Call me naïve, call me late to the party, even call me wrong. But maybe someday, people will realize that this stuff is garbage even by Page Six’s standards. Maybe someday people will get bored of these “outrageous” synthesized media plays. Maybe someday people will realize they are too easily conned and take a stand against this transparent sensationalism.
Or, just maybe, someday I’ll finally get a clue.