Thursday, May 15, 2008
Is it ART or is it SLEEZE
I haven't seen this issue of "Vanity Fair" yet. I admit, it is one of the few print magazines I still buy and read from time to time...mostly when I am traveling and for light plane reading. I tend to like many of the authors they feature, and they do get down to the nitty gritty on many current event stories and popular figures of our time. They also feature alot of photos with their articles...with Annie Leibovitz being their most featured photographer most months.
This past week has seen a popular bruhaha over Miley Cyrus' cover photo showing us her 15 yr old naked back in what many have described as a "seductive" pose. This subject to me is all at once interesting, conflictive, alarming and amusing. Interesting combination of reactions, huh?
I find it INTERESTING because compared to many other images I see in the daily press and on TV, her image and pose was TAME compared to teen images we are confronted with everyday in stores/malls and catalogs aimed at teens, on MTV and other teen and adult related TV shows.
I find it CONFLICTIVE because on one hand, no one wants to see a "minor" manipulated to do something like this against their or their guardians will. Yet in this case, two different versions were reported about how this went down. As NYTimes reported April 28, the star herself seemed to change her tune based on what public perception was...I quote:
Disney spokeswoman, Patti McTeague, faulted Vanity Fair for the photo. “Unfortunately, as the article suggests, a situation was created to deliberately manipulate a 15-year-old in order to sell magazines,” she said.
The article, written by Bruce Handy, seems to support that claim, quoting Ms. Cyrus as saying, “Annie took, like, a beautiful shot, and I thought it was really cool. That’s what she wanted me to do, and you can’t say no to Annie.” She also said of the photo, “I think it’s really artsy. It wasn’t in a skanky way.”
Ms. Cyrus had a different view in a prepared statement released on Sunday:
“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. I never intended for any of this to happen and I apologize to my fans who I care so deeply about.”
Beth Kseniak, a spokeswoman for both Vanity Fair magazine and Ms. Leibovitz said, “Miley’s parents and/or minders were on the set all day. Since the photo was taken digitally, they saw it on the shoot and everyone thought it was a beautiful and natural portrait of Miley.”
I find this situation ALARMING because our society overall is so hypocritical on this theme. Many of the same people who criticize and call this photo "sleezy" or "opportunistic" (Disney of all companies saying this) are the same people who feast on celebrity news, the teenage pregnancy of Britney Spear's teenage sister, or watch all the pro homosexual and lesbian themes in MTV targeted at our youth...let alone the violent or realistically sexual video games that these same companies or propogandists promote and/or sponsor. I mean, this photo/image is NOTHING close to "sleezy" as those other pornographic programs and video games that kids are growing up on. So...why are they placing so much importance on these photos?
What could be called "amusing" about this situation is that EVERYONE involved is making money off this supposedly "negative" publicity. Both the Disney show Miley Cyrus is on,"Hannah Montana", and Vanity Fair magazine have seen increases in viewership over this "bruhaha" and coverage. And as was reported in the same NYTimes article... "Wall Street analysts... say retail sales for the franchise (Hannah Montana) are expected to total about $1 billion in 2008. A motion picture is in the works for 2009 and Ms. Cyrus signed a seven-figure book deal with the Disney Book Group last week. I guess Disney is taking their "disappointment" all the way to the bank! Now we know...the rest of the story.