May 2, 2008

(VF + Miley) x Annie = Kaching Kaching

Miley Annie

But why are the media so obsessed with manufactured conflicts involving movie stars and singers and celebrities on the A-thru-D list? What's really happening behind a trend that sandwiches the Cyrus episode between reports of deaths in Iraq and the rising price of gasoline on most major news networks in the United States?

What's happening is this: The politics of distraction meets the careerist strategies of a young female gold mine. When "greed meets the lead," it's yet another example of how pandering kills the news. Those who don't work in communications can't possibly imagine how deeply planned events like the Cyrus photo shoot are, and how constructed these seemingly coincidental controversies can be.

Too bad we can't see that each time we allow ourselves to be manipulated by the myriad publicists who help manufacture these controversies, we're not just molesting these girls, we're also killing the idea of the news.

from: Syl Jones: Accidentally, on purpose (

I admit, I had no idea who Miley Cyrus was a week ago.

Why I find this shot interesting, however, is not because it echoes the specific image that tainted Hannah Montana, or even because of the social manipulation and political misdirection referred to above.

It's because it captures Annie Leibovitz — a far more significant cultural icon than this 15-year-old will ever be — in the act of serving up one more cultural molotov cocktail.

The Miley Cyrus Photo Shoot (video – VF)

Tween Angel (
slide show – VF)

Reading The Pictures:  Between Bush's TuTu and Tu Tu's Bush (Shaw – Huffington Post)

Your Turn: Vogue + LaBron (Kong?) + Gisele = Kaching (BNN)

(image: unattributed. Vanity Fair. June 2008)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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