Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Empty-Head Triangle Trade

Brooke Anderson, an entertainment reporter for, recently discussed the events surrounding some fairly crude comments by Jamie Foxx on the latter's Sirius Radio show this past weekend. Essentially, Mr. Foxx and his crew decided to rip into Miley Cyrus. I'm not sure why she was a target of discussion -- on this show or any other, natch -- but the two things which seemed to be emphasized in Ms. Anderson's critique (LOL) of the contents of the aforementioned radio show were a) the suggestion that Miley Cyrus needs a gum transplant; and b) that she should make a sex tape.

Now, before I delve into the sludge that all these reclinate personalities seemingly dwell, let me say this: Miley Cyrus is a 16-year-old kid with an empty head (Billy Ray Cyrus) as a father, so anything that she does is filtered through parents that, clearly, aren't on the cusp of MENSA membership.

However, having said all that, is it appropriate for Mr. Foxx and his crew to rip on a 16-year-old girl -- her looks or her predication to trashy appearance? Not particularly.

Is it appropriate for Ms. Cyrus to dress and portray herself as some barely-legal vamp who would be better suited to porn than musical performance? Not particularly.

And is it a legitimate day-job for Brooke Anderson to get paid to, essentially, cruise the Perez Hilton websites for gossip and news that has no more significance than the back of a cereal box? Not particularly.

Let's put it this way...I have weighed in on this issue before this post, and I'm certainly not reticent to share my opinion or backtrack if/when necessary, but: the fact that our society treasures and respects empty, vapid female sexuality -- whether it's a trashy, low-end porn star like Jenna Jameson -- or some trashy, white-trash, empty-headed kid dressing like a Hollywood Boulevard hooker -- like Miley, or even Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera -- says as much about our society as it does about these "women." Keep in mind that the futility of the existence of Paris Hilton, Kimberly Kardashian and the other do-nothing celebrities of the world don't even factor into this discussion.

First, inasmuch as these women feel the need -- or that it's appropriate -- to comport themselves like white trash is an unfortunate by-product of our society. Aside from Christina Aguilera, none of these women I've mentioned have any real discernable talent -- unless being photographed in compromising, demeaning ways constitutes talent -- and I can understand people who are relatively disgusted by our society's embrace of the morally-bankrupt, talentless respect for the lowest common denominator.

But at the same time, Mr. Foxx, et al, really ripped into Ms. Cyrus in a less-than-sophisticated way. Despite the fact that Mr. Foxx really impressed the hell out of me with his role in "The Kingdom," his attack was a bit low-end as well and reminds us that someone who gets paid to speak someone else's words doesn't automatically earn the label of intelligent, sophisticated or mature (see Gibson, Mel, for further clarification). I can see someone describing Miley Cyrus as a cheap, white-trash harlot -- which she is -- but saying she should get a gum transplant is cheap and just as low-class as is her behavior. I don't disagree with his conclusion regarding her behavior (or Britney's or any of the other cupcakes that have flourished under our relaxed moral code), but I disagree with his methodology.

Fer chrissakes, the girl's 16, and between she and her father, their IQ barely reaches 100. It's one thing to tease, but it's another to shit all over. In other words, even if some or all of his observations were true, they were neither appropriate nor fair, and were completely unwarranted.

And finally, with respect to Brooke Anderson and the other legions of bobble-head "journalists" who get paid to analyze and discuss these happenings, what does it say about people who are paid to actually discuss this crap in minute detail? Personally, it repulses me to even discuss these people -- both the actual dimwits and the dimwits whose coverage of said dimwits falls under the umbrella of "legitimate career."

However, while I am repulsed, I do believe that this type of triangle trade -- the gossip-makers, the gossip-followers and the gossip-reporters -- are an -- unfortunately -- accurate barometer of where we are as a society. Whether we've always been this shallow and ignorant of the best use of our energy -- mentally and otherwise -- is barely worth debate. But watching this circle-jerk of emptiness both entertains and saddens me, in a guilty-pleasure sort-of way.

Now please excuse me while I wash this sludge off me.


Kaia said...

Hmmm interesting but I don't agree with your characterization of Miley Cyrus. I think what Jamie Foxx did was completely irresponsible and asinine - especially given that he himself has a teenage daughter. Totally inappropriate - and his excuse - oh sorry but you know I'm a comedian - just doesn't wash. It was bullying and demeaning. He's an adult - she's 16 years old - he should know better and act like a man. To pick on a child - totally unacceptable.

While I may not like Miley's father - I do think she's talented. Have you heard her sing? She's got a voice - she's a product of Disney (as was Christina, Britney, Justin, etc) - and they've developed her into a BILLION dollar franchise. She does not present herself in a 'hollywood blvd hooker' way - at all.

I think you're off on this - or at least your characterization of her is off - she's not a mini Paris Hilton - she's genuinely talented 16 year old girl. She's created an empire by surrounding herself with smart managers, producers, etc - including her father who encouraged her at a young age and brought her up on stage with him while he was on the road.

She may not be your cup of tea - but she's certainly not vapid or stupid.

Jamie Foxx is probably just trying to deflect the SUCK that "The Soloist" is by picking a fight with a teenage girl. He should know better.

From People:
"Cyrus is set to earn $1 billion in Hannah Montana related sales for the 2007-08 fiscal year according to People magazine. The young star is expected to rake in $17.5 million from her sold out concert tours (a reported $1 million a week from the estimated $50 million in tour grosses), a mere $65 million from her 3D concert movie, and now, an apparent 7-figure amount for her autobiography.

Even though she's making millions, her mom, Tish Cyrus doesn't let her teen daughter spend whatever she wants on whatever she wants. Most of the earnings are put into an investment fund that Miley isn't able to access - until she's 18."

Boogie said...

I completely agree that Jamie Foxx's comments were way out of line, but part of the reason why he had the opportunity to make those comments -- even if they were completely inappropriate, which I agree they were -- is that Miley Cyrus -- with her parents' permission -- appears (at least to me, and, apparently, Jamie Foxx, if not others) as some shallow, two-dimensional cheap, tawdry Lolita, not a legitimately-talented teenager. personality.
Whether she has talent, to me, is debatable; true, she's not another Paris Hilton, but just because she's earning millions of dollars doesn't equate to talent. And while her parents are controlling her spending, they also -- intentionally or otherwise -- ok'd her quasi-inappropriate photos that further lumped her in with the Paris Hiltons and the Kim Kardashians of the world. As to whether she has talent, I won't look at Britney Spears' career as validation only because I think both Britney and Miley are, for the most part, extremely lucky that multi-track digital recordings and effects can greatly enhance what talent these girls do possess.

Finally, and this was the main point I was hoping to make, when girls are thrust into an arena where their sexuality is front and center despite -- or regardless of -- their talent, it's pretty clear their fame will come at a price. In Britney's case, her public meltdown -- her sanity -- crashed. And while I disagree with Jamie Foxx's words, it doesn't surprise me that people have little, if any, respect for a 16-year-old girl who is marketed as much for her sexuality as much as -- if not moreso -- than her abilities.

Kaia said...

This is where we differ and I think you are wholly misinformed - Miley is not packaged and promoted for her sexuality. The one example you brought up was the Annie Leibovitz photos - and frankly - to mistake art for for titillation is just wrong. Those photos weren't in Playboy - they weren't in Maxim - they were for Vanity Fair - and I don't think there was anything tawdry or overtly sexual. It was art - and yes, art can be provocative and boundary-pushing - but that wasn't the intent of those pictures - it's the media and the conservative base who freaked out over the photos causing them to be a much bigger deal than they ever needed to be.

She has a great voice - you obviously haven't heard her sing live - she doesn't need backing tracks - and multi-tracks to smooth out the edges - she's got talent.

To your point, she actually is a legitimately talented teenager - who is NOT marketed for her sexuality over her abilities - and to call her cheap and tawdry is really wrong. R - O - N - G - wrong! :)