Archive for the ‘media hype’ Category

Miley’s ‘nude’ photos are getting the job done — already!

April 29, 2008

Has no one else figured out what’s clearly going on with this Miley Cyrus “picture flap,” as calls it, while USA Today worries if her upcoming Vanity Fair spread will be “artsy or embarrassing?” And that’s just the tip of the media gorge-fest.

Uh, can you spell “free publicity”? This is cost-conscious marketing at its finest! Heck, the magazine’s website even crashed Monday after getting 4 million hits to see a 15-year-old wrapped in a blanket and seeming to be topless (though she wasn’t).

Start by declaring how suddenly chagrined and embarrassed you are about photos YOU CLEARLY SAW DIGITALLY DURING THE SHOOT and to which YOU HAD NO OBJECTION. Then watch the media feeding frenzy begin! “You say Miley shows a little skin? And the photos are ‘controversial’ (our favorite five-syllable word)? That’s news, baby!”

No, that’s hype — and why buy into it? If Miley or her family or her handlers in Mousketeer suits truly were embarassed about these reasonably chaste photos (as they sound to me), then why would they draw attention and heat and spotlights to them? Three guesses, and they all start with a big “M” for Money. “Just wait till that issue hits the stands! And did we mention Miley’s show airs at . . . ”

But while America holds its breath for a look-see at Miley (hey, I’m there, if only as props to photographer Annie Leibovitz), I’m left to ponder a too easily successful marketing blitz which seems based on stone cold lies that the media is buying and ballyhooing without asking a question — or at least not asking the right ones.

At such times, I imagine I’m the one interviewing Miley and her hillbilly daddy, and not some hypefest enabler. As we make nice with small talk and sip iced teas, I imagine they’re explaining all this fuss to me. Or trying to.

“Those photos are embarassing!”

 “Which photos?”

 “Uh, the ones running in the June issue of Vanity Fair, on sale Wednesday at newstands, but at first only in New York and Los Angeles, then on May 6 in the rest of America. Those photos.”

 “Which ones again?”

 “The ones in Vanity Fair. Did we forget to mention the name of the magazine? Ohmygod. And it’s on sale everywhere — soon. Anyway, those photos. In that magazine. On sale soon.”

“Ohhhhh,” I say, all interested like. “OK . . . well, thanks for the tip!”

And so it goes.

Sorry, but I’m not buying this too typical show-biz prank for pub. Why typical? Because entertainment as a craft — while often rich with creative juices — is also rich financially because it’s built on lies, or at least false claims to reality.

Actors pretend to be someone else. Miley pretends to be Hannah Montana. And too often the pretending and posturing spill over into self-serving stories like this one. And why not lie? It almost always works!

Well, not if you listen to me, but then, what do I know? Surely the truth is closer to what my former collegues in entertainment journalism are telling you. I’m just being cynical, I guess.

Besides, look how sloppy I am. Did I forget to write about DVD this time — a topic I originally promised to cover? Oops. Hey, you’ve got a 27 Dresses review hot off the pressed laptop keys. But sometimes, some things — as with my American Idol rant — need to be said. By someone. Somewhere. And there — I’ve said it, and have this off my chest.

Now, don’t we all feel better?