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Hannah and Her Consenting Sisters

Aug 13 2008 Posted by in entertainment | Comments Off on Hannah and Her Consenting Sisters

Would you care to share any thoughts on the latest Miley Cyrus scandal? More to the point, on the use of “scandal as P.R. device” in general, especially “planned” scandals. I mean, in the old days, raping and killing a bimbo in the St. Francis Hotel would put a stain on your career; nowadays, it’d sell another 100,000 albums . . .

I wouldn’t call her a bimbo . . . I mean, yeah, she may have been wearing the uniform at the time of her death, but my fans do that sometimes. So only 99,999 albums, maybe.

I do have a real problem with the way society sexualizes children, which also creates a chicken/egg conundrum: would they do it themselves unprovoked anyway? I don’t blame Miley at all. I doubt it was her idea in the first place, but there’s nothing a 14-year-old wants more than to be thought of as sexy. Just like they envy their big sisters with drivers licenses or how cool their collegiate brother looks with a beer in his hand (and why older-than-targeted actors are always cast for kids’ commercials). It’s one way they rebel against the confines of their age. From the other side, is it so wrong to be aroused by a girl (not talking Miley here) with a fully-developed body, despite her taboo age (even with no intention of acting on said attraction)? On the contrary, watching the Olympics, you’ve got 26-year-old women developed like typical 14-year-olds who do not stir such thoughts.

None of this is helped by feature-film actresses who get permission to lose their linen underage (like Keira Knightley or Thora Birch). Or what about when of-age actresses portray and sexualize roles clearly meant to be underage? How am I supposed to feel about that, and at what point does intent factor in? Sure, she’s old enough to get naked in real life, but I’m meant to think she’s not. That’s pretty fucked up. I take no issue with it in a dramatic sense (say, Mena Suvari in American Beauty), but just as often it’s gratuitous high-school-party nudity. Eh, I’ve totally lost the thread of your point.

UPDATE: Here’s an interview with Alan Ball discussing how he tackled these same issues while directing his film Towelhead. Coincidentally(? Okay, so it’s not like I’m talking about Larry Clark here), Ball also wrote American Beauty.

Premeditated media scandals. Hmm. Given the tabloids’ insatiable hunger for any sniff of the trail of the celebrity du jour and their every tangential coffee run or strained eyebrow – and our public need to feast on such scraps – I personally kind of enjoy when the paparazzi get exploited to the stars’ benefit. I’m not immune; I do follow things on a surface level, though I have no idea why people know who Speidi or Miss Kardashian are, so I try to tune out such lower tiers of the “meta-famous” (yeah, it’s my word; spread it).

Sometimes bad publicity does hurt. Look at Paris’s CD. Even my own karmic loathing didn’t see that thing crashing like a lead zeppelin. Even ScarJo (whose voice and looks I enjoy) released a horrid Tom Waits coaster that sold less than Caffeine-Free Jolt. Switching mediums, depsite her obvious Page-Six star power, Paris has proven over and over again that she cannot “open” a movie. Meanwhile, the elder Spears has a book coming out, and it pains me that she’ll be making fuck-you money off nothing more than a fertile ovary, while I can’t even get my sweat-n-blood literary masterpiece across a desk.

Of course I agree with you on the whole: part of me dies every time I see hack talent rewarded. But unfortunately, to qualify as a scandal, one of the parties must already be famous. Maybe if people found out I’m banging Hillary Clinton. . . I’m not, though, so that would be libelous. But a decent plot for my follow-up book. Horror, of course.