Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Utah Reaction To Controversial Miley Cyrus Photo Shoot: Provo's American Freedom Festival "Stadium Of Fire" Show Will Go On

Miley Cyrus - Victim or Vixen?

She's no longer the demur, schoolgirlish "Hannah Montana" next door. Miley Cyrus grew up - a little too fast for some people. But her projected appearance at Provo's "Stadium Of Fire", to be held on July 4th at LaVell Edwards Stadium, will be unaffected by the controversial Vanity Fair photo spread which has America talking - and some Americans shouting. Indeed, some posters on Stormfront and the Vanguard News Network Forum erupted in full volcanic rage, and Overthrow.com editor Bill White trained his rhetorical guns full bore on Annie Leibovitz. Full story published April 29th, 2008 in the Deseret News and the Provo Daily Herald.

Updated national story on CNN.

But although Brad Pelo, senior executive producer of the America Freedom Festival at Provo's LaVell Edwards Stadium, said he couldn't comment on the Vanity Fair photos of Cyrus, that was only because he has not seen them himself. Pelo has assured concertgoers that Stadium of Fire will still remain a family-friendly environment, in spite of any national hubbub. "There seems to be some buzz about the pictures," Pelo said, "but it won't impact the way the show's produced."

In the meantime, Pelo said event organizers are still at work finding ways to rearrange Stadium of Fire equipment to make more seats available to Cyrus' show. If any seats open up, he said, event organizers will release them. The show's 58,000 tickets sold out shortly after they went on sale earlier this year.

After the controversy erupted, Cyrus backpedaled and started claiming that she was "embarrassed" and had never intended to portray a sleazy image. However, Annie Leibovitz (pictured at left), a Jewish lesbian who specializes in provocative photography, stated on Monday April 28th that she and Cyrus had discussed the photos beforehand, and Vanity Fair said "Miley's parents and/or minders were on the set all day ... everyone thought it was a beautiful and natural portrait". Leibovitz goes into greater detail HERE. This might tend to put the kibosh on Miley Cyrus' awkward attempts to portray herself as a "victim". Indeed, J. Grant Swank, a Christian pundit, published an article on MichNews.com that characterizes Cyrus as a manipulative, take-charge publicity hound who not only orchestrated this persona change from start to finish, but wrapped her famous daddy, Billy Ray Cyrus, around her little finger and got him to run interference for her.

But Disney, who controls the Hannah Montana character, reacted differently, accusing Vanity Fair editors of creating a situation "to deliberately manipulate a 15-year-old." Disney declined to make anyone connected with "Hannah Montana" available to speak for this article.

However, People magazine seemed to approve of the transition. "She has to find a way to gain a new following," said Peter Castro, deputy managing editor of People magazine. He likened her situation to that of a butterfly still trapped in the cocoon. "She began as a caterpillar, and made a lot of money that way, but now she doesn't know which way to go. She's thinking, soon I've got to be a butterfly."

Utah kids went bonkers over "Hannah Montana", the No. 1 cable series for kids aged 6-14, and if you include the networks, second only to "American Idol." And that's just for starters - her 70-date concert tour in 2007, which sold out within minutes wherever and whenever announced, gave her an estimated $1 million payday per week and close to $20 million altogether from the tour. Her two soundtrack albums have sold 3.5 million and 3 million copies respectively in this country, according to Nielsen SoundScan. And according to People, "Hannah Montana" merchandise — from bedding to handbags to toys to shoes — is expected to rake in $1 billion this fiscal year.

So is Miley Cyrus a victim or a vixen? Probably both. The evidence is plain that she's wanted to go in this direction for some time now, but it's also plain that a famous photographer exploited her and pushed her so far that now she's got to backpedal.

What's ridiculous is that Americans and others will spend $1 billion on merchandise this year that merely has Cyrus' name on it. The marketing of celebrities as idols is designed to promote idol-worship and loosen ties to family, race, religion, and nation. This is no different than the idol-worship which led to the corruption of ancient Israel as well as so many other societies. I doubt that FLDS kids buy very much Miley Cyrus merchandise. There's something positive to be said about the FLDS culture and lifestyle, even if their polygamy has turned out to be less than voluntary from time to time.

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