Miley tripping for the camera

Let me get this out of the way first: I don’t necessarily think there’s anything wrong with Miley Cyrus aka Hannah Montana experimenting with drugs. It’s certainly not unusual. Eighteen year-olds have been pushing boundaries (sex, drugs, roles, etc) since, like, forever. I did. While it’s true some develop life-long relationships with certain drugs and alcohol (I did), the vast majority of them don’t. As a parent of three young girls, I only hope I’ve raised them in such a manner that they make wise decisions, perhaps wiser than some of mine. Thinking that they will remain abstinent is just plain naïve.

On the matter of making wise decisions, there is plenty else to talk about regarding the so-called Miley Bong Video. If Cyrus is to be criticized for stupidity let’s start with the film itself. Stoned or not, why on earth is she knowingly playing to camera…in any condition? Raised on the camera her self, in the relentless glare of a celebrity-obsessed culture, doesn’t Miley Cyrus know what happens next? Has she not learned from her experience with Vanity Fair? Moreover, is she not aware of TMZ, Perez Hilton and Gawker?

There is absolutely no chance that this video was being made for personal reasons or fun. None. Listen to the vulgar prompts from her so-called friend: “talk to me, girlfriend!” “Tell us what’s on your mind!” The person shooting Cyrus was totally looking to make a document for sale to the tabloids. Totally. How could Miley be so ignorant? The shooter is culpable, no question. But so is Miley for being reckless. No excuse for both parties or, for that matter, the witless hangers-on giggling in the background. Shame on everyone in this stupid video.

On a different note -relating to advertising- how about the unmistakable product placement for Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes?

They're Grrreat for the munchies

Halfway through the clip, a teen picks up a box and begins chowing down. For a long-ass time we are faced with Tony the Tiger and the product’s well-known name. It’s nothing less than a “packshot.” While Kellogg’s most certainly will condemn the circumstances, deep down (being marketers) they will relish the circumstantial but gaudy way they’ve reached millions of teens. Eating cereal from the box is commonplace behavior for kids who have the munchies. One can only hope it was unintentional. God help all of us if it was not.

Latest teen sensation?

There is another product placement in the video. According to the “sources” providing this video the teens were not smoking pot but rather a less-known drug (until now) called Salvia. Still legal in California, the drug is ingested for its mild hallucinatory effects. Judging from Miley’s reaction, it works.

I vowed not to devote this space to dishing on popular culture, let alone advertising. I’m on record somewhere saying that gossipy ranting degrades us all. A few moths ago, I wrote of an epiphany I had in college, whereby I forsook critical writing forever (“Nobody likes a critic, March 18th). No, I reasoned, best to leave that sort of thing to Perez Hilton and his ilk.

But my vow of celibacy must be broken. A celebrity has given me cause. He is not terribly controversial, nor is he a bad guy; yet, somehow, this man, by his very ubiquity, is annoying the crap out of me. I can no longer restrain pen and tongue.

The object of my disaffection is Peter Wentz, the lyricist and bassist for Chicago-based rock band Fall Out Boy. He irritates me the way Shemp Howard did as a Stooge. Shemp managed to look and behave stupid in a way that was NEVER funny. And his partners put up with it. Those episodes sucked. I would yell at the TV: You’re not as (fill in the blank) as you think you are: funny, cool, talented, handsome, etc… Clearly, Shemp had few of these aspirations but Wentz has them all, and more. He portrays himself as an in-demand rock star or worse yet an independent artist.

And the mass media indulges this pop culture blip like he was all that. Every magazine in my house has pictures of this marginally talented goofball parading in and out of nightclubs, and not just on the gossip page but EVERYWHERE. His clothes. His house. His hair…

Oh my God, his hair. Like the aforementioned Shemp, the stuff on his head looks ridiculous. Not fun, not cool, not pretty, it only draws more attention to his strange looking face. And it makes me want to punch him. He has a ‘punch me’ face.

And then he marries and knocks up that booby nose-job who fake sung on Saturday Night Live. There are pages of wedding photos in all of my wife’s sugary airplane magazines. I stare at them in disbelief. Two mooks joined in holy matrimony. Now it’s their hair, their faces. Not just him anymore. My inexplicable disdain is multiplying. Exponentially.

Am I secretly envious of his hair (I have none), his girl, or his fame? Who knows? These things cannot be analyzed too deeply. Or can they? Details magazine has a piece this month that attempts to uncover “that guy.” Funny reading unless you see yourself in the descriptions.

I’ll stop. I am degrading myself. But tell me, Gentle Reader: am I alone in this? Is Peter Wentz not “that guy” for anyone else?


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