Miley Cyrus has done it again. What exactly it is, of course, depends on who you are and where you stand on the Outraged on Jezebel/Outraged at Jezebel paradigm. Nevertheless, it's clear that she has taken the Internet's response to her video for "Blurred Lines" and magnified it by magnitudes, in turn multiplying opinions by multitudes.
Fresh off her satirization of the term "problematic" at Music Television's Video Music Awards, Cyrus knew that all eyes (leering, judging, sunglassed at 3AM near the back of the Hollywood branch of Soho House) were on her. So she teamed up with Terry Richardson, the highest-profile, most controversial photographer she could find, to make the essay-worthy music video of mid-September. It's worth noting that Richardson—whose selfies have made him a polarizing figure in the world of Internet caring—doubles as an in-demand celebrity photographer. He's taken pictures of people like Lindsay Lohan and Barack Obama and collaborated extensively with Lady Gaga, herself no stranger to attention grabs. By choosing him, Miley got the best of both worlds: Headlines that push forward the What Will Sexual Miley Do Next? narrative, and a professional quality music video. That the video is ultimately devoid of shock goes unnoticed, because it's in everyone's interest for it to be provoking.
What the video offers in lieu of anything genuinely alarm-inducing is a sort-of outrage simulacrum; the semiotics are there but it's ultimately hollow. Miley is not wearing a lot of clothes, but so what? She's gyrating, perhaps, but the #twerking is gone. Nothing she does is unthinkable, or even needing to be thought about. Granted that Cyrus seems wilder than most 20-year-olds at the small private schools that supply our content providers with content generators, but her behavior pales in comparison to that of the standard ASU rushee.
Ultimately, with this latest video, Miley's proven herself to be the kind of person who can make a conversation out of nothing. Yes, people like this kill at parties, but they're also well-suited for real life. You don't need to worry about her on twitter anymore.
Hanson O'Haver is right behind you. He's on Twitter - @HansonOHaver
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