Miley Cyrus Takes Her Party In The USA To Occupy Wall Street
Here is a fun sentence to type: Miley Cyrus released a video in support of Occupy Wall Street! The clip, posted Saturday, pairs a remix of her 2010 song "Liberty Walk" with footage from the Occupy protests, and is so incongruous that when I first saw it I spent about five minutes verifying that it was an official Miley production. If the song hadn't gotten such wide coverage, I'm not sure I'd still be able to say with complete certainty that the former Disney Channel star was responsible for it. The clip looks like a tribute video (fan-made clips that take, say, a Taylor Swift song and put it over footage from Twilight or Glee to emphasize the deep emotional relationships between the characters); it even opens with the suspiciously iMovie-looking white-text-on-black-screen epigraph "This is dedicated to the thousands of people who are standing up for what they believe in..."
In truth, it's not so out of character. Cyrus is a longtime vlogger, and her ability to use new media in an accessible, authentic-seeming way has been a huge boon to her popularity. But for those more used to the image of Miley Cyrus as a slick, corporate pop star, the apparent sincerity and homegrown flavor of the video were hard to process.
Miley Cyrus, "Liberty Walk (Rock Mafia Remix)"
The response has been predictably ungenerous and snorty. Either Cyrus is clueless since she is herself richeven though that charge didn't seem to be particularly relevant when it came to other celebrities, and in the case of fellow pop stars Radiohead was ignored entirely in favor of celebrating their validity-enhancing endorsement of the movement. Or else she's opportunistic, simply seizing on the movement as a way of promoting herself. Aside from the fact that YouTube videos are considerably harder to profit from than, say, t-shirts, the fact remains that 59% of Americans don't know enough about the movement to have an opinion on it. If Cyrus is hoping to profit off the backs of OWS, it's an extraordinarily bad business move.
Of course, the other possibility is that she honestly, earnestly believes in Occupy Wall Street, and that her opinion on the matter is just as valid (or invalid!) as that of John Cusack, Mark Ruffalo, or Colin Hanks. It shouldn't be so surprising that an affluent 19-year-old American has a Bob Marley infatuation and vague, ill-informed leftist beliefs. The fascinating thing here isn't Miley Cyrus being into OWS; it's that being into OWS scans so easily as "normal" that support for the protests slips so easily into the mainstream of pop culture.