How Miley played all of us

Despite all of the letters to Miley, parental guidance and “she must be on drugs” posts floating around the internet, all of which attempt to make sense of Miley Cyrus’ interesting VMA performance fail to recognize the obvious – it was a publicity stunt.

Videos by Rare

No, Miley’s performance was not an indictment on modern society, nor was it an indictment of 20 something girls. Like the Madonnas, Janet Jackson “wardrobe malfunctions” and Lady Gagas before her, Miley, her publicist, her record label and MTV were hoping you’d freak out because now you’re talking about her. Heck, I’m writing about her. And while you were freaking out about her flat-bootied twerks, Robin Thicke was exempt from the same scrutiny. Even though his hit, Blurred Lines, is age restricted on YouTube because it’s chock-full of topless chicks gyrating while he sings, “one thing I ask of you, let me be the one you back that ass to, yeah, I had a bitch, but she ain’t as bad as you.” Classy.
The Onion, in a parody op-ed from CNN editor Meredith Artley, explains rather bluntly why Miley Cyrus’ VMA performance was listed as CNN’s top story:

Now, let’s get back to why we put the story in the most coveted spot on our website, thereby saying, essentially, that Miley Cyrus’ suggestive dancing is the most important thing going on in the world right now. If you clicked on the story, and all the slideshows, and all the other VMA coverage, that means you’ve probably been on for more than seven minutes, which lowers our overall bounce rate. Do you know what that is? Sorry for getting a little technical here. The bounce rate is the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page. If we can keep that bounce rate low, and show companies that people don’t just go to but stay there, then we can go to Ford or McDonald’s or Samsonite or whatever big company you can think of and ask for the big bucks.

So, as managing editor of, I want our readers to know this: All you are to us, and all you will ever be to us, are eyeballs. The more eyeballs on our content, the more cash we can ask for. Period. And if we’re able to get more eyeballs, that means I’ve done my job, which gets me congratulations from my bosses, which encourages me to put up even more stupid bullshit on the homepage.

MTV seemed to think so, too, which is why they allowed the scripted dancing teddy bear freak show in the first place. Outrageous moments translate into heightened interest in MTV and a boatload of free publicity, like this blog post. More interest, more ad revenue etc. etc. etc.

Today, Perez Hilton posted a leaked video of what looks to be a new song by Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber and some character named Lil Twist. The name of the song? Twerk. It’s as awful as you’d imagine, but it certainly adds contacts to Miley’s VMA Twerkgate; she was ginning up interest for her next release.

What do you think?

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