Great piece by Mike Barthel on the Miley Cyrus/Rockmafia video in support of Occupy Wall Street, which makes use of a remixed version of Cyrus’s “Liberty Walk”. Barthel is right in noting that’s there’s no reason for people to be surprised at this, or think that Cyrus is only cashing in. Cyrus may have played an innocent goodie-goodie on The Disney Channel, but that never meant she was one; most likely it was the opposite. Pop is so invested in generating personae, and reinforcing those personae through public events and appearances, press releases, video, and now tweets, that people are shocked when an artist breaks out and demonstrates other aspects of personality. If Lady GaGa were to appear in public in a demure dress, no hat, no wig, and average heels, people would be just as shocked as they are at Cyrus now.
There’s no reason Cyrus can’t be a democrat—jingoistic jinglemeister Toby Keith is—or even a progressive, and there’s no reason to believe that she doesn’t know what those words mean. The same can be said of many others. Nickelback has released a single that seems to be in support of Occupy, though by their music you would assume them to be the worst sort of redneck (Canadian division) reactionaries. Enrique Iglesius’s latest single mixes his usual lustful yearning with references to the It Gets Better project; does that mean we should question his Latin lover persona, at least in terms of which gender he directs his ardor towards? Why should we? It isn’t that difficult to believe that there are some things that are bigger than pop; why is it so hard to believe that even pop stars are aware of it?