“What About the Audience?”

Still surfing the shockwaves generated by her VMA performance, Miley Cyrus is the host and musical guest on this week’s SNL:

Jezebel‘s Dodai Stewart explores just how predictable, even boring, Miley’s “indecent” exposure really is, concluding:

And let’s be honest: This is all for shock value. There are no statements being made about female sexual power, it’s not a commentary on culture or art, it doesn’t raise questions about How We Live Now. Attention for the sake of attention is pointless. When you’re in command and have millions listening, you ought to have something to say. Neither Miley, Rihanna, Ke$ha nor Gaga are using their chart-topping positions and rabid fan bases to draw attention to issues that plague today’s woman — the wage gap, having it all, FOMO, yogurt mania. The problem with all these half-naked pop stars is that they fail, even as they succeed, because they are ‘artists’ turning themselves into objects. Objects have no agency. Objects are disposable. Objects have no feelings. And although there is value in shock value — power in startling, provoking — the truth is, while the nightly news anchors may feign mild consternation, though talking heads may raise their brows, no one, no one is really surprised.”

While I agree it would be great if Miley et al added substance to their style (although to be fair, Gaga often does), I am left asking the same question as the characters in Hal Hartley‘s Simple Men . . .

. . . “what about the audience?”  Would the audience follow these pop stars if they were to engage serious social issues, even if they just followed through on their glib assertions of female empowerment?  Or would the audience simply move on to the next vapid pop star?

On a side note, Simple Men contains a great dance scene:

It’s reminiscent of Jean-Luc Godard‘s Bande à part (AKA Band of Outsiders):

Quentin Tarantino Americanized the title for his production company, A Band Apart.  And he included a similar dance scene in Pulp Fiction:


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