Dr. Peggy Drexler
October 04, 2013 4:00 pm

Making a sex tape is so last year. If you want to shock your way to attention, put together a second rate strip-club routine, and do it on a global stage.

It’s all part of the plan. Criticism – even ridicule – still gets you 300,000 tweets a minute, the lead on Entertainment Tonight and a couple minutes in NBC News. Calling her a bad role model simply advances the plan. Critics sound like the neighborhood crank who yells: “You kids quit playing on my sidewalk.”

There can be a price to pay when the act overshadows the talent. There is a shelf life on outrageous behavior, as so many young stars have found out. For team Cyrus (headed by Larry Rudolph, best known for guiding the career of Britney Spears) it’s gamble infinitely worth the risk.

The-sleazier-than-you plan works — especially when you have the Hannah Montana-gone-bad vibe going.  A great Miley Cyrus performance, absent the twerking and finger, would have merited barely a post. The truly talented Lady Gaga in her seashell bikini top must be scratching her head, wondering: “What’s a girl gotta do to get some attention around here?”

There is a proven business model at work. Paris Hilton parlayed a famous name, a sex tape and a short-lived reality show into a net worth said to top $100 million. Kim Kardashian took the same porn-first route, and earned $10 million this year. Of course, the plan is not infallible. Laurence Fishburne’s daughter, Montana, decided to start her career with a porn tape and ended up with a porn tape.

Assuming she doesn’t spiral to earth like the growing list of child-star casualties, she’s set for life – several lives, actually. And even if she takes it to the extreme, and crosses that dangerous line between provocative and pathetic, she can always recover. Entertainment is the land of second chances.

The only thing celebrity media loves more than watching a train wreck, is applauding those who manage to crawl out of the rubble, and get up and walk again — all the time hoping that they manage to run off the rails and start the cycle again.

It’s increasingly likely, in fact, that this apparent train wreck is painstakingly choreographed: seemingly bizarre behavior to get attention for the product followed by rounds of thoughtful and mature interviews, showing the product has substance after all. Collapse and redemption – with the cycle compressed to a matter of weeks.

If that is the plan, then it worked flawlessly. Witness the most recent results: The second song from the album, Wrecking Ball (with a video of her naked astride a wrecking ball) jumped to number one on the influential Billboard Hot 100 chart. Her first song, We Can’t Stop, (From MTV Video Music Awards segment) peaked at number two. The new album, Bangerz won’t be released until October 8, but in pre-sales, it shot to number five on the iTunes album chart.

So go ahead and shock our sensibilities, Ms. Cyrus. Leave your Disney image behind like downy molted feathers. And keep twerking all the way to the bank.

Featured image via Shutterstock

Advertisement