Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Saturday 5 October 2013

So Proud!

You guys are full of surprises, or is it you guys?

Yesterday, I wrote about Miley Cyrus and her video, and about Sinead O’Connor’s response to it. I sort of felt that I ought to, because I like to tackle topical subjects that I have a strong reaction to. I do wonder sometimes whether I should be tackling this sort of thing, though, because sometimes it’s just too easy. Sometimes it feels as if I’m jumping on a bandwagon.

I talk about Stephen Fry in relation to anything and my reader numbers double. I write about Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi and those numbers go even higher. Oscar Pistorius and the killing of his girlfriend became the subject of a blog and my numbers were somewhere in the stratosphere. With that one I lucked into a good title and, somehow, my little blog was running on the first couple of pages on google search, so that was a bit of a one off.

The point is that I thought the same would probably happen with Miley Cyrus.

It didn’t.

I’m not sure what to think about that.

My first thought was that fans of my blog aren’t very impressed by Miley Cyrus or this particular debacle, and that they’d rather read about Stephen Fry or Nigella Lawson or about Oscar Pistorius. I wondered if they were more interested in the law, in domestic violence and in mental health issues than in a silly girl getting her kit off. I sort of hoped so. It might be true of course.

Then I thought about it some more and I came to another conclusion. I came to the conclusion that it’s more about the fans of various types of people, or, at least, those who have some sort of interest in different kinds of celebrities.

Someone following a story about Stephen Fry or Nigella Lawson, or someone following a story about a celebrity murder might follow all kinds of leads. They might not care about where that story comes from, at least in the first instance, and a blogger they’ve never heard of might be as good a source as anyone or anywhere else. Opinion can be interesting, after all. Breadth and depth, and an insight out of left field are remote possibilities for something interesting, but possibilities, none-the-less. I know that if I’m interested in something I’ll read all kinds of material about it, probably starting with one of the better news outlets, but then moving on to opinion pieces from everywhere and anywhere.

I wonder if fans of Miley Cyrus are remotely interested in reading this sort of thing about her. 

This was a story for the grown-ups. This wasn’t for her fans; they’re going to watch the video regardless. She doesn’t have to convince them of anything. Who does she have to convince of what, I wonder?

This was not an exceptional numbers day for me. This was box standard. I doubt it brought me any new readers. I think the people that read this blog have probably read me before. More feminists than usual from my pool of readers might have chosen to read this particular piece, and, possibly, those interested in pop culture, but I’m convinced I didn’t bring in any Miley Cyrus fans, or, for that matter, any Sinead O’Connor fans.

My guess is that people read this blog because they’re interested in my opinions or because it’s their habit to read me fairly regularly, and not because they’re fans of an allegedly devolving pop princess, or ‘Smiley Virus’ as my husband has dubbed her, or a recovering queen of pop.

So I’m rather proud that my readers appear to be loyal and sensible, and that they don’t seem to be sucked in by this particular brand of celebrity, that they’re more discerning than that. 

On the other hand, fans of Miss Cyrus appear to be rather blinkered to anything but their own rather narrow opinions of her. None of them came to look at what I had to say about her, probably because they didn’t know what that would be before they clicked the link. They didn’t know who I was and they didn’t trust that I would add to the adoration that they choose to heap upon her. My guess is that fans of Miley Cyrus click on the link that takes them to Miley Cyrus’s website or to fan sites they’re familiar with. My guess is that they go to the top two or three most popular sites listed on google and never even get to the second page of listings.

They simply want to know nothing more than what they are fed by her publicity machine. Maybe they only want to know the brands she is wearing, the total poundage of weight she has lost and how, and the latest tunes she’s peddling. No one has to go far to find that stuff. They don’t want to question anything. They want their pop idol intact.

An opinion piece on the politics of the music business and on feminism probably means very little to Miley Cyrus fans. Opinions, other than their own, and those of other teens clearly count for next to nothing, and I guess that was common to teenagers fifty years ago, and I guess it’ll be common to teenagers in a hundred years time.
OK... not quite naked. I just couldn't bring myself to do it!

There’s hope for them, of course, because in five months time they won’t be playing Miley Cyrus tunes, and in five years time they will have forgotten who she was. In twenty years time when she’s writing an open letter to some punchy twenty year old telling her of the evils of the record industry and of men in general, one or two of them might remember the days when she sat naked on a wrecking ball in a music video and the rest of them will be able to look it up on YouTube.

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