I refused to weigh in on all the furor over the Myley Cyrus scandal
(which one? doesn't matter).
I just sat back and watched.
I really did not want to be part of THAT.
Now that its died down somewhat I can say my peace. Not about Myley. But about everyone, once again, getting sucked in by Disney.
Don't get me wrong.
Its not the 'Walt' aspect of Disney I'm talking about. I dream of taking my boys to Disney World, still have wonderful memories of my own trip there as a child. My middle son has a Mickey Mouse costume, we have all the videos and I still think I'm going to grow up to be The Sleeping Beauty. Disney's child centred division is iconic.
Where I have issues is with the promotional machine that takes the child stars and makes them palatable as adult actors and/or musicians, and the mass naivete that accompanies it. What modern Disney does well, very well, is create FORMULAS that enable a steady flow of income to allow the greatest profit from any given commodity. For example, Disney classics all have a 7 year rotation. That is, a movie is released for sale, for a VERY limited time, then taken OFF the market for 7 years, at which point it is re-released with updates, never before seen, or in a new format. With such a huge library they are able to do the 'Special Releases' every few months. Along with all the accompanying merchandise. Smart. And very profitable.
But you can't do that with musicians.
Out of the public eye means death to a singer. It is also VERY difficult for the general public to accept a child star growing up. Its why so many of the stars from the 70s tv shows crashed and ended up on skid row, drug addicts, or caricatures of themselves. Disney pours a LOT of money into its teeenie bopper stars. So how do they get the best return on that investment?
By keeping them VIABLE.
To do that with singers, female singers in particular, you have to shock the audience into accepting them as adults. What's that old saying? 'There's no such thing as bad publicity'. In fact, gossip and scandal garner much greater attention than a do-gooder piece . You have to (forgive me here, couldn't resist) take a 'wrecking ball' to the child-like innocence of the Disney Channel star persona.
How do you do that? What FORMULA works best?
Sex, Drugs and Nude pics.
Myley is not the first. There is a LONG list of Disney starlets who, as they hit 16, had their first "scandals" leaked, then had MAJOR scandals as they became of LEGAL age. Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Ashley Tisdale, Demi Lovato, Selena Gomes, Vanessa Anne Hudgens, Lindsay Lohan, Adrienne Bailon, on and on and on. If the scandals had legs, then so did their careers. Even if the new persona takes over their lives (Britney or Lindsay famously), they are still backed, promoted and kept by Disney (in every sense of the word). If they didn't go along with the Disney model, (Hilary Duff) or created REAL scandals (Jamie Lynn Spears) then they were dropped like hot potatoes. Disney owns E! Entertainment and all its affiliates, ABC and all the independent local stations IT owns, and many more. E! is often the FIRST to report these scandals, and definitely encourages them. Coincidence? Nope.
So come on people. Wake up. Don't attack Myley for following her pre-destined Disney route. And certainly don't feed into it. Because there is another young girl on track to take Myley's place once Myley is established, and accepted, as an adult pop star, and there will be another one after her, ad nauseum.
Don't be the John to Disney's music marketing Pimp.