The Onion News Network warned us all of the day that Miley Cyrus “would be drained dry of entertainment value by 2013,” we just didn't listen. Back in 2008, when Miley Cyrus was still referred to as "Hannah Montana star," the Onion interviewed Miley researcher Justin Canty of the Institute for Sustainable Cyrus Use, who saw that we were draining Cyrus' entertainment value at an alarmingly fast rate:
“Miley is a potent entertainment resource, but we are using her at unprecedented levels,” Canty warned to deaf ears. “If we don’t act now, the down-to-Earth Miley who likes text messaging with her friends and playing guitar in her room will be wiped off the Earth forever.”
Canty’s warning seems so obvious now, in the wake of the Video Music Awards (VMAs) when it became clear to anyone that hadn’t recognized this already that Miley Cyrus is not so much an entertainer any more so much as a societal curiosity, a Rorschach test on which to judge not Miley herself, but those who observe her. Had we listened to Canty, we would have known that Miley Cyrus’ VMA performance is simply what we should have expected based on the historical pattern:
“Typically, a teenage star can have profits drilled from her before dropping down to ‘Is she too wild’ levels.”
“Disney has plans to pump songs and shows out of Miley for another 3 to 5 years before discarding what’s left of her,” interjects anchor Michael Bannon.
What Canty did not predict is our society’s resilience and ingenuity in recycling entertainment resources like Miley Cyrus into stranger incarnations. Hannah Montana is a distant memory—Miley at the VMAs represent the new paradigm. In another five years, who knows?