Talk about a successful meltdown

By: Cole Buergi, VP of Business Development, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

It started with a tongue mysteriously hanging out at the strangest of times. Then came her famous twerking episode with Robin Thicke on the VMA’s followed by an admission that her favorite drugs are ecstasy and marijuana. Most recently, Miley Cyrus is in a Twitter spat with has-been 80s and early 90s singer Sinead O’Conner and has also traded barbs with Cher.

Although I care little about Miley’s entire situation, what I do find interesting is how the more “bad girl” Miley becomes, the more media coverage she is getting. That by itself is not the interesting part. What truly piques my interest is that, in the past, when celebrities had prolonged meltdowns, their earning power went with it.  

Not this time. Miley Cyrus is more popular than ever and continues to amass a fortune from her questionable behavior. She’s pretty much everywhere and people are paying a premium to see more. Instead of being reprimanded by her peers for her behavior and sent away quietly for help, she’s being richly rewarded.

The lack of accountability is because everyone else is profiting from her misguided activities. The main reason is society wants to keep peering into the window of Miley’s life to see what’s going to happen next and that’s making her and the media that highlight her wealthy. For some, it’s a morbid fascination. Others may see it as a young adult trying to break away from the “good girl” Hannah Montana image. Unfortunately for a small group, they watch on so that they can determine how to top it. 

Equally shameful in my view are Sinead and Cher’s attempts to draw attention to themselves by weighing in on Miley’s meltdown. It’s no coincidence that Cher just happens to be launching a new album and needed a publicity stunt to help generate sales. Sinead is just doing anything to regain her former celebrity status. 

This brings me to my point. I can’t help but wonder, has society become immune to the crazy and, often times, bad things that happen in the world because we are bombarded with it 24/7? Has traditional media, social media and the almost unlimited access to information via the Internet taken us to a place where only over-the-top, outrageous behavior can capture and hold our attention?

I thought after the whole Lindsay Lohan public meltdown, society would get a little tired of this sensationalized behavior. Guess I was wrong.

What are your thoughts? Has society been de-sensitized that only extreme behavior can capture our attention?