If your eyes have been focusing on anything other than the complete and utter inundation of post-Breaking Bad thoughts this Monday, it's probably been the rumor that Miley Cyrus is pregnant with the baby of rapper Juicy J. Because she is out of control, and allegedly cheated on Liam Hemsworth, and is destroying the moral fabric of this country, and probably even talked really loudly on her cellphone in a Starbucks once. Another day, another episode in the life and times of the rich and scandalous. Or, rather, another day in the life of a media desperate for another beat in the creation of the narrative of a pop star "in crisis."
Let's take a moment to dig back into a few of our pop-cultural memories: Justin Bieber with his pants half-down flinging obscenities at a paparazzo; Britney Spears, wild-eyed, nearly dropping her infant son and, later, shaving her head; Charlie Sheen and his... existence, particularly during those few months when you'd read "winning" or "tiger blood" every time you'd turn on the computer; Lindsay Lohan and her existence, particularly around the time of the "coke pants" incident, but also forever after; and Amanda Bynes' many issues with driving, accompanied by her truly epic use of Twitter and her continued legal troubles.
All are prime examples of celebrities — most of whom happen to be former child stars — who were (or still are) tabloid staples, their every move monitored for a period of weeks, months, sometimes even years as a part of the public's fascination with the mental and physical transformations of the rich and famous whom we make rich and famous. Their every tweet or interaction with another celebrity becomes fodder for gossip columns or think-pieces (this particular piece very much a part of that) analyzing the state of that celebrity's mental health, the ethics of sexualization, the status of world at large, and our own voyeurism.
There are smaller, less incendiary examples of the tabloid staple: Jennifer Aniston has been plagued with pregnancy rumors for the nearly nine years since her split with Brad Pitt, and the press nearly had an embolism when these two mature adult people were in the same room at the 2009 Oscars.
Now look at Miley Cyrus. Since her memorable VMAs performance with Robin Thicke (who has been conspicuously absent from tabloid fodder, but that is a whole 'nother essay), Cyrus has been everywhere in the media. Her every tweet, music video, and fashion statement a cause for literally hundreds of more articles hastily published to add to the flurry, and this site is just as guilty as the rest. But this most recent pregnancy rumor got us thinking about that rabid need for another beat in the story, for something to complete or continue the narrative.
Cyrus doesn't appear to be melting down in that tragically spectacular fashion that we've witnessed so many times before. In fact, she doesn't seem to be melting down at all — a post-break-up tear-stained performance does not count. For the most part, Cyrus seems to just charge ahead and keep working. Miley's doing Miley. And so are the rest of us.
She may not be beating up paps (she's certainly sassing them, but some would argue they deserve to be sassed), getting arrested, or passing out in public places, but the world is certainly waiting for her to: Our nit-picking "Miley Watch," in the true fashion of the social media world, has gone so far that Cyrus' unfollowing of Liam Hemsworth on Twitter became very heavily-reported news.
This isn't the first time (and it's 100 percent guaranteed that it won't be the last) that the antics of one hot young celebrity have dominated the gossip rags — that part's been happening since the people distributing that news looked like the cast of Newsies . It is, however, notable that what Cyrus is doing right now — namely gyrating a lot, being naked a lot, admitting to using drugs very popular with her age-group, breaking up with her fiance, and showing us her tongue — are, when you look at it, not actually very original. A pregnancy scandal may be the least original of all.
Miley Cyrus right now provides shock value, and it's a pretty heavily recycled shock value, at that. When it comes down to it, it's not about the girl we keep talking about, it's the fact that we're talking at all. Miley's gonna keep doing Miley, and we're going to keep scrambling to find a narrative to fit her in.