Revolutionary circles are abuzz following the youtube release of a new Miley Cyrus music video (see below), which combines protest footage of the Occupy movement with a remix of Cyrus’s nominally political dance track “Liberty Walk” (nominally political in that it repeats the word “Liberty” a bunch of times and includes aphorisms such as “Free yourself, slam the door—not a prisoner anymore!”). This grand announcement of support for the Occupy movement has already elicited a semi-official response from OWS: Priscilla Grim—a co-editor of The Occupied Wall Street Journal—reacted to the music video with a challenge to Ms. Cyrus, telling TMZ in an interview that “I double dog dare [her] to fight on the front line of economic civil rights at LA City Hall,” and adding that “Revolutionaries occupy, Ms. Cyrus.”
It goes without saying that this gesture of support is very different from the sort of actual/egalitarian protest participation that, for instance, Lou Reed has offered by taking “stack” (speaker’s list) at general assemblies in Liberty Plaza. And it is both easy and justified, after so much commercial co-option and celebrity cluelessness, for Occupiers to remain cynical about new celebrity endorsers.
But a brief moment in revolutionary history, in which Hollywood made a concerted effort to capitalize on campus revolutionaries with a series of studio-backed student protest films, can teach us that ‘revolutionary’ cultural objects made from within the culture industry deserve close scrutiny rather than immediate dismissal—they are often ambiguous, but may hold the potential to politicize audiences outside the reach of radical-political culture. While we should remain aware that Miley Cyrus is maximizing the earning power of her personal brand with this pro-Occupy video, we should also take the video seriously as a potential piece of contemporary revolutionary culture.Click to Keep Reading . . .