TWEEN IDOL: Travelling back and forth to Los Angeles last week, I ended up reading two laudatory articles in esteemed business publications about the Disney corporation’s recent revival, and how the Disney Channel, and not its more venerable motion picture or animation divisions, has been the engine of this meteoric rise back to the top.
If you’re over 18, or don’t live with people below the age of majority, you might not be aware of phenomena like High School Musical or the Jonas Brothers, but they’re just two of the brands that Disney is selling hard to the last demographic that still buys CDs in appreciable numbers. If you’re hip — I use the word loosely — to this particular scene, then I don’t need to tell you that the sharp point of this seemingly unstoppable wedge is one Miley Cyrus, also known as TV’s Hannah Montana.
As if having your face on T-shirts, pencil cases, backpacks and three-packs of silkscreened underwear isn’t enough, the 15-year-old Cyrus — daughter of Billy Ray “Achy Breaky” Cyrus, to give you a little more context — has penned a multi-million dollar deal with Disney Books for her autobiography, according to a story in OK! magazine.
The word “autobiography” is being used loosely — some would say erroneously, but let’s not pretend that anyone at the New York Review Of Books is taking this too seriously — as Miley’s publisher is now in the market to find a ghostwriter to actually write the thing. (Does anyone remember the day when ghostwriters were dark, deep secrets kept obscured under layers of contracts and nodding media complicity? No? Anyone over 30 reading this column?) OK! even uses the words “very hush-hush” to describe the deal. Very hush-hush. OK! magazine. I’ll let you digest that one for a minute.
“The plan is to move her away from Hannah Montana,” an “insider” is quoted as telling OK!. “She’s outgrown it.” Sure thing — just don’t tell CEO Bob Iger or anyone at Disney corporate headquarters or Cyrus’ management company.
While I have no doubt that Cyrus’ life up until the age of 15 has been far more event-filled than the average young person on the threshold of voting age, I still have a hard time imagining how even the most skilful ghostwriter will spin this tale. Tom Wolfe, perhaps, could pad it all out with kaleidoscopic descriptions of the teen culture industry, and John Irving might work in digressions going all the way back past five generations of Cyrus’ ancestors.
Myself, I imagine it starting like David Copperfield, with the words “Chapter One. I am born.” Followed by lengthy quotations from contracts for management, touring and merchandising deals done in Cyrus’ name, which would put the page tally at roughly War And Peace length.