Result! Katy Perry matches Miley Cyrus

Katy Perry’s ‘Blasphemous’ Video Is EditedKaty Perry’s Dark Horse video has been edited after a Muslim-led protest accused it of portraying blasphemy. A petition was started on change.org calling for the video to be taken off YouTube. In one scene a man is shown being burned by lightning while wearing a pendant forming the word “Allah”. This has now been removed. So is this an embarrassment for Perry? Hardly: I imagine she and her team will be delighted and shout “Result!” The video has prompted outrage around the world and given Perry’s track the kind of exposure artists dream of. And without paying for it. Some people might argue Kay doesn’t need publicity: she’s at the top of her game and enjoys a phenomenal worldwide fan base. Maybe. But she is also in a very competitive area of the market. Quite apart from Lady Gaga and Beyonc√©, she has to contend with Rihanna and an endless stream of wannabes. And then there is Miley Cyrus. As we know Miley caused her own sensation a while back with her twerking exhibition. Looked at one way, this was mortifying for Miley. Looked at another way, it was an inspired, calculated gamble that paid off. Struggling to shake off the wholesome Disneyfied Hannah Montana persona, Miley transformed herself into a femme fatale — in just one performance. It’s at least possible that Katy Perry was studying the fallout from the twerking incident and, in her own, way trying to replicate it. If so, she’s done it. Of course, the artist herself may not even have been in on the stunt. It’s possible that the people responsible for storyboarding the video (i.e. designing the sequence of drawings that represent the shots planned for the video) smuggled in the element, knowing it was bound to cause offence. I recall hearing the writer Gore Vidal relating how, when he wrote parts of the script for the 1959 film Ben-Hur, he incorporated homoerotic references that escaped the actors and even director. So, in this instance, Katy might have known nothing about the content of her own video. All the same, we would be naive if we imagined she is not delighted with the results. Madonna proved the value of scandal back in 1989 when her Like a Prayer video upset the Roman Catholic church and got banned on MTV and many other stations. But the ensuing controversy didn’t do her career any harm, did it? Love her or hate her, Madge provided the template for so many features of today’s celebrity culture.¬† @elliscashore

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