Nitsuh Abebe, New York magazine’s pop critic, is so reliably sharp and eloquent that it’s almost annoying. Here he asks why many Americans wanting an anthem to celebrate the killing of Osama Bin Laden turned to Miley Cyrus’s Party in the USA
. This penultimate paragraph is especially terrific:
Thus does the death of Bin Laden, who was sort of the evil photo negative of a pop star — a charismatic multi-millionaire who communicated mostly by releasing videos — turn into something very much like a pop song. Most Americans want to party, and most Americans wanted Bin Laden to die of something other than renal failure. Listening to this song as a festive assassination theme has a classic Bush-era “bring it on” quality: We cherish a solid excuse to indulge in a little high-spirited cockiness, chauvinism, and provincialism about the things we like and do well. Cyrus’s video, which cribs heavily from the clip for Lenny Kravitz’s cover of “American Woman,” is stocked with a great many of those things we like and do well: a drive-in theater, trucks and muscle cars, Daisy Dukes, giant flags. It is, just like bin Laden’s death, another convenient opportunity to celebrate ourselves.