It seems that Radiohead has gone mano-a-Montana with pop-singer Miley Cyrus. The feud goes back to the Grammy Awards last month, when Radiohead angered the diminutive diva by refusing her request to meet the band backstage. Miley subsequently blasted the group on a syndicated radio show, saying, “I left ’cause I was so upset. I wasn’t going to watch. Stinkin’ Radiohead! I’m gonna ruin them, I’m going to tell everyone.”
According to E! Online, Radiohead responded to her remarks with this statement: “When Miley grows up, she’ll learn not to have such a sense of entitlement.”
Now you may laugh at the notion that 16-year-old Miley Cyrus, star of the Disney Channel’s Hannah Montana, has within her power the ability to “ruin” the mighty Radiohead, but I wouldn’t be laughing if I were Thom Yorke or the other lads from Abingdon. In fact, I’d be apologizing, immediately and profusely. Like children who’ve wandered into a minefield, they’re oblivious to the danger they face. Miley Cyrus will crush them. And it won’t be the first time that a pop singer has exacted a swift and terrible retribution on someone who has angered them. These icons wield an awesome power, and they are not afraid to use it.
As a warning to Radiohead, please come along on this infotational journey as we take a stroll through recent history to reveal what befalls those unfortunates who run afoul of our manufactured pop idols. But a word of warning: it’s not a pretty picture.
1963: Connie Francis requests a personal meeting with President John F. Kennedy to discuss her concerns about his Indochina policy. Instead, she is snubbed with a form letter, a humiliating rejection for one of the most popular singers of her day. She immediately vows that she will “ruin” the president. According White House records, she receives the rejection letter on Thursday, November 21, 1963. Coincidence?
Connie Francis: Where was she on November 22, 1963?
1968: After two seasons on their hit TV show, the Monkees are one of the most popular bands around, but they desperately long to be taken seriously — not only as a pop band, but as a political and cultural force. The Monkees seize upon the ‘Prague Spring,’ the flowering of democracy that swept Czechoslovakia in early 1968, as their moment to make history. The band hastily records a new single, “Groovy Tereza (Czech Me Out),” to commemorate the movement and even offers to give a free concert in Prague’s Wenceslas Square. But the Czechs have never seen the Monkees’ TV show, and they have room in their hearts for only one Western rock and roll band: the Beatles. Instead of “Groovy Tereza (Czech Me Out),” the anthem of the Prague Spring becomes “Hey Jude.” Enraged, Peter Tork, Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, and Michael Nesmith vow to “ruin” the country’s fledgling democracy movement by calling in favors from ultra-powerful rock producer Don Kirshner, whose close ties to Nikita Khrushchev are widely rumored. Within a week, Russian tanks roll through Czechoslovakia, putting a lid on liberalization for 21 long years (until the Velvet Revolution of 1989).
1975: On the morning of July 30, 1975, Toni Tennille of Captain & Tennille is involved in a minor traffic accident in the parking lot of the Machus Red Fox Restaurant in a suburb of Detroit. Though the accident is not Toni Tennille’s fault, the other party refuses to pay for the broken tail-light on her vehicle and in fact becomes quite belligerent during the encounter. She immediately vows that she will “ruin” him. That man’s name? James Riddle “Jimmy” Hoffa. He is never seen alive again.
1986: On January 28, 1986, Menudo is scheduled to perform their new hit single, “King Holiday,” on Good Morning America, but the band is bumped at the last minute for live coverage of the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger, which had been delayed for several days due to bad weather. Backstage, Ricky Martin is overheard fuming as he vows to “ruin” the launch if it is the last thing he does. What could be interpreted as a nothing more than an idle threat becomes more sinister when it is revealed that, just the day before, Menudo had performed a sell-out show at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, gaining legions of rabid, new fans among the NASA site’s propulsion engineers and astrophysicists. As for the Challenger, it explodes 73 seconds after liftoff.
1991: Vanilla Ice is widely celebrated for his mad skillz as a rapper, but less widely known is the fact that he is also something of a wunderkind in the realm of international finance. In fact, his rap career is really nothing more than a means of acquiring the seed capital necessary for him to begin dabbling in leveraged buyouts of offshore assets and engaging in highly complex foreign currency swaps. His bank of choice for these endeavors is a Luxembourg-registered firm that doesn’t ask too many pesky questions of its depositors, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, or BCCI. However, when Vanilla Ice tries to open a second account at the bank in July 1991, the cashier refuses to give him his free gift, a new AM/FM clock radio, explaining that the gift is only for new accounts while Vanilla Ice is opening a second account. Enraged, Ice vows to “ruin” BCCI and immediately withdraws all of his “Ice Ice Baby” royalty money, rendering BCCI functionally insolvent. Less than one week later, on July 5, 1991, regulators in five countries raid BCCI’s offices and forcibly liquidate the once-powerful bank.
1996: The Spice Girls are at the top of their game, but one member of the prodigiously talented group is not happy. Geri Halliwell, AKA Ginger Spice, is displeased with her number one fan. For years, Geri, who is widely acknowledged to be the most diabolical of all the Spice Girls, has been running an assassination ring as a side project to her fledgling music career. Now, with the Spice Girls taking off, she is trying to shut down her murder-for-hire business, but one of her agents refuses to cooperate. Calling himself her biggest fan, he goes off-grid, threatening all she has worked for. So she does what she has to do: she creates a cover story and takes him down with extreme prejudice. The number one fan’s location? A cabin in Montana. The number one fan’s name? Theodore “Ted” Kaczynski, AKA Unaspice.