I spotted this Rolling Stone cover featuring Katy Perry at the newstand, and I couldn’t help but snap a pic. I recognized a version of this headline from a decade ago, when “Seventh Heaven’s” Jessica Biel went bad—and that was long before “Powder Blue.”
“Sex, God & Katy Perry: The Hard Road & Hot Times of a Fallen Angel.” For those of you who didn’t know, Perry was a preacher’s kid and even started out in Christian music. (I learned that from a post I wrote months ago at GetReligion about a Christian artist going mainstream.) Forgive me if I’m not on pins and needles about the compelling story inside the magazine, but I think I’ve heard this one before.
You’ll need to be a Rolling Stone subscriber to read all of Vanessa Grigoriadis’ story on Perry. I don’t have one, so I’ll have to settle for this excerpt:
The other day, Katy Perry was Googling herself again. “Any artist who says they don’t Google their name is a big fat liar,” she says. Perry is shrewd about her online image, with 3,062,173 followers on Twitter and a long-standing friendship with Perez Hilton, who has boosted her for many years. She was on her laptop, which she calls her office – she has no other, not even at her home, a 1920s triplex in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles that she cleans obsessively – when she noticed a bunch of online gossip sites were reporting that she had called Miley Cyrus’ new look “Britney Spears all over again” at the MuchMusic Awards in Toronto. “It’s worse. Look at those outfits. It’s bad.”
Now, Perry had said nothing of the sort – or, at least, nothing she meant for anyone to overhear. This required immediate action. She quickly tweeted a response: “I never said shit bout my girl Miley. I love that ho.”
Perry knew that what she was doing was weird. “It’s a little gross,” she says. “I’m sure no one knew or cared about that line about Miley. When you look at other celebrities’ Twitter feeds and see them posting about something they read about themselves on a Google Alert, it’s like, ‘Uh, maybe you should stop Googling yourself every day, the world does not spin around you.’ ” But Perry mainlines attention the way her fiance, Russell Brand, once did with heroin (and now does with attention), so she found the entire interaction to be deeply satisfying. Not only did hundreds of gossip sites report on her tweet, but she had also managed to publicly call 17-year-old Miley Cyrus a “ho.” That was naughty. That was walking the line. That was exactly the kind of moment that Perry lives for.
Based on the unfruitful Google search I just did for any news stories or blog posts about this featured that included the word “Christian” or “church” or “preacher,” I have to wonder how much religion really plays a role inside this issue of Rolling Stone. It certainly has before, most often by the skillful reporting of Jeff Sharlet. But he didn’t write this piece on Perry.