Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Miley Cyrus Showed A Spine, and America Freaked

Last week, I spent way too much time stuck in a small room with a television tuned to cable news. Normally, I avoid such situations, but this was unavoidable, and it provided affirmation of the common-sense proposition that spending time in an ICU is something to avoid. It's not so much the medical risks or watching someone waste away - it's the awful time spent in the thrall of whatever the producers of television news force into the public's throat like an unwanted feeding tube.

The outrage of the week was the fact that a 15 year-old young woman, facing challenges and opportunities that none of us can even imagine, chose to pose for a world-famous photographer in a manner that didn't actually reveal any of her naughty bits, but made viewers realize that she, a 15 year-old young woman, has naughty bits. Judging from the outrage, it made people think a lot about her naughty bits - an awful lot.

The TV was jammed with people shocked, SHOCKED, that Miley Cyrus covered her breasts with a sheet and bared her spine for all of us to gaze at - some of us apparently gazing quite intently.

Meanwhile, here in Kansas City, a few miles from where I live, a few 15 year-old girls gave birth, but nobody cares. Not even me, honestly. I won't put their pictures on my blog, or learn their names, or do anything tomorrow to prevent their friends from being in the same situation.

For just half a news cycle, before the crushing power of Disney's shareholders and the clucking news people and panicked agents got through to her, Miley Cyrus bared her spine to America, and dared to challenge the creepy hot-house world in which 15 year-old women with fully matured bodies are somehow devoid of sexual awareness. The guardians of American morals have rallied, though, and guided us back into the cage of lies that one overwhelmingly safe, incredibly pampered, and completely normal young woman dared to step out of, and show us something we prefer to claim we didn't want to see.


Anonymous Rhymes With Right said...

Is there anything pornographic about the picture? No, there isn't.

But especially at a time when we are dealing with the serial abuse of young women at the FDLS compound in Texas and continuing high rates of ten pregnancy and STDs, the publication of a mildly erotic, somewhat sexualized picture of a teeny-bopper idol is in questionable taste.

Still, I agree that the hoopla was overblown.

5/07/2008 5:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I sure didn't find the picture to be erotic.

It would have required more thought to imagine that she even had breasts, than to consider that she was covering them with a sheet.

Was it done in poor taste? -I think so.

Is it worth noting? -NO

5/07/2008 7:59 AM  
Blogger les said...

Yawn. Although if Miley (who actually appeals more to my 9 year old) inspires my 15 year old to appeal to Annie Liebowitz and set herself up for college costs with a similar pose, more power to her. Have the cluckers been to a public swimming pool lately--or a public school, for that matter. If I didn't know our once fair country was swirling around the bowl, I'd say that if we have time to get exercised over such nothing we must be in good shape.

5/07/2008 8:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

an adult having sex with her will land them in jail for a while. The photo is completely inappropriate. Any sexual pics of anyone below the 'acceptable' age as described by law, is wrong. No other way around it.

5/07/2008 12:38 PM  
Anonymous Whistleblowme said...

I've looked a the picture, anonymous, and I don't see anyone having sex with her.

How do you define a "sexual" picture? Is any picture that makes anonymous you think about sex a "sexual" picture? What if she's just dressed kind of sexy?

And you agree, don't you, that "wrong" is your opinion, and certainly not the law?

5/07/2008 12:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'm sorry for your loss.

5/07/2008 3:29 PM  
Anonymous Dustin said...

Should she be promoted as a sexual being even though it would be a crime to have sex with her? I think not. Otherwise, change the law. Also, it doesn't have to be pornographic to be sexual. Definitely overblown. The bathing suit comment has me reconsidering my first points.

5/07/2008 3:30 PM  
Anonymous Rhymes With Right said...

Let's see -- when was I last in a public school surrounded by 15-year-olds?

Oh, yeah -- 2:30 this afternoon, when the bell rang to dismiss my students from 7th period!

Wonder why I'm a little concerned about the whole issue of sexualizing teenagers? I live with it every day.

And I could tell you stories to curl your hair.

5/07/2008 6:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


so if the picture was of a 10 year old, you would still be ok with it? What about a 5 year old? Although not illegal, Im guessing a huge majority would find them all inappropriate. Its a secuctive photo, where as a swimsuit is acceptable, everyday attire. Now if a 15 year old wore a swimsuit and also made seductive posses, then the same standard as above would apply. Pretty simple to understand.

5/08/2008 3:19 AM  
Anonymous GMC70 said...

Who are we kidding here?

The whole point of this photo was to the get the media clucking in disapproval. This was nothing but a campaign to introduce Miley to "adult" roles, and ween her from the Disney image. Daddy and Annie KNEW what the reaction would be, and were counting on it. The reaction was no more unexpected than the reaction to Janet's "wardrobe malfunction." That stunt revived Janet's moribund career; this little incident is intended to launch the next stage in Miley's career.

And the media bit, right on cue.

This was a planned career move, and the media played its expected part. It gave Miley the publicity she and her handlers wanted, in an "adult" setting.

Congratulations. You've been used.

5/08/2008 8:48 AM  
Blogger les said...

Jebus, when will this culture acquire some personal responsibility? Why is Miley, or Annie Liebowitz, responsible for the viewer's response? If you (or that other hypothetical viewer) are provoked, aroused, offended, whatever, it's your job to deal with it. There's nothing overtly sexual about the pose, there's no naughty bits; and people leap to statutory rape and evil influences. It's all "OMG where's the burqa!!!" Are we supposed to join Ashcroft in draping the (gasp) naked bosoms on classical statuary? Or the desert herders who diaper their goats?

5/08/2008 10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I presume you were in the ICU with your mom? Please know that we're keeping you and your family in our thoughts and prayers.

I was curious about the photos but was confident, cheapskate that I am, that I'd eventually see them on the web and save the $$$ buying the magazine. However, seeing the cover with RFK touting vf's insight on that epic political campaign, the political junkie in me likely will go out of my way to find a copy.

Should I show the photo to my three pre-teen daughters??!!

5/08/2008 8:55 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Even if we are being used (which I think we are) what is on the front page of mainstream publications does serve as a role model.


I have a daughter slightly younger and my advice to her is generally, on judging and and anticipating the ramifications of her actions:

-- if everybody did it, would the world generally be worse or better off?

Simple common sense rule, really.

5/08/2008 9:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If a fifteen year old girl gave birth, Dan, there was a statutory rape.

Why would a fucking lawyer care about that?

5/13/2008 5:59 AM  

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