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The thoughts and theories of a guy who basically should have gone to bed hours ago.

I know, I know - what's the point? But look at it this way - I stayed up late writing it, but you're reading it...

Let's call ourselves even & move on, OK?

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Gaffe Machine claims its latest victim: Miley Cyrus

OK, seriously? I saw a passing headline on the train this morning about Miley Cyrus posing nude in a magazine, and I couldn't believe it when I saw the actual photo. This is considered a nude photo? This is even considered risque? Or even remotely inappropriate? I realize different people fall at different places on the prude-o-meter, and I mean no disrespect, but seriously - don't we see more of Miley (and just about anyone else) when they're wearing a swimsuit? On a public beach?

What we have here is another manufactured story, churned out by the Gaffe Machine, so reporters can fill their column inches or air time with another celebrity "Gotcha!" Everyone wants Miley to do something scandalous, so they can news catalog her with Brittney Spears and Lindsay Lohan.

Don't believe me? Every news article I read about this so-called scandal contained at least one paragraph that mentioned Brittney and Lindsay. Let's think about this seriously for a minute, shall we? Between the two of them, Brittney and Lindsay have been drunk drivers, on drugs, married and divorced several times, in rehab, involved in legal and sometimes violent altercations with both family members and members of the press, and more. Miley Cyrus posed for a picture by a world-famous, well-respected photographer that exposed her bare back. On what planet is this considered even remotely similar?

The ultimate irony, though, was the quote from Disney Channel spokesperson, Patti McTeague:

Unfortunately, as the article suggests, a situation was created to deliberately manipulate a 15-year-old in order to sell magazines

<smacks forehead> Wow. The Disney Channel is criticizing someone for exploiting Miley Cyrus in order to make money. Wow. Just....Wow.

posted by Brian at 12:08 AM


  • You forget that both Britney and Lindsay were both good Disney girls in the beginning of their careers. Therefore, it is a semi-valid comparison to include.

    - Michael

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:12 AM, May 03, 2008  

  • I've resisted commenting on this non-story because I just couldn't seem to raise enough dudgeon over it to bother. Like you, my thought on seeing that photo was "so?" I don't find it provocative, offensive, or much of anything really. The Girlfriend and I read Vanity Fair and I think we both would've flipped past this shot without a second thought if not for this ginned-up controversy.

    I don't think it's sexy -- indeed, it looks to me like she has bad posture, is too damn skinny, and needs some sun. Some people have said that the smeary lipstick and mussed hair make it look like she just had sex; it looks to me like she just got out of the shower. But then maybe I just don't think much about having sex with teenagers.

    I personally think Miley and/or her dad cynically hoped for some kerfuffle like this as part of a planned effort to start adjusting her image (i.e., move her beyond being "Hannah Montana" and hopefully set her up for a career beyond child stardom), and Disney is having a meltdown because (a) the clock is ticking on one of their biggest cash cows, and (b) they haven't have a very good track record as far as their child stars successfully growing up without making asses of themselves (Britney, Lindsay, etc.) and they're probably afraid that sooner or later people will start talking about that.

    And then of course there's the media, which will do anything to avoid discussing anything that actually matters...

    By Anonymous jason, at 1:06 PM, May 03, 2008  

  • Michael - you're correct, of course, that Lindsay and Brittney were both "good Disney girls" once. My objection isn't mentioning them in this story, it's suggesting that Miley Cyrus has gone down the same road, and is now a "bad Disney girl" just like them. IMHO, that kind of writing is just done to sell soap, and assumes the worst about yet another "Disney girl."

    Jason - Looks like you and I are pretty much on the same page. In the ensuing days (between when I wrote this post & when Blogger finally let me post it....Grrrrrr......), I've seen a few other "grown up" pictures of Miley Cyrus, including some taken with her father, Billy Ray Cirus. Most commentators refer to them as sexy or slutty, but if you ask me, they're just trying to look like rock stars. And like it or not, Miley Cyrus is a legitimate rock star these days, even at age 15.

    By Blogger Brian, at 8:56 PM, May 03, 2008  

  • Actually, if I remember correctly, that pose is reminiscent of the very first Playboy centerfold, which was considered highly risque. In 1953.

    Here's the thing: that picture, were it not published in Vanity Fair, and if were not of a famous person, would probably qualify as kiddie porn in 35 state and federal jurisdictions, the penalties for which would include confiscation of your computer, the threat of a jail sentence, and lifelong membership in sex offender registries. Meanwhile we sexualize teenagers and children all the time in the mass media.

    My guess is that this is a story for two reasons: 1) this dichotomy of how we deal with sexualized teenagers makes for a hair-trigger media response, and 2) among the bible belters who think that everyone who doesn't have missionary married sex *should* be put away for life, this story will have legs in a way that urbanized East Coasters aren't going to appreciate.

    (Which is amusing, as they're the ones with the teenage pregnancy rates, but that's a comment for another day.)

    By Anonymous Jeff Porten, at 4:48 PM, May 09, 2008  

  • No, the first playboy centerfold is here (obviously, NSFW) - Marilyn Monroe. You can see everything but her back - kind of the opposite of Miley Cyrus. If Miley had posed like that, I'd absolutely understand what everyone would be all upset about.

    As for whether that picture is kiddie porn, again I'd direct you to any episode of Baywatch/Melrose Place/Beverly Hill 90210/whatever, where teenagers romp around in swimsuits on beaches. They're showing more skin than Miley is here. Now, maybe those shows aren't all that popular in those 35 states, but porn? You'd have a hard time proving that, I think...

    As I said in the original post, different people have different feelings on the whole thing, but remember - it's those East Coasters (and West Coasters) that turned this into a sex scandal. It wasn't some preacher in the midwest who spoke out against Miley Cyrus or Disney or the like.

    The Gaffe Machine must be fed...

    By Blogger Brian, at 1:51 AM, May 11, 2008  

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