Monday, August 26, 2013

Frankenstein's Monster Miley

Picking on Miley Cyrus is only as challenging as falling out of a boat and hitting water. Best I can tell, she’s just a Kardashian with a better singing voice, a Paris Hilton whose home videos just haven’t quite yet made their way out on the Internet. Yet.

But it’s Monday, August 26, and it is literally impossible to visit a single news or social media site on the Interwebs without running across her name. The fact that she flossed her privates with a foam finger and twerked Robin Thicke’s junk is more important than chemical weapons in Syria, the unrest in Egypt, immigration reform or even whatever divisive thing Ted Cruz has said in the last 48 hours.

I’ve got Christian friends and relatives who are on Facebook praying for Miley. Because she’s a “lost soul.” If she knew Jesus, she wouldn’t have her bum all up in Robin Thicke’s business. And she wouldn’t be engaging in #TeddyBearPorn, or whatever is going on there.

I’ve got male friends in their 20s up to their 40s who make jokes on Facebook about how nasty Miley is while simultaneously noting that she is blessed with a Very Special Tongue.

And then there are the people I don’t understand, the ones who say things like, “I feel so sorry for Billy Ray. What a heartbroken dad he must be.”

And to that I must respond, with great passion and conviction: You, Billy Ray, are not the victim; you are the Grand Poobah perpetrator.

Billy Ray is Dr. Frankenstein. He is the anti-hero protagonist of Mary Shelley’s modern sequel, except he’s scarier, because instead of finding a corpse, Billy Ray just took his daughter and experimented with her. He put a couple of bolts in her neck and turned her, gradually rather than through one simple lightning strike, into a girl who makes her money by becoming as over-the-top slutty with a healthy dash of plagiarism from Fiona Apple’s “Criminal”-era pedophilia schtick.

When I see Miley Cyrus, I don’t even know if she’s a real person. She seems more like this vacant soul that has created a “character” or a “personality” in order to make money, and I’m fairly certain that she has no idea who or what she is underneath. Miley wouldn’t want to commit to a fixed and actual personality lest it get in the way of selling more eyeballs.

Then you have brilliant logic -- paid for by Huffington Post, no less -- that suggests we shouldn’t criticize Miley because she, at some point, emerged from a woman’s womb. That’s right. Because Miley is “someone’s daughter,” we shouldn’t be mean.

If Miley danced like that on the lawn of your child's middle school, I'd hope the proper response would not be "don't be mean; she's someone's daughter." And what is MTV but one nationwide middle school, a place where the only people older who go there are David Woodersons of the world.

Please understand, I’m not being a total Tipper Gore here. I’m not blasting all wacky female performers. I am convinced that Lady GaGa might be batpoop crazy, but there is a level of greater maturity and intentionality to her persona, her schtick, than there is with Miley, or Amanda, or Lindsay, and so forth. Same with Madonna and Katy Perry. Madonna was 25 before anyone cared who she was, how little clothing she wore, or what kind of sexual positions she recreated on a bed on MTV. Katy Perry began as a crossover Christian act and sort of gradually unleashed herself as she became an adult and didn’t hit the bigtime until 25, just like Madonna. Lady GaGa was at least of legal drinking age before she broke out.

Growing up under the spotlight is different, and it’s not unlike drugs, which is to say the earlier you start, the more dangerous the substance is to your system, the more addicted, the more dependent. Mr. and Mrs. Billy Ray basically had a crack baby, except they addicted their daughter to fame and attention rather than to any technically illegal substance.

Congrats, Cyrus family. I hope all that money is worth it, because if that was the gamble you intentionally took, at least you can pretend that you won.

For those who believe I’m being too harsh on the parents and not enough on Miley, I eagerly welcome your counterpoints and thoughts.


Daisy said...

I was tired of all the Mikey talk almost before it began, but this piece matches my own opinion closer than anything else I've read. She shed Hannah Montana so it's tine to pick up a new persona.

Anonymous said...

I'm disappointed that you didn't post a song with this post. It isn't like you don't own some of her ouevre. Maybe, like one of her earlier hits said, "She's just being Miley!"


troutking said...

I sure hope she does a concert soon where she performs one of her entire albums!

Good post. Billy Ray deserves scorn for his parents as well as that "hairstyle" he had.

G. B. Miller said...

I think that while the parents bear some of the blame, the bulk of it falls on Miley.

She chose to shed her Disney persona into something far more provocative.

Remember, unlike Britney or Amanda Bynes, Miley chose to become what she is.