“Hanoi Montana”?

So, I’m not sure why, but the general public seems to have it in for Miley Cyrus a.k.a Hannah Montana. Besides being the daughter of man who has always sported questionable hairdos and made everyone everywhere unwillingly and forever carry in our heads the chorus to Achy Breaky Heart (A refrain which no amount of mental scouring will allay from the dark crevices of our minds in which a hobgoblin such as that lurks.), what is her great sin? She has no control of her parentage anyhow, so being the daughter of Billy Ray Cyrus is in now way her fault.

I know at this point, you must be asking yourself why I feel the need to write about this rising star, let alone rush to her defense.  This is not a subject that I am wildly on fire about.  It is, however, a smoldering heap of embers.  Embers that if poked at, fanned, and give more fuel could become a respectable blaze.

Over the past several weeks I have seen three media indictments of Miley Cyrus: her “revealing” pictures in Vanity fair, her 20 year old underwear model boyfriend, and her apparent hatred for all people Asian because of a photo.

Let’s start with the Vanity fair pictures.  http://www.theinsider.com/photos/1668814_Asian_Woman_Sues_Miley_Cyrus_for_4_Billion

First of all, I don’t see how this is her fault. She is a 15 year old girl.  She has parents.  Her father was with her at the Vanity Fair shoot.  If he thought the photos were to revealing or risque then he should have stopped the shoot.  If you look at the pictures, you see the ones in question reveal no “obscene” body parts.  You’ll also see that she is covered in more cloth than any girl her age at a beach, or for that matter walking down the street.  I’m far More disturbed by the pictures of Miley and her father. As for the content of the photos in question, I don’t find them very scandalous. Over the past few weeks, there have been several news stories of a new rage sweeping the nation’s teens: sexting.  Yep, teens sending naked pictures back and forth over the phones. I’m sure this is what parents have in mind when they say they want their kids to have more than they had. 

Next is Miley’s 20-year-old boyfriend.  Again, I don’t particular view this as her fault.  Where are the parents? Most young girls want to date older guys and find the attention flattering.  Their brains aren’t fully formed, what can you expect? We all know why a 20-year-old guy would most likely want to date a 15-year-old girl.  But shouldn’t Miley’s parents say something about this? The word “no” comes to mind.

So far, I see a young teenage girl with the typical lack in judgement of people of that age. Nothing scandalous. I see parents who are probably more to blame in these particular situations. I expect more from the parents, but not the young teenage starlet for whom good decision making is not only compromised by her age, underdeveloped brain, and lack of experience, but also because of her celebrity status. As if it is not difficult enough to face the normal trials of teenhood, this girl has to do it in a fog of fame.  This world of teen girl fame is populated by such role models as Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Vanessa Hudgens, Hillary Duff, Christina Aguillera, Adrienne Bailon, and countless others.  That is why the presence of the parent for guidance and wisdom is so important.

A few days ago I read a piece on foxnews.com that Miley Cyrus is now a racist. She apparently has disparaged all Asians with a racially insensitive gesture. As it turns out, she and a bunch of friends took a photo (available at the above link) in which Miley and another boy are using their fingers to make their eyes slanty.  Between Miley and this boy sits and Asian boy.  There are four other people in the picture who are all squinting their eyes (no use of hands). To me, the people squinting look more stoned than Asian, or like French Stewart’s character from the TV show 3rd Rock From the Sun. The executive directer of the OCA (a group for Asians that I gather to be similar to the NAACP in function) sees it differently.  He has said that this photo is insulting, mocking, denigrating, and tauting to Asians.

Wow. I don’t see anyone in the photo wearing a shirt or holding a sign calling for another round of internment camps or anything like that That would be offensive. Everyone in the photo looks like they’re having fun and being goofy.  You know, like teenagers are known to do. As a result of this photo a lawsuit has been brought against Miley Cyrus for $4 billion. Now, I’m wondering here if Miley Cyrus was not in the photo and this was a picture on Jane Doe’s Facebook, would the OCA have this reaction? Would there be a $4 billion lawsuit? Of course not.

 One of the boys is giving another boy in the photo bunny ears. Where are the rabbit rights groups? Shouldn’t PETA be filing a suit on behalf of bunnies everywhere becausetheir ears, while large and floppy, should not be a tool of humor used by pretty much anyone who has ever had a picture taken with a friend? Miley Cyrus says that she and her friends were just being silly. Fine. And fine if they weren’t.  Why can’t it be fine to make fun of someone else? That’s what friends do, that’s what people do. As long as it doesn’t get out of hand or exceptionally hurtful, what is the harm? Am I to believe from the clangor over this photo that making one’s eyes slanty is offensive to Asians on the level that the N word is offensive to Blacks (though some feel free to use the term with eachother – but that’s another blog)?  

Can we get a little perspective here? Can we please collectively grow a pair, or barring that, at least a thick skin? Apparently people have nothing better to do.  I have heard more about this “story” than I have about Michael Phelps cozying up to a bong or President Obama’s grab at the national census in 2010.

Michael Phelps committed a crime when he took a hit, and there are pictures to prove it.  I understand eight other people have been arrested in connection with that incident, but apparently not the swim-god himself, he just won’t be able to endorse Corn Flakes anymore. The president wants to move oversight of the national census to his chief of staff – a man who favors using population estimates (known as sampling), rather than door-to-door head counts, which may unfairly skew how district lines are drawn.  Obama was not going to take this step when he planned to appoint Bill Richardson as commerce secretary, this decision comes only after a Republican has been appointed to the position – a Republican who opposes the Democrat favored sampling method of census.

But instead of hearing about groups mobilizing over those issues, we hear about Hannah Montana and a lawsuit that, I’m sure as weeks go on will reach the size of the “stimulus” bill.

This is my plea: Leave the girl alone.  Until she gets busted for something truly abhorrent, I don’t want to hear a damn thing about her except that she has a new line of merchandise coming out.

I’m tired of society creating these stars, building them up and encouraging them only to turn around and tear them down and revile them with twice as much vigor.  It is disgusting our fascination with celebrity. It is more disgusting how we lick our lips, rub our hands together, and gather with pitchforks and torches at the slightest infraction, real or perceived.

Hollywood, and all that term encompasses, used to be classy with the likes of Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn.  Now, it is distinctly classless, utterly devoid of refinement.  With that devolution an interest in celebrity gossip and scandal has risen like a Phoenix from the ashes of yesteryear’s Hollywood. It is somewhat of a chicken-and-egg conundrum. Have celebrities over the years become more and more trashy on their own? Or, has our appetite for garbage  and thirst for tabloid stories created this culture? This is what we seem to enjoy, it would seem that we don’t want people to do well, that we need to tear down those who are successful. People don’t seem to want to create and nurture goodness, but rather destroy anything with a glimmer of goodness in it. Then we like to stand on the piles of rubble and lament that there is nothing left to give us hope or joy.

You may think it is strange how I got to this conclusion from a Hannah Montana story, but if you look around you will see it is true. You will see it extends to other area of life, not just celebrities. The Boy Scouts are reviled for their policies on homosexuals, Wal-mart is hated for its retail success, and let’s not even get into the popular view of Christians. But for all the “wrongs” perceived as coming from these groups, they do far more good. The Boy Scouts turn out fine young men of strong character and moral fiber, Walmart provides jobs and low prices, and  Christians give of their time and money to help people around the world. 

Instead of demonizing and destroying, let’s try to cultivate the good. The lesson here: Get over yourself , find your sense of humor, and go to Walmart and buy a Hannah Montana CD.

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