Last words on Miley Cyrus, the sordid, pathetic avatar of America’s pop culture

Miley Cyrus is an American tragedy.  By that, I don’t mean that she herself is tragic.  Of course, to the extent that she’s a young woman who’s been utterly corrupted by Hollywood, that’s an individual tragedy.  When I say she’s an “American tragedy,” though, I mean that she is emblematic of that sad state to which American culture has been reduced.

I wrote a couple of posts about Miley at Mr. Conservative and really don’t want to write about her anymore.  However, that doesn’t mean I’ll be so selfish that I won’t share other writers’ fine thoughts about her with you:

Camille Paglia:  “Subversion requires limits to violate. *** Pop is suffering from the same malady as the art world, which is stuck on the tired old rubric that shock automatically confers value. But those once powerful avant-garde gestures have lost their relevance in our diffuse and technology-saturated era, when there is no longer an ossified high-culture Establishment to rebel against. On the contrary, the fine arts are alarmingly distant or marginal to most young people today.”

Victor Davis Hanson:  This brilliant classicist sees a straight line between The Satyricon “about the gross and pretentious new Roman-imperial elite,” and Filner, Spitzer, the Kardashians, Miley, and the myriad other celebrities who demean themselves and who manage to demean us even more simply because we lack the moral decency to stop watching their perverse spectacles.  Thus, Miley knows that, gross though she was, she will profit economically from this publicity.  We may exclaim and express outrage but, en masse, Americans lack the will to turn their backs on her entirely.  If she comes out with a catchy dance tune, all will be forgiven.

Michelle Malkin:  Michelle does a flashback post which reminds us we shouldn’t it blame it all on Miley.  This Southern Christian girl wasn’t born that way (to quote Lady Gaga); instead, a star-stuck father and a corrupt entertainment system turned her to the dark side.  Which gets to my point above that, even as we decry this, we still buy movie tickets, watch TV, listening to music, etc., all of which funds this moral degradation.

Charles C.W. Cooke:  And of course, there’s always a racial spin.  Cooke looks at a crazed black racist at The Nation who tweeted out something that reminds us that, just as to a hammer everything is a nail, to a race obsessed person, everything is a racial attack:  “[Aura] Bogado ranged from the incomprehensible assertion that ‘White is the new Miley’ to the self-parodic confession that ‘Every time I see ‪@MileyCyrus slap that black woman’s butt, I think about the way that enslaved blacks were whipped for white entertainment.’”  “Progressives” — living in a delusional past and hating it, but incapable of recognizing modern reality.


Be Sociable, Share!


  1. Oldflyer says

    I don’t know that many will agree, but I am firmly convinced that we now have a culture of too much too soon.  Child performers are thrust into an environment that they are emotionally not ready to handle.  They are so cute; they are so exploited.  They are pampered, they are revered.  They have every reason to think that everything they do is just dandy.  Hell, we have ample evidence that adults cannot handle the adulation, the privilege, the temptations.  How can we expect children to adjust?
    I rail against such recent phenomena as national televising of little league baseball games and high school football games.  We see the same sort of thing for girls in child beauty competitions, cheer leader and dance competitions, etc.   I wonder what  that kind of notoriety does to young pysches?  People close to me think I am overboard.  l don’t think so.
    There used to be a time to be a kid.  No more.   Kids used to play for fun.  No more. Childhood was relaxed and there was time to let  imaginations run wild.  No more.  Everything is advanced to the point that  It has to happen now, or maybe not at all.  Little people must focus, or be focused.  We now have a whole generation of children who are expected to perform like adults in little people’s clothes.
    The Old Curmudgeon speaks. 

  2. says

    And, Oldflyer, this middle-aged curmudgeon agrees with you.  Certainly depriving children of a sheltered childhood, one that recognizes that they aren’t yet ready for either the benefits or the burdens of adulthood, helps healthy emotional maturation.

  3. expat says

    I agree too, with one difference: Kids previously had more sheltered childhoods in one way. There was grown-ip culture and kids culture, and the latter was uncontaminated by sex and fame. In another way, kids did grow up unsheltered from some of life’s harsher realities. Consider Old Yeller and the Yearling. Even in my teens, music and films emphasized the relationships and broken hearts–not just sex. Parents determined what their kids would wear–not some athlete or celebrity endorser. Children learned how to deal with real life–not the fantasy world they find in shopping malls and films.

  4. lee says

    The two children of famous fathers. What do we expect?*
    I have not see any video of the Miley Cyrus thing, but I saw a couple of stills of it, read the song lyrics, and saw the photo of the Smith family. And even without seeing any dancing, I can say this was a major display of EXTREMELY, PROFOUNDLY BAD TASTE.
    The song lyrics are AWFUL. On oh so many levels. Just bad lyrics even BEFORE you look at the disgusting subject matter. His costume was bad. Just bad. I saw better things coming from undergraduates taking their first costume design class in the theater department. Her “costume” looked like it was done as a joke by someone who lacked subtlety of humor. A plastic flesh colored matching Maidenform set? And a big spongy finger? It’s like someone was going for the “Blow-up doll goes to a basketball game” look. I just didn’t get the point of it. “Trashy” can be done is much better ways. Beyonce did “trashy” at the Superbowl. She pulled off the “working girl” or “Tenderloin Tart with Moolah” look much more, uh, stylishly.

  5. Libby says

    I think Paglia, VDH, Malkin and Cooke cover all the bases of this vulgar display of cultural rot. What’s sad is that Miley’s performance wasn’t all that shocking in the context of what MTV broadcasts every day. These are the people who brought us Jersey Shore, and when MTV or its sister channels actually do show music videos, they are on par or worse than Miley’s routine (just check YouTube for the uncensored version of Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines video – it’s him and two other singers cavorting with nearly naked women). Or Google the lyrics to any Jayz Z, Beyonce, or other hip hop “artist’s'” hits.
    Regarding Miley’s upbringing, Mara Wilson (child actress who starred in the “Mathilda” movie) wrote an insightful article about why so many of these kids go off the rails, and why there is a point where parents lose the power exert any adult supervision (i.e. Billy Ray lost his chance to reign in Miley years ago). It’s just disgusting that we’ve turned these kids’ descent into a spectator sport.

  6. 11B40 says

    I watch a fair amount of South Korean TV, primarily its serial dramas, both contemporary and “historical”. One of the aspects that I enjoy is the decorum within which romantic affairs are handled. There are touches as opposed to gropings. Interactions are primarily vertical as opposed to horizontal. Hugs are serious things. Body parts do not become community property. Relationships develop over timeframes of weeks and months as opposed to minutes or hours. These presentations align much better with my own experiences of romance and how I was taught to conduct myself in such situations.
    Regrettably, the Korean pop/rock music videos that I see in passing seem to be moving in a more libertine and riské direction. The “boy” and “girl” groups, as opposed to the regular bands, seem to be pushing in the American direction. Most of the groups are made up of young, attractive, slim members that, to me, seem almost pedophilic due the the Asian body type. The costuming and “dancing”, even over the few years I’ve been watching, seem to have become significantly more sexualized. All in all, the videos make me glad that young Koreans wear uniforms during their school years.
    As the ancient Romans had their “bread and circuses” during their decline, we seem to have developed myriad forms of welfare and all the sexual circuses of the world in ours.

  7. Mike Devx says

    I understant that this Cyrus woman did something rather profane and shocking – in a deliberate attempt to be shocking.  Well, whatever.  I’m not going to contribute to it by finding out what she did.  No need to say more.  And if someone asks me, I’ll say, “I heard she did something shocking for shock value.  How pathetic.  Next topic?”

  8. Charles Martel says

    I’m not sure that what Miley Cyrus did was shocking in the sense of “that’s just not done by young ladies.” Considering that there are few young ladies left, I don’t think that’s the bone of contention. What was shocking, I think, was how badly and amateurishly she “pushes boundaries and transgresses,” which is the current standard for the worth of art. Apparently the girl sucks at Elementary Epater.
    What’s ironic is that the focus of shock has shifted from sexual immorality to political immorality. Cyrus can commoditize her pudenda till the bored cows come home, and most people will yawn. Nothing original to see here, folks! But were she to come out against “gay marriage,” or defend George Zimmerman, or denounce Barack Obama for the lazy, aliterate nancy boy that he is, the heavens would resound with shock and consternation.

  9. Ron19 says

    Let’s face it.  If Miley Cyrus had done “We’re off to see the wizard” in the style and costuming of the Judy Garland movie, interest in Miley would have been totally dead by the end of the first commercial afterwards.
    Remember the “wardrobe failure” and how much attention it got?

  10. bizcor says

    Hi all,
    It has been awhile since I have posted as I have been straight out busy and simply haven’t had the time. I have been reading just not commenting.
    Regarding this Miley discussion:
    I am the proud father of a very beautiful young women who is just about to turn 30. I know daddies all think their babies are beautiful but standing back as a casual observer I watch as young men vie for her attention. Her mother and I saw her beauty from day one. At the time of her birth I was employed in the radio broadcast profession and her mother in the newspaper profession. We both had connections in various high places and discussed the idea of getting her into show business. You know first, baby products, then moving along, as she grew older, into TV or movies. We had a “Shirley Temple” in our midst. We decided not to rob her of her childhood. Those child actors work awful hours and are subjected to the behind the scenes shenanigans that are difficult for adults to handle much less kids. AND they grow up before their allotted “kid” time.
    We raised her by the rule that pretty is as pretty does. In her teen years, she fell in with a crowd that did drugs and alcohol. One night I got a call from the police department suggesting I come down to bail her out. Her Mom and I decided to do so. It did run across our minds to let her stay there over night but instead we used it as teaching moment in another way. We hired an attorney to help us navigate the court system with the implicit instruction that there would be a punishment. 200 hours of community service was decided which, if completed satisfactorily, the conviction would be expunged. That girl did all of the hours successfully and continued beyond. She is a contributing member of society, works hard for her money, maintains her own residence with her two beautiful dogs, and has a wonderful man (they don’t live together) who treats her with dignity and respect. I would say the man had better treat her well or I would be there breathing fire but I don’t need to because she won’t have it any other way. I need to say here that her mother and I are divorced and were so at the time of the incident fifteen years ago but the two us put our differences aside and came to her aide.  
    As we look forward to her thirtieth birthday she is a happy, well adjusted, conservative (both fiscally and politically) young women. She is not wealthy in terms of money (although she does have a savings account with a significant balance) nor is she famous beyond her circle of friends.
    She sent me a text the other day thanking me for being an involved and loving father. And thanks for not letting be like Miley Cyrus. 
    In another text this same young women said “Dad, what are we going to do?” I said. “About what”?
    She said, What is happening in the country and the world.”
    My response was, “First connect with the Bookworm Room”. Then go to the links she provides.”
    I said Bookworm first then we can ease you into Mark Levin and OH “GOD Forbid RUSH”.

Leave a Reply