The buzz over the seductive picture of 15-year-old Miley Cyrus is a story about
In the beginning, Miley Cyrus really was the good girl. She was fresh, young and
wholesome, much to the delight of Disney, the bean counters who drooled over the
Disney coffers and the millions of young girls who watched her popular show.
But time passed and being fresh, young and wholesome grew tiring. The challenge of
standing apart from the masses became less a badge of honor and more of an
albatross. Who wants to be good when being bad is the new good?
Miley quit. She quit being original in exchange for the sameness of the teen celebs
who have gone before. She swapped out innocent and fresh for the hard look of used
goods. She joined a legion of other confused teens slinking down the path with the
signs marked Vamp.
She quit long before the Vanity Fair photo shoot. Her self-respect quit when she
began posting pictures on the Internet, pictures like the one showing her kissing
another girl, the same kind of picture 5,000 other girls have posted in their quest
to be different.
Her brain quit when she posed for pictures exposing her bra (that's how all your
great women of note get their start, right?) and snapshots of her scantily clad body
draped across her boyfriend.
I use the word boyfriend loosely the kid looks to be about 12 and has a
deer-in-the-headlights look. It is a look that says he is frightened at the sight of
all that flesh or he hears his mother calling.
Miley's parents quit, too. No thinking parents leave their 15-year-old daughter with
celebrity photographer Annie Leibowitz. She's hardly Norman Rockwell. Leibowitz is
known for posing her subjects naked and half-naked.
Leibowitz quit, too. How much easier to do the cliché, as opposed to something fresh
And don't give me the line about it being art. It's soft porn. Kids with a can of
mousse, a box of 24 shades of eye shadow and a digital camera make these same tawdry
images every day.
But back to the parents: Surely someone noticed something askew. The over-the-top
makeup, the cunning pose, the plumped lips, the forced pout.
Didn't anyone hear a siren? A distant car alarm? The soft tick of a small studio bomb?
But the parents left before the shoot was over. A lot of parents leave when the kids
are 15. They don't leave physically, but they quit parenting. It's too hard. The
challenges are too tough, the encounters too intense, the arguing too loud.
It's easier to walk away. Do what you want, here's a credit card, make your own
Perhaps Miley's parents knew that if they stayed, they'd have to say no.
It's hard to say no as a parent these days. No to the party, the coed sleepover, the
questionable friends, the provocative clothes, everyone else's mother, the celebrity
photographers, the magazine editors.
It's easier to quit.
We've all quit at something some time or another.
If there is anything good about quitting, it is this: Once you survey the wreckage
and gather your thoughts, you can always get up and try again.