Sorry Miley, But Vanity Will Get You Every Time

Let’s first state the obvious. She’s 15. That pretty much ends the debate over the “appropriateness” of the “Vanity Fair” photo controversy involving tween multi-media superstar Miley Cyrus.

Does that mean I buy her I’m so “embarrassed” routine? Not for a New York minute.

So what’s really going on here? Mostly a heavy dose of egomania. Now, I’ll cut Miley some slack, she’s a kid. There’ll be no pass, however, for her nit wit father Billy Ray. Clearly the man is so desperate for his own piece of the spotlight that he’s willing to exploit his daughter to get it. Check that, I should have said further exploit his daughter.

I’ve also got a beef with Annie Leibovitz, and artist I truly respect and admire. Annie, you crossed a line here. I don’t care what you do with 18-plus celebrities, but you can’t take advantage of kids — even when their dim-bulb parents are perfectly willing to let you. That’s the thing Annie, you’re smarter and better than this.

Now, our girl Miley is not naked in the photo — she’s artfully covered. The “come hither” look is the problem, and it’s a big one. She’s 15, with a fan base of kids overwhelmingly younger than that. I’m sure all the smarty pants at ‘Vanity Fair” were laughing themselves silly about tarting up Disney’s squeaky clean goddess, but it’s a cheap shot. For a magazine that pride’s itself on sophistication they’ve taken a ridiculously low road.

I don’t want to turn this blog into a morality screed, but the whole controversy is a valuable teaching point. The Hannah Montana storyline often plays off the “best of both worlds” idea — you know, she’s a regular kid and a pop star. Real life rarely gives you such wide-ranging options. There comes a time when you have to decide what you want to be. Miley hasn’t had that chance yet, and right now she’s getting some pretty lousy advice.

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