Tales From Abroad

Tales from abroad…actually, some questions from a broad.

So, I guess the made for TV artist formerly known as Hannah Montana acted like some coked out stripper on television, and now there is a world-wide snit tsunami going on about it. I’m curious as to why.

I’ve read the open letter to Miley C. from Sinead O’Connor and then the response to Sinead from Amanda Palmer. Both of the letters were beautifully written, very loving and compassionate in intent. Now, both of these women, Sinead and Amanda, are fucking brilliant. Totally anti establishment, as far as what women in the music industry are supposed to look and behave like. Outspoken, wise, non-commercial and unconventionally beautiful…basically they have chunks of the status quo in their poop…. and women are hopping all over THEM now about this. Again, what gives?

I only understand the furor insofar as whenever a pop culture zeitgeist hits the common consciousness, EVERYBODY has to chime in (ahem…as I am doing here), but understand, this is a partial rant, partial plea for clarity. I’ve heard and read a lot of name calling, slut shaming and saw some mean, dickish responses from Ms. Cyrus herself, but I’m on tour right now, have been for weeks, (presently in Germany), so I’m just playing catch-up here.

(PS, very few Germans knew a whiff about Miley Cyrus until she air humped that tool….and later a hammer…so there’s that.)
If I’m remembering correctly, this whole twerk thing started around the same time Assad got busted for using chemical weapons against his people, (as opposed to the much more acceptable, humane mortar, shrapnel and comfy cozy bullets he was using genocidally before) but everyone, I suppose, was so relieved when Vladimir Putin stepped in and said, “Hey gurl, I got this” that we could all, collectively, go back to flipping out about M.C.’s skinny, free-for-all-to-see ass and GODDAMMITT??!!!

Can’t we just let her find her own way? I get the feminist ire. She’s getting a ton of attention for acting like a douche and is proving herself to be a bratty little asshole about it, but all the fury, condemnation …even cavalier predictions of her death are beneath us. Or are they?

We have always been inundated with young hot girls seeking easy attention with their bodies…. but why is there such a collective gasp of disbelief when a chick rips her clothes off in an artless “LOOKIT MEEEE!!!!” move? Does seeing them have some lycanthropic effect, like a werewolf bite? Where you lose total control of your faculties, cut your jeans into a thong, whip your tits out and go all bukaki crazy, shooting selfies while having three-way sword fights in your mouth?
If you’re pursing your lips at that last sentence, thinking I’m a pig…then no. No, you are not thusly affected by over sexualized images of young girls in the media…other than being disgusted. But some girls are going to do that. They just are. I know I totally did.

Not the sword fight selfie thing…but you get it. Hi, Dad.

Disney Corp. has always taken young, pretty girls, and let them bud into hot as balls young women in front of us, and WE are TOTALLY supposed to notice how achingly gorgeous a woman they are developing into, but they, oh no…THEY have to keep that shit to themselves and are forbidden to own or understand it. In. No. Sense. We can fan ourselves, licking our lips over their jail bait-y blossoming, buy all their soft core kinder porn pencil boxes and back packs and crap, but shame on YOU, Slutty McSlutterson if you figure it out, and actually DO what we fantasize about you doing in our heads, with your sugarplums et al.

Older folks presently yelling at their screens, remember The Mickey Mouse Club? Annette Funicello? Did you just remember her boobs and how they made you feel? Uh-huh. YOU shut up.

Madonna ran the exact same kind of amok with her hotness (granted she had better choreography) and “BOY TOY” was a young Madge badge of honor. Though we all know very well she was more pimp than plaything… still is. But there’s more fist pumping, ‘You GO Girl’-ing at Madonna’s ownership than Miley’s clumsy first run at her sexually independent image. Why? I’m not being self-righteous here, I’m genuinely asking why.

Doesn’t it make sense that MC went all balls out bananas once out of Mickey’s white gloved grip? I mean, it seems to be having the desired effect as far as she’s concerned. But the reactionary raging is what has me scratching my head.

I would love it if we channeled the energy into pushing more badass women into the spotlight instead of spewing our rage onto these half naked girls and then on to each other about what’s wrong with us and our opinions about these girls. Women spend more fire, it seems, fighting against and devaluing other women than being constructive or solution oriented.
The best way to get a kid to do something is to scream at them NOT to…and yelling at someone is the most effective way to get them to stop listening. I realize we are mostly disgusted by the constant exploitation of young hot things, as opposed to shaming the girls themselves, I mean they barely know better. But the way women are shredding each other on this topic reminds me of a scorpion stinging itself to death because it’s too hot.

But maybe this isn’t even about women or girls specifically, maybe the furor is misdirected anger about our celebrity culture. It should be, anyway. We have really gone down an ugly weird road with fame and celebrity in this society. Kids say more and more they want to be famous, not for anything in particular…just famous. Of course it is a crying out just to be seen… and loved, ultimately. We can blame any number of entities, but you can’t un-ring that bell.

Child celebrity stories, especially, seem to end badly… more than half the time. We’ve all seen it again and again, and we all watch with baited breath and a bag of chips. It’s easy to feel bad for a sad and lonely child….but a sad and lonely RICH AND UBER FAMOUS child? Fuuu-huuuuck them! Those beautiful, seemingly enviable lives, box office gold and multiplatinum record sales…YAWN. Talent schmalent, the REAL excitement happens when these young stars start to circle the drain. Remember young Justin Bieber? No one could believe the talent of this kid, discovered by Usher when he was so young he still had vagina bruises from being born. Now the kid isn’t even 20 and everyone is hoping he ODs and goes away. There were death pools on Britney Spears when she was losing it, and everyone seems to have such a rock hard judge-y hate boner for Lindsey Lohan. Does excoriating these kids somehow purge us of our own bullshit? Can’t we collectively get as horny for something positive out there?

People love to snicker, laugh and judge drug addicted and emotionally disturbed celebrities. There are entire industries based on tearing down famous people, gunning for a train wreck. (So much so, a huge part of the TV industry has just shrugged and said “Fuck it! Let’s just FIND train wrecks and make THEM celebrities!” but that’s for another rant) It’s all fun and games, that is, until one of them actually dies… very publicly. Then there is a sweeping hush….”Isn’t it SO sad…tsk-tsks..” out of the same lips, that days earlier had run red with witty barbs shredding them.


Would you smirk and say I told you so? Would you feel great about being right, or would you, maybe, wish she had had a chance to redeem herself in your eyes, or…what? Would you feel anything?

Think back to something funny you heard or even said about Michael Jackson before he died. Anna Nicole Smith? Amy Winehouse?

Again, this is a human condition questioning, not grand standing. I too have caught myself grinning in schadenfreude when the seemingly mighty fall… or fuck up royally. But these kids are not mighty, some are talented, sure, but mostly, they’re just beautiful things being sold to us. Sometimes so beautiful, it’s hard to remember there’s a heart beating in there. But there is.
OK, back to Miley-gate.

It’s impossible to understand and therefore have compassion for someone who has only been filmed, made, dressed and dolled up, told where to sit, stand, how to laugh, talk, behave, behave, behave, for their whole young lives…and for the whole world to see. They’re paid obscene amounts of money, partly for their ability to sing and act, maybe, but mostly, they get paid for doing what they’re told to do. Then, when they’re out in public they’re inundated with shouts of: “YOU’RE AMAZING!!! I LOVE YOU!!! OH MY GOD YOU ARE SO BEAUTIFUL!!! I WANT TO BE YOUUUU!!! Along with packs of people, everywhere, chanting their name over and over.

I’m not a gambler OR a psychologist, but I’ll bet it’s a mind fuck.

So yeah, Miley was decidedly un-elegant in her performance with that ass grabby guy on that show. But can’t we allow her some twerking room to try and figure out who she is? She can’t pretend she isn’t already world famous for being Hannah Montana, a cute plucky pop star, shenanigan-ing her way through a made for TV life. She’s only just started to break free of the restraints of being too young to know better, (and, clearly, she STILL doesn’t know better, but it seems to me she’s trying at least.) And if her cunty snark attacks against even her well meaning nay sayers continue, and she proves to be just another talentless overblown assface, then fuck her. Don’t buy her shit, change the channel and forget about her, she’ll go away.
Meanwhile how’bout we move on, take it easy on each other, and try to not buy so much into all this judger-tainment. Her twitchy little butt has gotten everyone up, so let’s take some windex to our glass houses and look at our own butts, too.

PPS…Though folks in Germany now know who she is, they don’t think she’s all hashtag amazing, adorbs, or talented…they’re just amused.

With love from Berlin,

25 thoughts on “Tales From Abroad”

  1. I feel like haters are just gonna hate, and I don’t think she is doing anything douchey! She just doesn’t apologize to the status quo who can’t see her as anything but Hanna Montana !
    I really thought sineads letter was very pompous and snarky,
    Miley was great on SNL !
    Her satire “we can stop” was fucking hilarious !
    (Perhaps the best piece of political satire to come out all year) her music ,we can’t stop is an beautiful pop tune
    As is wrecking ball.
    And the videos are great!
    Miley has worked it like a pro
    And has achieved at 20 what most artists will never achieve..
    Which is to be both Famous and Infamous … To be loved by the right people and to be hated by the right people….
    “Remember only God can judge ya forget the Haters cuz somebody loves ya”
    Rock on Miley !
    Wilson Gil

  2. I swore I’d never have TV again after seeing a tabloid show tear apart Britney Spears at her lowest. I had never thought about her one way or the other before, but I cried for her, and her kids, and how these gleeful bullies’ words had been immortalized, and I was so relieved for all of them when she survived. Maybe I’m touchy because of the people I have lost to suicide, and drug overdoses, but I can’t find anything entertaining in a person’s downfall.

    If any one of us had been under scrutiny from age 16 to 22, blood-sucking paparazzo could probably find a thousand things over which to drain us dry. I thank the proverbial god that camera phones weren’t around when I was young, so the memories of my indiscretions will die with me.

    Miley is practically still a kid. She’s never lived in the “real world” as most adults know it, she’s still being told what to do much of the time, and her decisions are a reflection of the very weird life she has lived. Can we not both empathize when she does something crass, and celebrate when she does something smart? I don’t think I would be any more refined or decorous an adult than she is, had I lived her life.

  3. Nice ‘rant’! I think the whole Miley thing is blown out of proportion. Did I think she looked like a ho on MTV? Sure, but I’m 50. And yes, I am now my mother…and she would have thought I looked like a royal twat if I’d done “a Miley” at the same age. So yeah, she’s famous, what she did, she did on TV in front of millions of people. That’s the downside of fame. But it is sad that so many jump on the bandwagon and trash people for every little thing they do. If that had been me, maybe 10 people in a bar would have seen me crotchgrind the lead singer in the band. My mom would have been MORTIFIED. But no TV or audience would have given a royal crap (other than maybe to laugh a me). Celebutants just have way too much exposure these days, so more people can judge them. And isn’t judging OTHERS fun?? Saves us looking in the mirror. ;-) Storm, LOVE your ‘rant’. :)

  4. I agree with you. I fail to comprehend how this incident (teenager goes off the rails in public, never have I HEARD of such a thing!) would make such waves. The media coverage actually gives me the impression that it actually is somehow up to par with the significance of the US essentially not having a government right now, a Syrian megalomaniac murdering his own people, and – relevant because I am German – our own government not being entirely sure of how to actually govern the country for the next four years. Something must be majorly wrong with our media, or perhaps with our society as a whole. People keep talking about how Miley Cyrus is losing it, with Sinéad O’Connor – as much as I respect her – not exactly calming the frenzy by being all smart and wise about it. She might have known that being all grown-up and smart and giving lots of good advice would not exactly sit well with a pubescent teen.

  5. As always Storm,you have a way of putting things into perspective. Ya, Miley’s a tad out of control – but who wasn’t at that age. I remember the things I did when I was finally able to break free of who everyone thought I should be at 29 (ok, I was a bit of a late bloomer) but I had to do all that crap to find out who I was. She’s just doing it in front of the world. She won’t be like this in 10 years and in 20 years she’ll be someone else. She’s not hurting anyone but herself and really, it’s no one else’s business!

  6. Great piece. Well said. Personally I am a 50 something year old who loves Miley. It took guts to burn her old image and reinvent herself. She’s young and figuring it all out, but she is mighty talented. Brava!

  7. hank whitsett (@hank24)

    nicely said storm. i’m a late-to-the-party (red cups and sweaty bodies everywhere) miley fan who sees her behavior as late adolescent severance/rebellion that most all of us humans (of any time-frame) have a psychological NEED to present. you did it. i did it. and you summarized it very well!

  8. I think it’s ironic that everyone is hating on Miley for her silly/sexy/child/woman/tongue-licking/weird finger dance routine but no one says a word about Emily Ratajkowski, the nude woman with Robin Thicke in the Blurred Lines music video :
    She got a great acting job in a Ben Affleck movie by using her sexuality. Miley has worked since she was a child and now is expressing her freedom and excitement in being a sexy woman. It’s not a new story for Disney and other child stars we’ve seen act out. But the public is so judging of her. I think it’s because she came into America’s living room through that TV show and people think she is a part of their lives. What a double standard.
    By the way, I love your writing!

  9. True.. But –I don’t know if you remember Ari Up of The Slits (punk band from the ’70s). She once said that Madonna was signpost to a bad road for women singers to follow. I think what she meant was Madonna as an act was more about the first letters of he word “talent”–T&A–rather than any actual talent she had as a singer. And I’m afraid that’s the downward road many women singers have followed since then.

    We’ve gone from her to Britney Spears (a total jailbait act, and not much else) to well, Miley Cyrus, whose performance at the VMA awards was less erotic than just flat-out trashy. What bothers mes, 40 years after the feminist movement, is that many women artists are perfectly willing to put themselves out as sex objects–the skankier the behavior, the better–rather than being judged on what real talent they have.

    I kinda miss the old days of punk (WTF, I’m a geezer now), when for a moment guys and girls were on an equal footing, and women didn’t HAVE to be sex object,s and just flat-out said what they felt about what was going on (props to ya, Alice Bag) . Yeah, there’s alway going to be sex and sexy in popular music, but when it seems to be the be-all and end-all for so many women in music, and not much else, it’s pretty sad.

    My man Richie Havens once said , talking about these times, that America has gone back to the 1950s. An d y’know what– for women artists , in some ways, I think he’s right. You can be Marilyn Monroe–oh, or maybe Betty Page–,but for God’s sake, don’t let people know you have brains as well as boobs…

  10. Miley Who? Some people in the entertainment industry are ‘products’ whilst others are ‘performers’. Though not necessarily mutually exclusive, the difference between the two can be summed up in one word: talent. A product may titillate you for a moment but a performer leaves you with a lasting satisfaction, a warm feeling and a desire to repeat the encounter. I am looking forward to seeing you perform again in London next week.

  11. Mom-of-a-teen-girl

    I took my daughter to see Miley when she was the 2nd act with the Cheetah Girls (another Disney creation). Her show was probably in the 2nd season or so and she really hadn’t broken through yet. When she came out and started singing and dancing her heart out I remember thinking, “Wow, she is working really hard! She has put in a ton of time to get to this place… And she isn’t bad…”. Who of us worked that hard in the spotlight at such a young age? As I watch my daughter gently shuck the behaviors she’s used to and try on new ones, I’m thankful she isn’t doing it in front of the whole world. Yes, Miley asked for at least part of this life, but still… Here’s hoping she pulls it together and finds happiness. And thanks, Storm. You rock as always! See you at the Thanksgiving show!!

  12. Storm–This is a f-ing awesome post. Your perspective and your opinions on this–spot on. All of it. And your writing–so good. There were parts (especially one) that were very moving! Who would think such a topic as this would touch me like this. But it does, did. Thank you for the clarity. I agree with Chris, you ARE the shit.

  13. Why are we still talking about it? Because it really was THAT bad. Once you see Miley’s VMA performance, you can’t unsee it. But I agree, we are having the conversation about the wrong thing. This isn’t about Miley coming of age sexually. We should be talking about why we allow oh-so-recently-and-still-in-our-minds-little-girls to act out male fantasy porn scenes onstage. I am all for women owning their sexuality in some super positive and even some fun slutty ways, but this performance wasn’t Miley being sexual — she wasn’t feeling the music or dancing sexy, she was awkwardly performing moves she’s been told are sexy as if she were a trained dancing bear in a huge corporate circus. (Extra points because there were actually bear “costumes,” ) Let her find her own way? If only the sexploitation machine would let her…

  14. Well said, Storm.

    Miley announced: “From this day forward, I am no longer Hannah Montana, so don’t ask.”

    Plus she added a fresh word to the common tongue.


  15. Thank you, Storm Large, for your perceptive commentary. Everybody is unique and there is much “constant craving.” As we age we do it more appropriately, maybe receiving just a frown or two or a raised eyebrow on occasion.If we’re lucky. And amongst friends. Thanks for the reminder.

  16. Danielle Reddick

    Kudos, Storm! Poignant and hilarious as always. And once again, spot on in your observations and opinons, on the trials and tribulations of our whackadoo society. It’s like we’re all watching some celeb driven, ‘Hunger Games’. Throw these kids out into the wild, and see who survives. The overexposure by the media, makes it like a bloodsport. I liken it to the gladiators and lions of the Roman Empire. They cheered their gladiators, until they got bored of them, or no longer held them in favor, and then they cheered the lions to tear them apart. The animals and the stage may be have changed, but the feeding frenzy is the same. It may not look EXACTLY the same…it’s not identical, casualty to casualty. But history does repeat itself.

    Let me preface my next paragraph by saying I don’t have tv. I’m down to Netflix streaming and DVD’s for entertainment. So, I didn’t see the show. What I know of ‘The Performance’ is what I’ve gathered from clips on my laptop, and bits of clips I’ve seen at other places.

    My take on, Miley. Would I have worn that outfit on national tv, as me, now? Hell No! Would I have worn it as Miley, at age 20? Hell Yeah! Would I have danced that provocatively on national tv, as me, now? Hell No! Would I have danced like that, as 20 year old, Miley? Hell Yeah! There is a big difference between what a 40 year old will do, and what a 20 year old will do, and rightfully so. At 40, we made those wild choices in our 20’s. We’ve done the walks of shame. We’ve checked all of our limbs, and said, oh wow, that was really stupid, I could have been killed. We’ve done things that made us cringe, and turned our cheeks 5 different shades of red. And thank god we did, because it gave us the experience and hopefully the humility to then raise our own children, or look kindly and with understanding on other children, as they grow and find their way. You earn your wisdom. How do you earm it? You do all the crazy shit, when you’re young enough to have the balls to do it, and when you’re bodies are able to bounce back and recover. haha.

    As I see it., Miley has lived her whole life in front of the camera, and in front of large audiences, she was doing what she knows…entertaining. In this case, expressing herself as a young, sexy, independent, free woman. She was also, shattering that innocent, cute-as-pie, Hannah Montana image, & opening the door to a whole new career as so many other have before her; Elizabeth Taylor, Jodie Foster, and Dakota Fanning to name a few. Because let’s face it, if we still think of her as, Hannah Montana, while she’s cast in a movie, where she’s riding some dude like she’s about to win the Kentucky Derby, how much would that creep us out? The little girl image has to be broken. Now, was this the best way to do it? I don’t know, but it had to be done, this is Hollywood 101. We can’t have it BOTH ways!

    That being said, you also don’t have to like it. But shut your pie hole about it, if you don’t. It’s not for you. Fine. Leave it at that. We all don’t have to chime in, and have a shit fit ,every time we don’t like something, just because Twitter and Facebook give a place to unleash our annoyance. Leave the bashing, name calling and gutter crawling to those who love to wallow in it. I swear to god, Harvey Levin, of TMZ, about creams himself every time a celeb starts to spiral out of control. It’s like a present from little baby Jesus, for him. That kind of crap, we can do without. We’re all better than that. We’re, Storm Large fans, for cripes sake!! ;)

    Storm, thank you for this blog, and for giving a voice to the negativity that seems to be running rampant. I’m not innocent either. I’ve made some comments over the years. Not because I had any ill will towards whatever given celebrity, but because I was being a smartass, and going for a laugh. (I watch too much stand-up). I hear what you’re saying, and I feel that the media needs to back off, and we need to do a better job at keeping our own energy and thoughts in check. We reap what we sow, and we are the thoughts in our head. Thanks for the reminder, Storm. Love you, and wish you well. (hope you’re over the crud you picked up on your tour)

    Lots of love, and come home soon!! Portland needs you! :)

  17. It’s a hard knock life. Celebrities are some kind of the chosen ones – smaller part of a population, and that larger part look at you – sometimes with love, sometimes with lust, but also with jealousy, and that ugly sister of frustration’s can made you a hater. And most of the talented celebs are victims of their own success. They wanted to be loved, visible, desirable… but people in their own small worlds want to be like them and they think that they have only two ways – to love or to hate that young, sexy, spoiled, and rich girl. “She has everything, and she don’t deserve it “. We give ourselves a right for a judgments “right” or “wrong”, just a “black” or “white”, nothing between. The truth is that there is something more, there is a whole palette of shades. We don’t have to like Miley, ’cause we are the master of the remote control, we can switch the channel and be happy. I don’t like her music, and lately behavior, but what the hell, I’m not 20 year old, beauty with that talent and helpful family. Who can swear that in her place he/she would be shy, modest and humble? This is a fu*&g tempting when you are on the top, when your fans make you feel like a goodness. I know what the Sinéad want to say in her letter, she was in that place, she just wanted to warn Miley, but sometimes you have to make your own mistakes to learn. When you play a rebel you will not listen “older auntie”, even if you know deep inside that she is right. Truth is, that the sex is always a bestseller – it was, it is, and will be, and the celebs are some kind of marketing products, their names are valuable brands. Entertainment Industry know that well, and it want to sell us this product in best way. Does Miley became a victim of this industry? We don’t know that yet, we will see. Maybe she is strong enough to handle this for long time, to extract some value for herself, and not to be misleading and not to feel used. Meanwhile we should make our own life a little less frustrated, and sometimes look at those risen or fallen from the other side, with a little empathy or pinch of salt. We should always look for the shades of grey.

  18. I agree with your witty and perceptive analysis, Storm! The one thing I add, however, is my problem with Miley is she has a mediocre voice, and derivative material, yet she has risen to the top of the pop charts. Kids who listen to her want to be like her without realizing that she is the Cocoa Krispies of the music world. If we still had music education in the schools, I would feel a little more hopeful about future generations ….

  19. Storm, you are awesome! Ever since you did Dramaramama, on Rock Star Supernova I was hooked. I even played your version of “Wish you were here” at my moms funeral. Us 6 foot woman have to stick together.

  20. Hey Storm,

    Poignant commentary, as usual, and loving your writing style, plus that unique perspective from which you can probably understand Miley better than most. Judging others is something I guess we all do, and it’s easy to criticize someone when they pull attention-grabbing stunts like Ms Cyrus has been doing lately. I see it as an intentional way to get publicity, like the recent “Velveeta Shortage” or “Sriracha Crisis”, mainly designed to get one’s name into the NEWS.

    With this said, I do agree with most of what you’re saying, but still reserve the right to have my own opinions on such matters. Miley’s latest album is very good, maybe even bordering on great, and that Wrecking Ball song is beautiful. I see that she didn’t write it, but the performance is brilliant nonetheless. Personally, I don’t find Ms Cyrus to be all that attractive (short, scrawny, no bod to speak of – how can you actually call that “twerking” when she doesn’t even have butt cheeks?), but she certainly can sing, even if possibly auto-tuned from time to time.

    Ok, so yes, let her grow up, but I don’t have to LIKE seeing her in those stupid diaper outfits, sticking her tongue out, and looking like a moron, right? I would be kind of embarassed if I was her Dad, but also understand the rebellious I’m-gonna-be-my-own-person thing. (From what I’ve heard, some of this is also directed toward an ex-boyfriend, but that’s a whole nother story.) Yeah, so do want you want, this is your party, I get it. But I can also say, “You look like an idiot, Miley”. That’s just an opinion.

    In the end, I think she will be judged by the music, much like Madonna and some of the others mentioned above. But wouldn’t you rather be one of the “classy Mouseketeers”, like Justin Timberlake or Christina Aguilera? Why act out like that? And what was that “joint thing” in Amsterdam all about? Probably the publicity again. Ok, so I won’t judge her as a person. We’ve all done stupid things, and now many of us have “grown up”. I wonder what she’ll be like in 20 years?

    Glad the “Stormer” lived through it all and is able to share her brilliance with us and tell her tale. A long time fan and very slight acquaintance, Uncle Ron.

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