Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Vulgarity, ahoy

I was in a local department store recently when I seen a 12 or 13-year old girl bedecked thusly:

Short - and I mean short - denim skirt; tank top; large hoop earrings; and enough makeup for two or three adult females.

I stood behind the girl and her mother (I assume it was her mother) for five minutes in the check-out line. The entire five minutes I kept asking and saying to myself: "Why would any f***in' parent let his/her child leave the house wearing that?"; and, "I know why so many old men letch after young girls. Because so many young girls are allowed to dress like 22-year-old club rats."

I couldn't help but think about the abovementioned department store trip when I read the Wall Street Journal's third editorial today. This is powerful stuff:

"Readers with little girls at home don't have to be told who Miley Cyrus is. Their daughters want to be Miley Cyrus. The Disney Channel singer/actress is the star of 'Hannah Montana,' one of the most popular shows on TV. Her latest album is No. 3 on Billboard magazine's bestseller list. Reports estimate that she will bring in $1 billion in business to Disney this year.

"She is also 15. Thus this week's uproar over a seminude photo by Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair magazine. The photo – showing Miley draped in a sheet, back bared, hair tousled, with a come-hither smile – upset countless parents who immediately grasped the photo's essential vulgarity.

"Such ordinary wisdom apparently escaped every so-called grown-up involved in the photo shoot. The sophisticates at Vanity Fair defended the picture as a 'beautiful and natural portrait.' Absent sensible adults, Miley herself stepped forward to issue a statement saying that the now-embarrassing photo shoot was supposed to be 'artistic.'

"Next to what crosses TV and computer screens every day, Miley's photo is relatively tame – save for the fact that Vanity Fair was trying to lower the bar on this stuff to the age of 15. Parents have enough difficulty teaching their daughters how not to expose their bodies in a vulgar way; this makes it harder. If there's good news here, it's that folks in Buffalo, Charlotte or Iowa City are still insisting on cultural norms alien to the elites of Manhattan or Hollywood."

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