Pop Rocks

The Perils Of Adolescence

I'm sure you've been busy with your familial obligations this past week, but just in case you missed the Big News, Miley Cyrus has gone and done it again:

Racy new photos of Miley Cyrus were leaked online last night including a shot of her assistant pretending to lick Miley's breast because, suck it, Demi Lovato, that's why. There's also a shot of her flashing her under-boob tattoo next to Gay Tron - I knew he was real. - and some other dancers which will probably be the most damaging to her fanbase.

I can't be the only one who wonders if Miley Cyrus' fanbase doesn't already know what to expect from the former Hannah Montana and just sort of lets their eyes glaze over every time video of her ripping bong hits or doffing her clothes hits Huffington Post.

Now, I'm not what you'd ever describe as a Miley fan, but I do feel she gets a bit of a bad rap for behaving like most dipshit teenagers. Cyrus' problem, however, is not just the things she does, but the era in which she lives.

Cyrus has an unfortunate double whammy working against her. First off, she was (as Hannah Montana) the reigning pop princess at Disney for a number of years. We somehow managed to dodge the onslaught in my house, but it was hard to avoid the deluge of omnipresent Montana merch. Doubtless the House of Mouse figured on a Kurt Russell-esque career trajectory: innocuous kid roles followed by more adult fare...after a respectable hiatus. And second, she lives in the 21st century.

How much we can blame her subsequent rebellion on perennial punchline of a father Billy Ray Cyrus has yet to be determined, but being forced to perform crap like "He Could Be the One" -- which admittedly makes "Achy Breaky Heart" sound like "Bohemian Rhapsody" -- could push any of us over the edge.

Miley Cyrus is 18. This fact isn't presented solely for the more perverse of the Art Attack audience to feel better about their surreptitious wanking, but to remind everyone how stupid that age really is. In the space of a calendar year, Cyrus has been videotaped performing a lap dance and smoking a bong, and now she's been "caught" goofing around with her assistant and posing next to some gay club dudes. Not a bad run.

I'm not here to defend her career -- that family has a musical pedigree like the Mansons -- but do any of you idiots remember when you were 18? The kind of shit you got involved with? The kid can be faulted for her naivete regarding the obvious cameras recording her actions, but her behavior isn't exactly out of line with typical teenage activity.

Honestly, I'm more disturbed by the fact she sounds like Judy Garland when she talks.

I don't know how "kids these days" deal with it, to be honest. The pathological adolescent need for acceptance is perfectly enabled by the omnipresence of camera phones and social network sites, and they oblige by putting everything out there, somehow trusting that their innocent displays of debauchery will never be used against them.

My generation never had this problem. Oh, we were as stupid as anyone, but we didn't even have disposable cameras back then, and everyone knew to (mostly) behave whenever someone trotted out an actual picture-taking device. Most of my embarrassing snaps are limited to yearbook photos (years 1981 to 1986 inclusive) and two rolls of film shot in Jamaica after high school graduation (and in case any of you who went with me are contemplating any online mischief, trust me when I say...bad idea).

Would I have behaved differently surrounded by Flip cameras and perpetual closed circuit surveillance? Probably not. And honestly, I don't know if it's better that teens are now forced to grind through their awkward, attention whoring years under constant scrutiny.

Certainly older people can be guilty of bad judgment, as the frequent stories of folks getting canned for posting drunk shots of themselves without even bothering to restrict them to "friends only", but the combination of technology and hormonal idiocy can lead to much unpleasantness.

As for my own kids, I plan on turning Amish some time before the oldest turns 10.

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar