This week, the Bandwagon is beating its chest over Miley Cyrus and her "topless" photos. Note the quotation marks. When I first woke up Monday morning and the main headline in Yahoo entertainment news telling me about the controversy over the existence of topless pictures of the 15 year old Hannah Montana star, I assumed that these would be like the Vanessa Hudgens pics that came out last summer where she took nude photos of herself for the private viewing of her boyfriend and they wound up on the internet. But no, these were taken deliberately by a major photographer for a well known magazine, Vanity Fair. When I went to their web site and saw the "topless" picture, I assumed that everyone was talking about something other than this. Because, how do I put this, SHE'S NOT TOPLESS!!!! At best, she's backless. She's not showing anything you wouldn't see at the beach and was, from what they've said, she was wearing a top underneath that sheet that was covering the part of her body that would have to be showing in order for this picture to qualify as topless.
It is a little more alluring than it should be when you consider that she's only 15 and, if you're a columnist or blogger who has nothing else to write about that day, you could fill a few column inches calmly questioning how appropriate it is to portay such a young girl in even a mildly sexual way. But "calmly questioning" is pretty much the exact opposite of what's been happening the past few days. Instead, the Outrage Bandwagon has unleashed its usual stupidity best exemplified, as I said above, by Bonnie Fuller. The stupidity starts right with the first sentence and actually reaches a stupidity climax with the second paragraph:
Is it OK to sexualize a fifteen-year-old if it is in the pages of a high falutin' magazine and her parents seem OK with it? Or is this really not much different from parents in a cult acquiescing to having their teen daughters wedded and bedded?
Yes, Bonnie Fuller, there is a HUGE FUCKING DIFFERENCE between a professional singer and actress taking a publicity photo in which we can see her back and a polygamist cult forcing teenage girls to live as second class citizens in a compound where they are separated from society and be knocked up by men old enough to be their grandfathers.
Fuller then goes on to say that Miley's parent, Billy Ray and Tish Cyrus, should learn a lesson from the parents of Britney and Jamie Lynn Spears. It would have been awesome of Fuller to tell us what this lesson should be. Jamie Lynn, as most of you already know, is the pregnant star of another kids show. Unlike her more famous sister, Jamie Lynn never had any pictures taken of her that could be interpreted as provocative yet she is now a pregnant teen, unlike her sister or Miley Cyrus. I guess the lesson to learn here is that if teenage girls are busy showing off their bodies to cameras, they don't have time to become underage mothers so she should do one of those Maxim layouts where only her hands are covering her breasts as soon as possible.
She then goes on to dismiss the claims of regret and embarrassment made by both Miley and her parents and uses the time tested technique that hack columnists love to use. This is where you ask questions that also serve as accusations since there's no one there to answer them:
So what exactly were the Cyruses thinking? Is it part of the Miley career plan to sexualize her at 15 as a way to wooing an adult audience that will see her as more than Hannah Montana? Are her parents worried that she might never be able to make the crossover? Isn't a billion dollars of Hannah Montana revenue in 2008 alone enough to give the girl a break and just let her be a teen girl?
All that from one picture that showed the same amount of her back you would see if she wore an evening gown and that she and her parents say that they wish hadn't been taken.
So, what does this tell us about Bonnie Fuller? Is she a certifiably brain damaged idiot or merely misguided? Should she quit writing all together or just stop for a few years? Is she doing this because she hates all that is great and wonderful about our world or does she just hate the great stuff while sort of liking the wonderful? I don't know. all I know is that I'm outraged.