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David Poland

By David Poland

The Culture Of The Apolo-Lie

I just saw all this crap about Miley Cyrus and her exposed back and lipstick.
People do know that 15-year-old breasts, while they really have no business being shown in public, do exist, whether covered in a sheet or a t-shirt, right?
Really, bottom line, this tempest in a training bra is nothing but a screw up by a personal publicist who didn’t call Disney to get their input on Miley’s Annie Lebowitz output before this became an issue… that is, combined with the increasing arrogance of Ms Cyrus, whose urges to go more “adult” have been signaled endlessly, especially in her concert tour.
There is a long, long way between Ms Cyrus getting out of cars without panties or indulging hourly shots of the side of her breast in a bikini or taking video of going to second base or whatever the Scum Pack is doing this week and an Annie Lebowitz shoot that includes a provocative image that smartly addresses the question of selling teen sexuality without really including much of it.
But Disney is pissed. No doubt, Vanity Fair heard about it before they went on the web with it and did it anyway, knowing that they would have a must-discuss-Vanity-Fair moment for the first time in a while, and would still have the open door to publish or not publish the photos. (However, people must realize that the actual magazines are likely in the printing process and unlikely to change, no matter what the furor.) Disney, knowing its been played, is overreaching with near-kiddie-porn accusations. And Miley is playing the role of The Innocent, caught between two companies and between stages of maturity. BLECH!
Of course, this is the same infantile stance that America continues to take about The Rev Wright, Gerry Ferraro, rare slips of the tongue by candidates who are on the trail gabbing for hours a day, etc, etc, etc.
Apologies to placate groups that misunderstand – usually intentionally – are an insult to everyone. They are patronizing to the idiots who “misunderstand” because why should an apology matter if the fact is really that important. And they insult the people who do understand by allowing the rug to be pulled out from under the truth.
I’m not saying that there is a TRUTH, but let’s stop being such babies about telling The Truth. Let’s get Gallup to poll pedophiles and see whether they would rather satisfy themselves to Miley Cyrus’ concert DVD or this rather innocent photo in which Miley’s back is exposed. Then, let’s have Gallup poll people who claim to be “regular” but who see the photo as some sort of come-hither image that suggests a hard night of sex with the 15-year-old. It’s those people who I worry about.
The main thing I noticed was that the girl needs to improve her posture.

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116 Responses to “The Culture Of The Apolo-Lie”

  1. Noah says:

    Amen, this brouhaha is ridiculous. It amazes me that Disney likes to pretend its young teen stars are completely sexless. It’s like pretending that abstinence-only education is effective. Teen girls and boys are not only interested in exploring sex, but having it and it shouldn’t be an outrage just because a famous fifteen year old consented to show her naked back in a photo shoot.

  2. doug r says:

    As a father of a 13 year old, my response is “C’mon, put on a bra!”

  3. Eric says:

    A fifteen-year-old can’t consent to anything. Until she is of age, her parents must consent on her behalf. The justification behind such laws is an assumption that children and adolescents are not yet able to fully understand and defend themselves from exploitation, and therefore it is incumbent upon the parents to do so on behalf of the child.
    Where this assumption fails is in the ghastly reality that sometimes it’s the parents who choose to do the exploiting.

  4. brack says:

    She looks like the Joker’s underage girlfriend.

  5. mutinyco says:

    Her back is bigger than her chest…

  6. While I agree the hullabaloo is silly (and is making much more out of “it” than need be) I’m also finding myself more and more grossed out by the sexualizing of underage boys and girls. That photo is meant to look sexy and if you’re saying it’s not, you’re wrong. I also took issue with Gus Van Sant’s sexualizing and fetishising of teenage boys in PARANOID PARK and ELEPHANT.
    Maybe it’s because I’m a new dad (of a daughter as well, doug) but it kinda makes me feel gross when pics and whatnot like this are created.
    I just realized I did NOT feel skeezed out by those other photos of Cyrus-the candids where she’s goofing around and hanging on her boyfriend- so maybe it’s the intent of the picture or moving image that is upsetting?

  7. yancyskancy says:

    Why is it ridiculous that Disney wants to “pretend it’s young teen stars are completely sexless?” They kinda HAVE to do that, because their programming is aimed at tweens and under. This kind of photo shoot panders to, um, let’s say, Cyrus’ older fans. I’m sure Cyrus and her handlers went along with Liebowitz’s approach as a toe in the water toward positioning her for more grown-up roles when Hannah Montana is over.
    I don’t watch Hannah, but the moments I’ve seen didn’t seem to be selling teen sexuality (it seems to be selling sitcom tropes that were tired before I Love Lucy left the air). But isn’t there a fine line between “smartly address(ing) the question of selling teen sexuality” and just plain ol’ selling it? Mind you, I’m not outraged by any of this; the republic will stand. But there seems to be enough disingenuousness here to go around on all sides.
    Full disclosure: I was a story editor for Disney Channel a few years back and wrote episodes of a couple of their shows (not Hannah). At that time, anyway, I think they would’ve been mortified if anyone thought they were exploiting sexuality in any way. I haven’t really been watching the last five years, so I’ll concede that that may have changed.

  8. Noah says:

    Yancy, I only think it’s ridiculous for Disney to do that when they have a sixteen year old star of one of its shows pregnant. And instead of using that pregnancy as a time to acknowledge to its fans that sex exists, they canceled the show. I get that Disney’s market is for tweens and such, but is sex such a dirty thing that fifteen year olds can’t be talked to about it?
    Beyond everything else, the exploitation of young girls in the media is such that I think the worse crime is wheeling out a fourteen or fifteen year old to sing in front of stadiums of audiences and brand her face all over every type of merchandise and have the paparazzi hound her every step of the way. Compared to that, I think a few photos of her back is harmless.

  9. mysteryperfecta says:

    Also, people do know that 15-year-old vaginas exist. How could that be smartly addressed in a pictorial? How high up the thigh?

  10. mysteryperfecta says:

    “I get that Disney’s market is for tweens and such, but is sex such a dirty thing that fifteen year olds can’t be talked to about it?”
    Noah– Are you calling for a “very special” episode of Zoey 101? Spears’ sister’s pregnancy could be an opportunity for PARENTS to talk to their tweens about sex, but I think Disney should stay out of it. Canceling the show was fine; Disney may understand their market better than you do.

  11. mutinyco says:

    I think the real poster child of this right now is kind of going under the radar: Taylor Momsen. 14 years old. Must’ve been 12-13 when she shot the sex scene for Paranoid Park. But she gets away with it because she’s not selling a wholesome image.

  12. Noah-
    You know I like and respect you, but there’s absolutely no way in HELL I want Disney telling kids about sex. Didn’t you ever see their STD spots?
    I don’t know who dubbed those…thats the original script with some yayhoo narrating.

  13. Me says:

    Yeah, I think it isn’t in Disney’s business sense to start talking about sex, nor would most parents who buy what Disney is selling to have the company talking about sex.
    To get back to Dave’s bigger topic, I can respect people who stick to the truth, even when it hurts them PR wise, and always smirk when I see someone apologizing and you know they don’t mean it. But the one that really annoys me is the non-apology, apology. “Oh, I’m sorry if you were offended by what I said.” That’s not an apology, you arrogant jerk! If you’re going to go through the motions to apologize, actually do it.

  14. Noah says:

    I agree with you, Don. I don’t want Disney telling kids everything they wanted to know about sex (but were afraid to ask). BUT, isn’t the whole point of a “family” show to bring up these topics in a subtle way so that the parents and children can use it as a jumping off point to discuss serious issues? By ignoring it entirely, kids are still getting that information about sex…from the internet.
    Mutiny, excellent point bringing up Taylor Momsen who is dressed in slutty outfits and making out with boys every week on Gossip Girl too. But of course, she’s not famous so nobody cares.

  15. Me says:

    Wow, that first sentence made a lot more sense in my head. Please replace “to have” with “want”.

  16. Stella's Boy says:

    I have not seen a Disney Channel show in ages, so I have no real idea what they’re like. However, I imagine they exist in some kind of fantasy world, a la Saved by the Bell. All the kids are wholesome and touchy subjects are (for the most part) avoided. It doesn’t seem like the place where serious issues are going to be addressed.

  17. mutinyco says:

    Yep. She was on the cover of New York last week in her underwear with the rest of the cast and there wasn’t a peep about it in the media.

  18. Berndog says:

    “That photo is meant to look sexy and if you’re saying it’s not, you’re wrong.”
    Don is completely correct. Personally, I do not want my eight year old daughter, who is a HUGE Hannah Montana fan, seeing this photo. The problem is this: Miley Cyrus’ fan base is tweens and UNDER. Fellow fifteen year olds aren’t Hannah Montana fans. They’re too old for this stuff. They’re watching Gossip Girl and One Tree Hill. (Which is a whole other issue.)
    The VF photo shoot was a huge miscalculation on the part of Cyrus, her parents, and her handlers. So was the decision to sing on American Idol while doing, what I consider, somewhat provocative dance moves.
    In the end, Billy Ray has to deal with his kid, and I’m gonna have to deal with mine. And for the moment, anything Hanna/Miley related is gonna be held at arms length in this household, until my wife and I make sure it’s appropriate.
    Which is exactly what Disney prides itself on avoiding.

  19. Joe Leydon says:

    She looks like she’s getting ready to audition for the Pretty Baby remake. Wonder what effect all of this will have on the b.o. for The Hannah Montana Movie?

  20. jeffmcm says:

    I don’t get how the actions of a 15-year-old can be labelled as any more ‘arrogant’ than those of any other 15-year-old girls, who also want to be seen as more grown-up and serious. If there’s blame here it belongs with the parents and handlers, who are no doubt the ones telling her to make up the exploitation story that’s getting peddled.
    Good to see the South Park guys were right again.

  21. anghus says:

    You know, the whole teen phenomenon thing always has a creepy side to it, and stories like this tend to bring that to light.
    Teen Phenomenons have 3 basic fan groups.
    Teens and Tweens
    Gay Men
    Guys who Enjoy Jerking It to Post Pubescent Lolitas hovering around the ‘legal’ age for consensual sex.
    These pictures bring out group #3 in full force, because really, that is who it is catering to.
    It’s such an amateur move. How many teen sensations successfully made the transition into adulthood with their fan base intact? I remember when the same kind of thing happened with Jessica Biel (to more of an extreme) when she did the semi nude pics when she was the family darling of 7th Heaven.
    These kinds of things are always bad moves becaue you alienate the family audience, you dangle the sexuality in front of the perverts who are only around until the next lolita shows up, and the gay
    audience will only love you until something like this happens, then they start to tear you apart.
    The best place for a teen phenomenon to be is huge in the tween/teen world, but generally ignored by the mainstream press. This is where the money and success is. Once the mainstream media gets hold of you, the target is locked and they will slowly begin to tear them down.
    Lohan is a fine example of this. A Disney darling making money and enjoying fame. Makes Mean Girls and gets acclaim. Then she decides to party hard and do a bunch of films to be a ‘serious actress’. We all know how that ended up. Is she better off now for seeking ‘legitimacy’?
    The Olsen Twins were practically billionaires before the mainstream press even cared. Hillary Duff was making mad bank before she tried to go ‘legitimate’ I’m not sure what level they are trying to climb to. And you’d think history would teach people a thing or two.
    This is right out of the ‘How to End a Teen Phenom’s Career’ handbook. Does anyone think Miley Cyrus is going to have a post-teen-phenom career?

  22. Stella's Boy says:

    I agree that the parents and handlers are to blame. As the VF statement said, the photo was taken on a digital camera and they all saw it right away.

  23. Stella's Boy says:

    Didn’t Biel do those photos specifically to get fired from 7th Heaven?
    I’m also not sure what this means: “and the gay
    audience will only love you until something like this happens, then they start to tear you apart.”

  24. anghus says:

    stella, i’m referring more to the Perez Hilton highly vocal bloggers who help keep the gossip mills churning and then turn on those they claim to love with reckless abandon.
    i realize that not every gay person is automatically a fan of teen pop singers. They’re not all all Chris Crocker and Heatherette(or whatever that kids’ name on YouTube was) that screamed ‘Leave Britney Alone’, but there’s a big fan base of teen pop idols made up of gay men.
    There’s a term for the demographic, i heard someone use it a few years ago referring to a large chunk of Britney Spears fans, but i can’t remember how the guy at the label phrased it.

  25. Stella's Boy says:

    I wasn’t insinuating that there is not a big fan base of teen pop idols made up of gay men. I just didn’t know what you meant by the gay audience loving them until something like this happens, and then they’ll tear ’em apart.

  26. Skyblade says:

    Zoey 101 is Nickelodien, not Disney.

  27. RDP says:

    “I only think it’s ridiculous for Disney to do that when they have a sixteen year old star of one of its shows pregnant. And instead of using that pregnancy as a time to acknowledge to its fans that sex exists, they canceled the show. I get that Disney’s market is for tweens and such, but is sex such a dirty thing that fifteen year olds can’t be talked to about it?”
    Zoey 101 is a Nickelodeon show, not a Disney show.

  28. RDP says:

    Damn you, Skyblade and your quicker posting finger.

  29. Nicol D says:

    This is one of those bizarre moments where I really do not have any strong feelings on the issue.
    One the one hand…I do not think the photo is the worst thing I have seen in the world and it is tastefully done.
    On the other hand, I do understand people saying that if Miley is to play the “I was exploited” card, then her parents and handlers have to take responsibility. So too though do the editors of Vanity Fair who designed and comissioned the photos.
    I think this is one of those things where either everyone is to blame or no one is to blame.
    Perhaps the larger issue at stake here is how “Disney style” stardom is not enough for most of the kids nowadays.
    Lindsay Lohan, Jessica Biel, Macaulay Culkin, etc. What we have is a culture where no one wants to be seen as the “good kid” anymore. That in and of itself is not cool. The only way a star can be cool is to be “bad” and smoke, do drugs, have sex etc.
    Now much of that is bullshit as Lohan is about to find out. Had she kept her Disney image, Lohan would probably still be having top hits now. Instead, she is – begging – to go all nude in an idie film for scale that will undoubtedly lower her stock even more.

  30. mutinyco says:

    They’re not being “bad.” They’re being teenagers. Only they have cameras pointed at them and an audience watching.
    The real problem is in the manufactured marketing of these kids as wholesome and perfect in the first place. And the gullible parents/children who buy into it.
    But the idea that teen-marketed stars do things to destroy that image is nothing new. We could go back several generations to David Cassidy’s Rolling Stone cover. At a certain point, these real people start rebelling against this image they’re playing to that has nothing to do with who they really are.
    At least it’s not that Britney/Jessica crap where all they do is flaunt their sexuality, but it’s all right because they’re saving their virginity until they’re married.

  31. LexG says:

    And while the reference is understandable given her aforementioned Gear shtick back in the day, neither her career then or ultimate (rather successful) career trajectory are really comparable. If playing the Lohan card is an inevitability in this discussion, that’s one thing, but including Biel, now a decidedly adult 26-year-old star who “rebelled” while on an Aaron Spelling show is about as valid as chastising Jodie Foster for not sticking to “Freaky Fridays” for the last 31 years.

  32. Nicol D says:

    “They’re not being “bad.” They’re being teenagers. Only they have cameras pointed at them and an audience watching.”
    You are falling for the flipside of the same lie that you critique.
    Are all teens safe and sanitary the way Disney promotes them. No.
    Are they all the way you apparently see them like the kids in American Pie 7. No.
    Most kids are somewhere in the middle. But do not think for one minute that the horn dog teens in films like Superbad are any more realistic than Wally or the Beaver. Both are products of the aspirations of the time.

  33. jeffmcm says:

    I think it’s reasonable to say that Superbad is at least one micron (or whatever the unit of measurement is) more realistic than Leave It to Beaver.

  34. Nicol D says:

    No Jeff, both are products of the aspirations for kids in their times. Both are unrealistic. As for microns…feel free to measure if you like.
    Quibbling over degrees is kind of beside the point.

  35. Stella's Boy says:

    I know guys who talk exactly like the leads in Superbad (sadly they are older than the characters in that movie).

  36. jeffmcm says:

    Well, Nicol (surprise, surprise), I disagree. But I won’t belabor the point.

  37. mutinyco says:

    I’m not talking about average teenagers. I’m talking about the “popular” kids.
    Now, it’s been a while since my high school days, but I can pretty much assure you that a lot of those girls who had ambitions of being “popular,” if they weren’t already fucking by the time they were 16, they had most likely performed oral. At the least, her hymen had already been broken by getting fingered. She had already gotten drunk, smoked cigarettes and experimented with marijuana — probably all in her freshman year of high school.
    Only most “popular” girls don’t have the media covering their every move.

  38. LexG says:

    I was a teenager in the mid-to-late ’80s, and far from “hedonist” L.A., in a flyover town probably much closer to Nicol D’s idealized view of the heartland, and it was still definitely much closer to “American Pie,” “Fast Times,” “Wild Life,” and “Superbad” than whatever aw-shucks Beav fantasy Nicol would spin.
    I can’t imagine that not being the case for, oh I don’t know, ANYONE WHO’S EVER BEEN A TEENAGER EVER. Nicol, in your adolescence, did you or your peers really not at least try your hands at drinking, smoking, ogling, swearing, hooking up, etc? What, just a bunch of gee-golly-whillikers types in horizontally striped shirts and propellor beanies, racing their Radio Flyers and playing football, till they marry their high school sweetheart and move two blocks down from mom and dad to raise their brood, not a concern in the world?

  39. Nicol D says:

    “Now, it’s been a while since my high school days, but I can pretty much assure you that a lot of those girls who had ambitions of being “popular,” if they weren’t already fucking by the time they were 16, they had most likely performed oral.”
    In my experience, the most popular girls were about as “easy” to get to as Fort Knox. They were popular and didn’t have to act like Lindsay Lohan.
    Lex G,
    “…than whatever aw-shucks Beav fantasy Nicol would spin.”
    Sheesh, I guess you really are as big a simp as I have been reading here lately. Read my posts again. I said Leave it to Beaver was – equally – unrealistic and the truth was somewhere between these extremes.
    Yes teens have sex. But not all and not all the time. Yes I have known some teens that were partiers, I have also known some golly-gee Wally Cleaver types who were virgins as they left high school.
    If you did not…then it is you who had the sheltered existence, not I.

  40. doug r says:

    Fast Times at Ridgemont High was based on my graduating year. Things didn’t seem quite like that at my high school, but I think teenagers were always like that. They’re just younger versions of ourselves. I know we want them to stay innocent, but eventually they turn into jaded losers like ourselves.
    Miley is growing up. This is actually a positive forward step for her. If we can’t handle it, that’s our fault.

  41. Tofu says:

    This is, what, the second or third controversial Annie Lebowitz photoshoot this year alone?
    She certainly knows how to stir the pot.

  42. IOIOIOI says:

    This whole photo-spread was a calculated move by a teen-star and her handlers to make her come across more mature. It’s back-fired here in the US because we love to act as if our kids do not have sex, or go through puberty. It’s just silly, but this is how the US work. We are a heaping helping of hypocrites that need to realize that you cannot get on Billy Ray Cyrus for letting his daughter take some photos, that will be less racy then what most 15 year-olds will wear this Summer.

  43. Kim Voynar says:

    Oy. Well, I’m not a prude by any stretch of the imagination. My kids all know what sex is (more or less). My older kids were at the births of their younger siblings. My kids, particularly my 11YO and 6YO daughters, are huge fans of Miley Cyrus, and I wouldn’t want them seeing this picture of her.
    David, there’s just a huge difference between the costumes she wears for her concert, which cover her completely, and this picture. Yes, 15YO breasts exist. That doesn’t mean we need to see a pic of a 15YO looking like she’s just had a night of hot sex. What on earth were her parents thinking? There’s no way in hell I’d let a 15YO daughter of mine, famous or not, famous photographer or not, take pics like that of her.

  44. hendhogan says:

    I’m kinda shocked by the reaction here. And yet, it is so typical.
    To me, the choice isn’t between whether this girl (and she is a girl) should explore her sexuality or remain a puritan. And that’s how a lot of you are coming across.
    I have said this before. Just because something can be done, doesn’t mean it should be done.
    Vanity Fair did this for one reason and one reason only. To sell magazines. That means someone fairly high up the food chain of this magazine thought it was a good idea to put a sexualized picture of a 15 year old girl in. They did this because they think that is what WE, the Public, want to see. I’m offended by that thought. I suspect a lot of people are.
    The should she/could she explore her sexuality is a complete non-issue. Of course, she should. Privately and at her own pace (whatever that may be).
    Have we, as a culture, become so jaded that we find this acceptable? I’ll say it again, because I don’t think it’s sinking in. She’s 15 YEARS OLD. Biel was 17 at the time of her sexy shoot for GEAR magazine (and that’s too young too). These kids have a right to be sexual, but they also have a right to be kids. We all only have so much time in which to be kids. Let’s not push them.
    The magazine should be ashamed. The parents should be ashamed. Annie should be ashamed. The only one who shouldn’t be is Miley (and sadly, she seems to be the only one who is).

  45. leahnz says:

    mutinyco, i must say, that sleezy little description of the ‘popular girl’ getting fingered was more detail than i needed, maybe you could keep the grubby little details to yourself next time. this isn’t blokes in a locker room.
    been thinking about this issue since i read about it in our local paper, and now that i see the photo in question (haven’t seen the other pics from the spread) my first impression is that she looks uncomfortable and out of her element. having been a girl all my life, i distinctly remember how confusing it felt to be fifteen; your sexuality sneaks up on you and you like it when boys notice you, you want to be more sultry and grown up, but you really have no understanding of what that means. i remember one night when i was sixteen getting all gussied up with some girlfriends and going to a nightclub (in spite of being well under-aged), and at first you get in and the guys are looking at you and you feel all pleased with yourself and powerful, and then after a while the guys are leering at you and it starts to feel creepy and demeaning, and that was a good lesson for me. girls get so many mixed messages growing up, it’s a constant struggle to make sure our teenage girls are not exploited and feel valued beyond their physical appearence as whole, healthy individuals, and i think we are failing our girls miserably in that regard. i feel sorry for miley, she’s just a kid, and she looks silly in that photo. somebody she counts on has let her down.

  46. Hallick says:

    When scoliosis met cholera…. To my eyes, 984 of the 1000 words this picture is saying are medical terms.

  47. Nicol D says:

    “These kids have a right to be sexual, but they also have a right to be kids. We all only have so much time in which to be kids. Let’s not push them.”
    I actually agree with much of what you wrote except for this line.
    These “kids” have a right to be sexual? That line frightens me as much as anything written here. If they have a “right” to be sexual then why is it wrong to exploit that if there is consent?
    That is the problem with that line that you included. Again, I agree with much of the spirit of your post, but I found that line quite off.

  48. christian says:

    Anybody that can’t see how creepy this has been watching too much TV or is far too jaded.
    It’s an ugly photo, milking some sort of Lolita complex and that’s clearly the intent. What’s creepier and more revealing is that none of the media/marketing mavens ever considered that the response might be less than stellar.
    And really, this has become the most obvious, dishonest and sleazy way to pimp youth — oh look, she’s not a little girl anymore! She’s almost an empowered sexual being! The same tired card used on every post-18 year old female star.
    I like what Kenneth Anger said about Disney: “The Hitler of youth.”

  49. messiahcomplexio says:

    It’s going to be a good harvest this year…

  50. jeffmcm says:

    To be fair, though, this photo represents not “Disney fascism” (I guess) but an overreaction to it.
    Nicol, I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but I think your last comment says more about you than it does about the issue here.

  51. Nicol D says:

    “Nicol, I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record…”
    Yes. And not a very clever or original one at that.

  52. jeffmcm says:

    You are certainly entitled to your own opinion.
    My point, though, is that the phrase “kids have a right to be sexual” should be thought of to include a range of behaviors, both healthy and unhealthy, not necessarily just slutty posing.

  53. Nicol D says:

    The operative word here is of course…”kids”. What exactly is that inferring?

  54. jeffmcm says:

    People under the age of 18. I don’t know about Canada, but in this country, puberty and a person’s sexual development are pretty well advanced by that birthday.
    I believe we differ in our definitions of terminology.

  55. Nicol D says:

    So you think everyone under 18 is a “kid” who is sexually developed?
    Really? What are you inferring Jeff?

  56. jeffmcm says:

    We are obviously not on the same page.
    I just told you, “kid” means “person under 18”, of which some people (5-year-olds, for example) are obviously not sexually developed at all, and others (say, 17-year-olds) are pretty far along in that trajectory. It’s a continuum.
    It’s like talking to a wall.

  57. Nicol D says:

    No Jeff. I am not a wall. You just – really – needed to clarify that post. It read in a way that I do not think you realized. That’s why I pushed you.
    It read very creepy. I feel better for your clarification. We can now be frenemies again.

  58. jeffmcm says:

    Since Hendhogan’s original post, that you quoted, was about Miley Cyrus and Jessica Biel, I thought the intention was pretty clear. That’s where I was coming from.
    And good night to you too.

  59. Sevenmack says:

    Actually, both Jeff and Nicol, Miley isn’t even a ‘kid’ anymore, based on her biological development; she’s an adult. Nature, after all, doesn’t have a separate category called ‘adolescent’ in which children transition into adulthood; when you start menstruating, your voice deepens or develop breasts, you are, by nature’s definition, an adult. It happens speedily, abruptly and just when the children have finally learned how to be children. There’s no biological transition.
    Unfortunately, because of the abruptness of how children become adults, the emotional and intellectual development of young women and men her age — between 12 and 18 — tends to be far behind the physical development; they are, to use the old term, young and dumb, and if exploited by older adults, full of, well, you get it. Which is why we have ‘adolescence’: The young adults of this age are allowed to learn about their sexuality with their equal-age compatriots, with older adults with more sense and experience guiding them through these challenges and keeping them from those who would exploit them.
    So in essence, young women of Miley’s age do have a right to be sexual; that’s what they are supposed to do. But they are supposed to do it with other young adults within their age range and guided by parents and other older adults with common sense. After all, these young adults will one day become older adults and they need to have an understanding of the joys and consequences of being sexual; relegating them to a ‘child’ status when they really aren’t according to biology, simply infantilizes them.
    The problem here, ultimately, is that Miley and others like her are being exploited by the adults, who seem to get a certain thrill from young sex. Period.

  60. Stella's Boy says:

    So right now Miley is the exact same age Mindy McCready was when Roger Clemens started sleeping with her. Disgusting.

  61. Nicol D says:

    Actually they are not “adults” just because the body matures. Psychology also takes part as does emotional state. Being an “adult” has to do with much more than just sexual maturation of the body. It also includes the mental and notions of responsibility. We are more than just animals.
    In your attempt to correct Jeff and myself, you have made a similar blunder.

  62. Sevenmack says:

    In civilation, Nicol, adulthood is not just about biological development. But we are always captured, in part, by nature and can’t ignore it, even if we want to do so. When your body matures, it matures; you are, by biology, an adult, when this happens. Nature doesn’t really care what you or I think, which is why society is still prone to being ravaged by animals, diseases and disasters.
    But as I’ve said before, Nicol, and if you bothered reading and comprehending instead of simply responding, I’ve also said that young adults mature physically before they do emotionally and intellectually; the biological move from childhood to adolescence is so abrupt that young adults (and yes, I call them young adults; asking them to take on more responsibilities and still calling them children makes no sense) aren’t ready to do the things that their bodies are designed to do. This is why society created ‘adolescence’ (and a recent creation as well; up until the early 1700s, 12 year old girls and boys were generally married or working hard labor, thus becoming adults immediately according to society at the time) — to guide young adults into the rituals and responsibilities of adulthood slowly, thoughtfully, with an understanding that they aren’t to be.
    So Nicol, I didn’t blunder at all. You on the other hand, failed to read and comprehend.

  63. I actually like the photo as it stands. Whether I agree with the position Cyrus was put in is something I’m not really going to get into, but I think the photo has a sort of chilling sadness to it (which probably wasn’t Lebowitz’s goal) and is a hell of a lot more artistically driven and challenging then dozens upon dozens of photos of celebrities dressing up as famous Disney cartoon characters that are so manipulated by computers that you can hardly call them photographs anymore.
    She looks frail and the smudged lipstick does look like a child playing dressups. Perhaps that was the goal of the photo, to allude to a girl – ney, an entire generation – in this world that are having a tug of war between maturity and innocence.
    I’m not looking at her body or anything like that and I’m not looking at this photo as anything sexual, I’m looking at her face and in her face I see something that’s actually quite captivating. Something I had never seen before in watching Hannah Montana or seeing her on the red carpet.
    …but then again, I was a fan of that artwork from a while back that had a cross drowning in urine, so maybe I’m not the best judge.

  64. Sevenmack says:

    Allegedly, Mindy started screwing around with Roger around that age. I’m not necessarily about to believe McCreary, who has spent more time in jail than recording music and thus, lacks much in the way of credibility.
    Oh: And I should have wrote “civilization.” My apologies.

  65. Sevenmack says:

    To continue my previous thought on adolescence: It was a recent creation to thoughtfully and sensibly guide young adults into full adulthood, keeping them away from those who think the young men and women are ripe for exploitation. And it is artificial, as is much of civilization: If we lived solely by our biological natures, we would kill everything we despise, have sex with everyone we desire and steal what we covet. Civilization restrains those negative, animalistic parts of human nature and channels them into other pursuits. Like debates, gory films and porn.

  66. Nicol D says:

    “I’ve also said that young adults mature physically before they do emotionally and intellectually; the biological move from childhood to adolescence is so abrupt that young adults (and yes, I call them young adults; asking them to take on more responsibilities and still calling them children makes no sense)…”
    Oh no, your insecure condescenion aside, you did blunder. You acknowledged the psychological, physical split, but then try to argue one being natural and another being a societal construct. Yes, I am fully aware that young people got married off very early etc. etc.
    But society did not “create” adolescence anymore than we created adulthood. We just understood it better. Oh, we created the word perhaps, but not the concept. We understood that it is – not – just your body that determines if you are or are not an adult, it is the psychological and emotional as well. That is what progression and evolution is, friend.
    What you have tried to argue in a semi-coherent way is that biological adulthood is – only – the body and not the mental and emotional but because the others fall behind, we “created” adolescence as a societal construct. How post-modern of you. No, other cultures that rushed young people into adulthood merely did not understand the full extent to which your body and mind develop at a different rate.
    You need to learn to separate the idea from the language, friend. You seem to be confusing the two.

  67. Stella's Boy says:

    Nicol, do you need a hug? You seem extra cranky today.

  68. Sevenmack says:

    No Nicol, I’m not being postmodern nor am I arguing in “semi-coherent” way. Actually, I think I sound more coherent (and less cranky) than you. The reality is that adolescence is an artificial concept as is much of civilization; look at the evolutionary pattern of man and you can see that there were plenty of behaviors that were rather tolerated then that were later banned (and rightfully so) because of their destructiveness to humanity. Young adults, with bodies untamed by emotional, intellectual and psychological maturity, are prone to some really dangerous behaviors and are endangered by dangerous behaviors of those older than they are.
    Primitive societies and even those of the middle ages dealt with those realities by simply transitioning young adults into adulthood through rituals, by putting them into the field and by marrying them off at early ages. They didn’t address the reality that young adults were less emotionally mature than physically. And they couldn’t; reacting to the biological changes they saw, they simply regarded young adults as older adults and just swept them in. The rituals of those times exemplified that. Modern society — that is, the world since the advent of the Enlightenment in the late 1600s — fortunately saw things differently, realizing that young adults are neither children nor older adults; they need to be escorted thoughtfully into older adulthood.
    You may not want to acknowledge that biology doesn’t acknowledge adolescence — and hey, you may disagree with my thoughts (and it’s your right)– but the fact that sexual development begins abruptly pretty much makes this plain. And to fully ignore thousands of years of the development of civilization simply makes you appear more ignorant than we all know you are.

  69. Sevenmack says:

    And sorry to make this clear to you, Nicol, but ideas don’t exist without language. That’s why we have language in the first place: To clearly and coherently explain that in which we believe. An idea in the ether doesn’t exist as far as humans are concerned until you actually say it or write it down.

  70. Nicol D says:

    Sorry to have bruised your oh so fragile postmodern semiotics ego. Ideas do not exist without language? Does truth exist without language? Physical matter?
    Did gravity not exist before we created a name for it? Did Mars not exist until scientists decided that it did?
    Things can exist in nature (and thus the human body) whether or not we acknowledge their existence and name them or not. The substance of it, still is what it is. As I have said before, adolescence, that mid-range of human development where humans reach sexual maturation but not physical or emotional exists in the human species whether we have a name for it or not. As we progressed in civilization we did not “create” adolescence. We merely discovered humans were – not – full adults based solely on sexuality. As a result people came up with a name for that period. But to say that that period did not exist until it was named is fatuous.
    That you can only end your posts with resorts to cheap insults and rhetoric only reveals more how little faith you have in your own concepts. Perhaps you have not found a name for them yet.

  71. Stella's Boy says:

    Cause high-and-mighty Nicol would never resort to rhetoric or cheap insults. Oh, wait, that’s not true.

  72. Nicol D says:

    Feeling ignored? Want some attention?

  73. Sevenmack says:

    Wow, Nicol, aiming a howitzer of insults at someone with whom you disagree doesn’t show that you are more intelligent or makes your argument rightful. All I told you to do was read and comprehend what I wrote and didn’t call you any sort of names. You, on the other hand, well, the facts and your responses speak for themselves.
    As for the existence of things: Actions do exist independent of language, as do people, animal and natural structures. This is true. A bear does exist and takes a dump in the woods, whether or not we see it. It’s just that it isn’t on our radar and thus, doesn’t matter.
    Artificial concepts such as ideas and buildings, on the other hand, require human language, be it that of linguistics, symbols or mathematics, in order to exist. If you can’t express it, either through words or drawings or actual construction, it just doesn’t exist. It can’t: Unlike action or natural elements, ideas and other artificial constructs requires a way to make it happen. Music can’t exist without someone to create it by writing notes and instruments.
    So yes, gravity exists, but that’s because it is natural — it exists independent of human action. Biological development also exists and that’s also because it exists of human action. But adolescence doesn’t exist in nature. After all, biology has no transition period between childhood and adulthood; children become adults biologically rather abruptly and once it happens, they are physically ready for sexual activity and the like. Adolescence was created by society in order to compensate for that abruptness in biological development and the reality that emotional, psychological and intellectual development lags behind biological growth.
    So sorry Nicol, you’re arguing with nature and that’s an argument you can’t win. You’re arguing with history and sociology — and you can’t win arguments with those either.

  74. jeffmcm says:

    I hate to get into this discussion since it seems rather typically pointless, but one other element to keep in mind is that throughout most of human history, physical sexual maturity didn’t begin as early as it does today, thanks to better nutrition and other factors, and people settled into married life earlier; so there wasn’t such an awkward gap of adolescence in between.

  75. Sevenmack says:

    To further clarify: Would a building exist if humans didn’t have the language — this of mathematics and of drawing — in order to engineer, design and build it? Not at all. A rock may exist, but that’s because it is a natural element; the elements needed to create it are already there and exist outside of any human or human-based language needed to create it.
    On the other hand, a blog doesn’t exist in nature. You need language — in this case, XML and HTML code, along with mathematics (in the form of binary code) — in order to make it so. The same with ideas; if you can’t express it, an idea doesn’t exist. An action may exist in nature, but an idea never does until someone expresses it, either through cave drawings, a combination of numbers or with words. In short, language.

  76. Sevenmack says:

    You’re right on both counts, Jeff. The argument is pointless. And evolution — due to better nutrition — has made sexual development slightly earlier than in previous times. The fact that people did marry earlier also meant that adolescence really didn’t exist in earlier periods; you became an adult quicker because young adults were considered just adults with younger bodies.

  77. leahnz says:

    there is a difference between adolescence – a cultural/social term used to define the interval between childhood and adulthood – and puberty, the scientific term for the period of developement of sexual maturity, usually between the ages of 10-17 for girls, often longer for boys. this means complete hormonal development including genital hair, full muscle mass, fat redistribution, genital/breast development, and menstruation in girls, which can occur well before ovulation and thus fertility begins, for months, even years.
    so seven, you claim miley is an ‘adult’ at 15…how the hell do you know that, unless you are her gynocologist? you have no idea if she has completed puberty, so your assertion that she is an adult by vitue of her 15 years is codswollop.

  78. David Poland says:

    What I really don’t understand is why more people don’t recognize that Ms Cyrus has ALREADY been more sexualized than this in her Disney context. Have you seen her dance in her movie?
    To me, this photo is very much about the sexualization she has already aggresively courted. Where is the line? That is the kind of thought and discussion that great art is meant to inspire.
    And the comparisons to Biel are just bizarre to me… she did topless photos!!! This girl has been more exposed than this on red carpets across the globe for years now!
    And why has this become an issue? Because Disney freaked. And they control her immediate future.
    Then again, the teen who did show up topless is still making High School Musical 3 for the company.

  79. Joe Leydon says:

    Sorry, Nicol: Once again, you’re making comments about an era based on what you’ve gleaned from history books, and right wing talking points, not first-hand knowledge. I was 11 at the time Leave It to Beaver ended. Maybe our parents thought Beave was cool, but me and my buddies sure as hell didn’t. And trust me: We already were honry motherfuckers, and passing around pilfered copies of Playboy. Which is why, God bless her, we thought Hazel Court was smokin’ hot in those Hammer and AIP horror movies.

  80. leahnz says:

    i will say, i can’t recall ever seeing a mainstream magazine layout of a fifteen year old BOY in bed supposedly nude with sex hair and a come-hither look… can you imagine the outrage? girls are objectified and exploited on a routine basis in our society and it is somehow acceptable, boys are not.

  81. THAT is a “come-hither” look?

  82. leahnz says:

    come hither, i vant to suck your blood…

  83. Stella's Boy says:

    This image creeps me out more than the scandalous one does.

  84. leahnz says:

    ew, ew, ew, ew, ew!
    stella’s, i coulda gone my whole life without seeing that! why do i click on those link thingys…why???
    did i mention ‘ew’? ew. i think i’ve made my point, really. i feel grubby, i’m off to take a shower.

  85. hendhogan says:

    You seem focused on the inciting incident. The impression you are giving is that because the story started out of a Disney spin that it holds no merit.
    I am much more taken with Kami’s take on the photo. It’s the only one that doesn’t fall into the comparitive argument. The “it’s not that bad compared to the other Disney stuff” is not a compelling argument. As an older man with no children, I confess I have not seen any of the dance moves of “Hannah Montana.” I think it would be kinda creepy if I had.
    I’m sorry you had a problem with that line. I actually think sevenmack cleared up my intent, but that didn’t seem to work out so well between you two. So, maybe I can’t explain my meaning to your satisfaction.

  86. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Those racy photos were also a godsend for ABC, CBS and NBC.
    With their heavy breathing over Ms. Cyrus they found a convenient way to evade their involvement with the Pentagon Pimps.

  87. christian says:

    True dat. Our news media is a corporate sham.

  88. Sevenmack says:

    Umm, leahnz, one needs not be Ms. Cyrus’ gynecologist in order to understand that at this point, with Ms. Cyrus having breasts, a menstrual cycle, probably some pubic hair and a capability to get pregnant, that she is a biological adult. Puberty, like adolescence, really doesn’t exist except as a term and a civilizing element in order to prevent older adults from damaging children. Once a child starts being able to get pregnant, they are, in biological terms, an adult. The fact that they have not moved completely into adulthood on a biological level means nothing except that she’s a young adult whose body, like the bodies of each of us, is growing, maturing and eventually, dying.
    Now Leahnz, if you disagree with this part of my argument, then fine, disagree, although I seriously doubt that there’s any real disagreement with my overall point — that Miley Cyrus was sexually exploited by older adults, who shouldn’t have done so, even if she wants to sow her sexual wild oats. Her parents and the other adults around her have failed her. Miserably. And she suffers most of the damage for it.

  89. David Poland says:

    Hend… not at all.
    The issue is certainly an issue.
    But the issue should be framed in a bigger context than whether some people are worried that this one picture is over the edge. I agree that the picture of Miley with her dad is far more disturbing… and far more of the Roger Clemens school.
    This is not a nude, not a half nude, not inherently “I just had sex,” not even that exploitative.
    In fact, the media has defined it more so than others… as is becoming more and more the norm.
    And Leahnz, you’re dead wrong. How many beefcake photos have run forever in teen bop magazines? Mario Lopez or Shaun Cassidy!
    What gets me crazy is how the media and then the public decides on this one moment or that to be OUTRAGED about what is going on under our noses every single day. Have you been in a mall lately? Do any of us over 18 need to see the butt cracks, nipples, cleavage, and tightly-wrapped asses with “Juicy” written on them?
    This photo, to me, is about that issue, not a furtherance of it. And if people disagree, I am fine with that.
    But let’s get a little perspective on it. When CNN describes it as “half naked,” we are not dealing with the reality of that photo… or the sexual content of what “innocent” product Disney is putting out without comment every single day.
    And this is why the photo freaked Disney out so much. Start tugging at this and who knows whether someone will start questioning why the studio still promotes Lindsey Lohan movies co-starring an oft-topless Jamie Lee Curtis, etc. I don’t think they should be so overanalyzed. But then again, I don’t think this should be so obsessed on either.

  90. Stella's Boy says:

    “Have you been in a mall lately? Do any of us over 18 need to see the butt cracks, nipples, cleavage, and tightly-wrapped asses with “Juicy” written on them?”
    This is an excellent point and completely true. Sometimes on a Saturday or Sunday my wife and I will go to Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, IL. It is a fairly large mall and it’s insanely busy on weekends. There are always tons of girls younger than Cyrus walking around in skimpy clothes. In many cases the parents of these girls are the same ones decrying the Cyrus photo.

  91. hendhogan says:

    David & Stella:
    Obviously, it is fruitless to argue the hypocrisy of the masses (or even the individuals in the masses). However, is the proper response a shrug of the shoulders and a “it’s not so bad comparatively?”
    I am happy to say I have not been to a mall. I’ll take you at your word about the goings on there. But while you are calling for “a little perspective,” I’m saying there has been too much perspective. Every time we let these sort of things go, the bar slips a little bit lower on what is acceptable. So, when is enough enough?

  92. Stella's Boy says:

    hendhogan, I wasn’t disagreeing with anything you said as much as I was agreeing with Poland’s point about malls these days.

  93. jeffmcm says:

    I also wanted to agree with LeahNZ’s point – that yes, teenage boys are exploited in teenbop magazines, but those have a very specific audience (teen girls, pedophiles) and I’m not aware of any mainstreaming of teen boy exhibitionism. All the furor in the last year over Lindsay/Paris/Britney/Miley wouldn’t have happened to their male counterparts.

  94. hendhogan says:

    Sorry, Stella, I was reacting to the last line of the post.
    And does anybody know how old Mario Lopez & Shawn Cassidy were when those posters were shot? I’m asking because I don’t know, but I thought they were older (like post 18).

  95. leahnz says:

    dave, what jeff said. do you honestly believe boys are objectified and exploited to the same degree as girls in the mainstream media? show me a comparable photo in vanity fair – or any other mag of its ilk – of a supposedly naked 15 yr old boy, or a nude spread of a young man comperable to linsey’s. and not a teenybopper mag, that’s not the same thing at all and i think you know it. come on.
    and seven, i’m afraid it’s you who are mistaken; puberty is an indisputable biological event, which occurs over 5-7 years and is not complete until a female has fully developed breasts, full fat redistribution and muscle mass, fully grown pubic and body hair, and cycles of ovulation. how you think you know miley has completed puberty is beyond me.

  96. leahnz says:

    dave, what jeff said. do you honestly believe boys are objectified and exploited to the same degree as girls in the mainstream media? show me a comparable photo in vanity fair – or any other mag of its ilk – of a supposedly naked 15 yr old boy, or a nude spread of a young man comparable to linsey’s. and not a teenybopper mag, that’s not the same thing at all and i think you know it, come on.
    and seven, i’m afraid it’s you who are mistaken; puberty is an indisputable biological event, which occurs over 5-7 years and is not complete until a female has fully developed breasts, full fat redistribution and muscle mass, fully grown pubic and body hair, and cycles of ovulation. how you think you know miley has completed puberty is beyond me. don’t deny biological science to support your position.

  97. leahnz says:

    sorry, i’ve been having a hell of a time posting my comments today, i had to us the ‘preview’ and somehow i posted it without meaning to or even knowing that i did it! ugh

  98. Sevenmack says:

    Actually Leahnz, I’m not denying anything. What I’m saying is that the most important events — the ability to have sex and enjoy it, and the ability to have children — are the key biological factors in deciding adulthood. Children cannot get pregnant; adults can. Miley, as far as we know, has breasts, menstruates and like Jamie-Lynn Spears, can get pregnant. She’s, by biology, an adult. The fact that muscle tone isn’t there doesn’t necessarily serve as a factor in biological adulthood; you can still get pregnant and have plenty of baby fat on your body.
    As for boys being objectified: Albercrombie & Fitch. Not all of those male models are 18-year-olds (just as not all of them are fully naked). And they are aimed to appeal to young girls, older college-aged women, male pedos and gay men. And don’t forget any movie made by Larry Clark and Harmony Korine (“Kids”, “Gummo”, and “Bully), who objectify boys and girls equally.

  99. Sevenmack says:

    The thing is that when it comes to young male objectification, most people don’t care, not because it isn’t widespread (A&F is very widespread; and don’t forget about blogs such as Perez Hilton and DListed, which are read by more people than most magazines, but merely lack establishment cred), but because we don’t care as much about young men being exploited as we do about young women exploitation.
    Society, in general, has always had a mixed view on how to treat young women, both objectifying them and yet shaming people for doing so, partly because young women, unlike young men, can get pregnant. Think of the period of the early 1900s: On the one hand, we had advertisements in which young women were dressed rather scantily for the time, and on the other hand, the furor that arose after the murder of architect Stanford White by Harry Thaw, the husband of White’s former lover; people were aghast when they found out that White had slept with the woman when she was in her teens because she was far too young and he far too old. And this was during a period in which women were working at age 12 and 13, and thus becoming adults by standards of that society.
    On the other hand, when young men are exploited, almost no one sees it as such. Think the reaction to situations when a female teacher is arrested for sleeping with a 15-year-old boy — older male adults, in particular, are rather envious about it and wish they had such an experience when they were that age while the rest are either slightly outraged or not at all.

  100. leahnz says:

    seven, this is a bit frustrating, i just don’t get how you know miley menstuates, or can get pregnant. having 15 yr old breasts does not a woman make, it just means she has started puberty. and like i said earlier, girls can begin menstuation and not actually produce an egg in ovulation for months, or even years. so you don’t know that miley menstruates, or that she can get preggers, or that she is fully developed, yet you persist in calling her an adult. the fact is, you have no idea if miley fully developed, which at 15 is quite iffy. in the case of jamie-lynn, a year can make a huge difference, and every girl developes at a different pace. and to be clear, it’s not muscle tone but mass that plays an important role in puberty. my mother is a physiologist who worked as a consultant over the years for high-school sports teams, primarily swimming, and puberty was her area of expertise. i learned a lot through osmosis.
    as for girls being objectified way more than boys, i’m talking mainstream publications and media, not film. i haven’t seen any a & f ads, are the boys sexualized like girls often are?

  101. jeffmcm says:

    A&F, like any fashion outlet, strikes me as equal-opportunity for ogling male and female bodies. You could say that Calvin Klein or others are more tilted towards men, but those are always fully adult men of a certain body type, and I think we all remember the CK ad campaign from around 10 years ago that looked like it was shot in somebody’s basement? It was quickly shut down. And Larry Clark and Harmony Korine are hardly mainstream directors.

  102. leahnz says:

    seven, i just read your second post, and all i can say is…are you serious? society doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the exploitation of young women; tits and arse are everywhere you look, used to sell everything, promote everything; porn is ‘normalised’ into mainstream culture more and more due to the internet; strip clubs are commonplace in urban areas frequented by families; young women dress like strippers and go under the knife everyday in droves to try and meet some bizarre expectation of plastic ‘perfection’; those three dim bulbs who live with hefner (shudder) are today’s ‘role models’ for young women…

  103. The thing is a boy aged 15 could (for example) go to the beach and wear boardies and there’s nothing really he can do about people ogling him if they so wish (whether it be 15-year-old girls or creepy paedophiles) but if I a 15-year-old girl goes to the beach in a bikini they get told they’re a slut.

  104. lol, if I? That “I” obviously shouldn’t be there. I never went to the beach as a 15-year-old. I was a depressed anti-social sun allergic 15-year-old. That and my skin is so white I could blind an army of 1000 unicorns my standing in the sun without a top.
    MY EYES!!!etc

  105. Sevenmack says:

    Apparently Leahnz, we’re just gonna have to agree to disagree on both counts. The biological adulthood versus puberty argument — puberty doesn’t really exist because, like adolescence, it’s something we name; the process of moving from child to adult is abrupt and while other parts of the development may happen later, the key part — the ability to actually have sex and get pregnant — is the among the first to appear. And that’s ultimately what counts.
    As for society not giving a rat’s tail about exploitation of young women: Tell that to every pedophile caught by “To Catch a Predator” or to Miley Cyrus or, hell, Fiona Apple (whose video for “Criminal” was criticized for playing upon both porn and heroin chic).Hell, tell that to Howard Stern (who basically got shifted to satellite radio because his schtick was considered too risque for mainstream radio) and the producers of “South Park” (whose show went from being too controverial to too mainstream, despite its consistently scatagorical content).
    Society cares about ridding itself of a lot of the things it detests — including exploitation of young women. At the same time, it also enjoys the prurient, allowing for the exploitation to continue despite its guilt and intentions. Basically it’s the dichotomy of man: We’re capable of both great good and evil, often at the same time.
    Jeff: Korine and Clark aren’t mainstream, but they are involved in exploiting young men (and women). And let’s not forget, for mainstream purposes, Zach Efron (of “High School Musical” fame) and the entire Disney channel lineup (equal opportunity for both young men and women). There is an exploitation of young men and it is mainstream — Abercrombie, if you actually look at the catalog, is really young gay porn without the sex; it ain’t anything close to equal-opportunity — but it isn’t given as much attention as the exploitation of young women.

  106. Sevenmack says:

    Oh, and Leahnz: You seem to look at the issue in black and white, that either everyone cares or no one cares. The world isn’t black or white, not is life a matter of either caring about a problem or not caring at all. We all live in shades of gray, meaning that one can care about an issue and yet, not being willing to do anything about it. You can think Miley Cyrus was exploited and still enjoy the photo all at once. You should be old enough by now to know this and I shouldn’t have to explain it.

  107. jeffmcm says:

    Sevenmack, I think the point re: female exploitation is that we have an unequal perception of it for females relative to males. Girls are simultaneously urged to look ‘prettier’ and then smacked down if they get too ‘slutty’.
    And Larry Clark (I actually don’t think Harmony Korine counts if you only look at the movies he’s directed as separate from Clark), being mainstream, is irrelevant to the point being made here. On the other hand, I really don’t think you can compare Zac Efron’s exploitation to what’s going on here. When Zac does a photo like this one in a major (non teen-beat) magazine with his shirt off, let us all know.

  108. leahnz says:

    yeah, women have far more mixed messages and double standards to contend with in life than men, of that i’m sure.
    kam, just think of yourself as the ‘shun the sun’ nic kidman type of ozzy; you’ll have lovely skin when you get older rather than croc hyde.
    seven, it’s strange that you think i see the world in black and white, cuz i’m such a shades of grey type of girl; i do see it through the eyes of a woman though (and mother), perhaps that’s where we differ. and i must say i had to laugh when you said i should be old enough by now for you not to have to explain it, i’m the fucking crypt keeper! (42) perhaps i come off as a naive babe in the woods…

  109. leahnz says:

    kam, i just read what i said and didn’t mean to compare you to a girl, i just meant that kidman goes against the ‘bronzed god/dess’ oz stereotype and she did pretty well for herself, so there you go

  110. Hah, I didn’t take it as you implying I was a girl. Although I took a fair few insults of that variety when I was 15 years old 😛

  111. Oh, and Jeff, he didn’t exactly have his shirt off, but there was that Rolling Stone cover where he had his shirt half off showing off his body (specifically: abs+arms). Of course the scariest thing about that photo was Efron’s hair. It was, like, five feet high.

  112. jeffmcm says:

    You’re right. The things I miss, somehow.
    Still, I’d still say our culture puts a higher premium on images of hot young women (right Lex?).

  113. Plus, isn’t he of “legal age”?

  114. Your article is amazing, im sorry to say but for some reason i can’t view your blog on google chrome, this is why i had to use a different browser.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon