Dear Miley, It's Time to Help Yourself

Dear Miley Cyrus (and other teenagers across America intent on destroying any modicum of talent you possess by making extremely foolish decisions),
I used to not like you. Actually, I’ll cut the crap. I wanted your vocal chords removed. Or at least have you banished to some remote part of the world where I wouldn’t have to be subject to your ubiquity on TV, on the radio, in magazines and sold-out concert venues. I refused to listen to more than five seconds of any song of yours that I had the great misfortune of accidentally hearing, unless I wanted to be filled with boiling rage at the unanswerable question of how someone with the singing voice of a farm animal could become outrageously successful. Like, how?
But then you started to do some stupid things. That photoshoot with Annie Leibovitz, for starters. Never mind that you were at the not-ripe-for-nudity age of 15-years-old, or that it was so transparently a cheap attempt to sexualize a juvenile Disney juggernaut – the most confounding thing of all was the reasoning your team gave for conceding to the risqué photoshoot: “You can’t say no to Annie.”
Really? You can’t? It’s called exploitation, people, and it’s something that one should most definitely decline to take part in.
Then came the pole dances, the writhing around in a bird cage for “Can’t Be Tamed,” the steady drop in the amount of clothing you wore for public appearances. And finally, the kicker: you doing bong hits for your 18th birthday. Captured on video and promptly submitted to a far-reaching gossip website with a rabid, unforgiving readership, no less. Your team said it was Salvia, we said it didn’t matter what it was, because you were clearly as high as an untethered kite.
Comparisons were made between you and the havoc-wreaking, delicates-flashing Lindsay Lohan, the poster child for poster children gone awry. Minus a jail sentence or two, you looked you were all set to follow the same alarming trajectory.
An interview with your seemingly possessive father, a former entertainer himself, came out recently in GQ. In it, Billy Ray Cyrus revealed that the relationship between you two had in actuality become strained and possibly broken. Hannah Montana, the TV show that had launched your pop idol career, had effectively “destroyed” your family. Your handlers no longer allow him any say in the damage control required in the aftermath of your decisions, which made him wonder if they were “perhaps more interested in handling Miley’s money than her safety and he career.” He hasn’t absolved himself of all blame for the way things turned out, though: “I should have been a better parent. I should have said, ‘Enough is enough – it’s getting dangerous and somebody’s going to get hurt.’ I should have but I didn’t,” he admits.
Suddenly, I felt a pang of sympathy for you (and was reminded of just how happy I am that I didn’t grow up as a celebrity). Maybe your dad was right. Maybe all you are is a croaky cog in the relentless Hollywood machine, in which your general welfare is foregone and your monetary value is of highest priority. (Forbes estimates you brought in $48 million last year alone.) Maybe all this fame was too much, too fast, and by the time you started second-guessing the ‘mature’ image that was being pushed on you, it was too late.
If that’s true, then I need to reassign the recipient of this open letter: Dear Entertainment Industry, stop hurting America (a phrase borrowed from the ever-astute Jon Stewart). In turn, maybe all these adolescent celebrities will stop hurting themselves. They won’t become burnt out, chewed up and inevitably hung to dry once they become Charlie Sheen reach that decisive scandal even the most calculated PR can’t undo.
Miley, you’re not yet lost for good but I would advise to steer clear of the smoke – salvia-produced or otherwise.
Thank You,
Sarah

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