Well, from all the hubbub I knew for certain that I was going to log on and see a photograph of Hannah Montana herself Miley Cyrus giving fellatio to a farm animal. Instead what I saw was a cherubic looking 15 year old, washed in color, bathed in blue and muted light and tones, exposing her back, looking like she belonged more in a painting hanging in the Louvré than on the pages of Vanity Fair. Obviously America was looking at a different photo. So I searched. Nope, that's the one.
And I laughed that embarrassing laugh of "Great, what are the Europeans going to think of us now..." I mean truly, America, it's a girl's back. And yes, she looks innocent and seductive all at once, as youth truly is, and that seems to frighten everyone.
For centuries artist have tried to capture the beauty of youth, the seductiveness the wonder of it. The incredibly duplicity of sublime innocence and yet a hint of a future spark, a future fire. America longs to be young, spends billions each year trying to have young skin, young hair, young hips, young boobs, young everything. America is now the never grow old, death is merely an option place, where medicine treats death as a failure and aging as an unnecessary part of the life cycle. Well, newsflash, it can't be done, people age and then die. And that's why young still is beautiful, because it is innocent, untouched, unflawed at least in theory.
Annie Liebovitz is an artist, one of the greatest photographers working today. To accuse her of somehow coercing a model to do something tawdry or against their will is beyond disbelief. The image, if that of a 15 year old Leonardo DiCaprio shirtless would barely raise a ruckus. Child icon himself Harry Potter, Daniel Radcliffe, has been appearing in the buff for two years now in Equiis and is coming to Broadway. Is an 18 year old Daniel somehow more legitimate than a 17 year old one?
Parents all need to take Valium if they think this is in any way a horrible thing, or that they must somehow ban Montana from the living room. On the contrary, by young pop star standards, this is tame and tasteful. At least she's not puking in front of some club being ushered around underage by some Svengali. Nope, she's appearing in a photo by a renown artist that looks like it could have been painted 500 years ago or more. An image that one day will look incredible above Ms. Cyrus fireplace, and one which people will laugh about when they hear it brought down the magazine's website the day after publishing from so much indignant, righteously angry people that just had to see the horrors for themselves. Ya, right.
But what is wrong with America right now? We have Cyrus apologizing for what? A tasteful picture that DaVinci might have sketched of a 12 or 15 year old of his time that the perverted minds of the ever righteous have again painted as dirty? Don't buy in to such piety because while they claim moral superiority here they allow their country to bleed through the wound of Iraq while they complain of high oil prices as they fill their non-hybrid 20 mpg vehicles under some warped sense of entitlement all to get their 2.5 kids to a soccer practice they can no longer afford in a mini-van that's about to be repossessed.
Piety my ass. The same goes for Obama and Rev. Wright. Lay off already. I have heard everything that man says and I will tell you from a Black perspective he's right on. I'm not Black, but I'm poor, so I've lived in the hood my whole life. Everyone thinks it's a race thing now, it's not, it's a poverty thing. Oh yes, and I'm gay. So trust me, I know about being pissed off at the government. Rev. Wright gives voice to a community no one in this country in power has wanted to hear for hundreds of years, and no one in this country in comfort has wanted to deal with for just about as long, at least as equals. Most of you can't understand it, so leave it alone. It has ZERO meaning as to whether Obama will be a good President. This president was rich and white and he screwed everyone. Obama can't be any worse.
And to make Obama apologize and denounce his own preacher of 20 years is as hollow as making Cyrus apologize for a photo she saw as tasteful at the time, and for making her feel somehow dirty or less than good for taking it. Shame on you do gooders out there who demand redemption but seek none yourself for crimes far more horrid against society as a whole or just your own community. From voter apathy to "me myopothy" we all have our sins, but baring our skin isn't one of them.
And how sexist America. OK little girls, 15 year old boys can be nude from the waist up on TV or in movies anytime there's a swimming scene or anything that calls for it. Shower scene at high school gym, no worries. But if you're a woman, well, if you show any of your skin to the sex crazed men of the country you are a strumpet and a harlette. What are we, Muslim? What next, Hannah Montana wears a burka? If she had a bikini top on the beach would that be better? If the back has a string across it, it's allowed at 15? What ARE the parameters here.
And as for Obama, shame on you. You were a proud member of that church for 20 years and now because it upsets white people you throw your pastor under the bus. Shame on you. He has the right to free speech. And you once called him friend and you knew him. He hasn't changed. You have, Obama. You would now trade a friend for the highest office in the land. You are the animal you protest. Welcome to the world of big politics as usual. You shouldn't apologize for words that you know to be true. And if you don't, then you are a man out of touch with his own ethnicity.
America the puritans, America the afraid, America the Good has forced two good people who did nothing wrong to apologize for sins that are neither sins nor crimes against any reasonable god or any society. You have forced one to feel dirty and ashamed and another to betray a friend.
Now those are morals, America. Real Hannah Montana Morals all right.
Shame on every one of you. But shame on you, Cyrus, for wanting the Disney dollar more than your integrity, for not standing up to MEN and telling them that is an artistic print and if you think it is pornographic you are ill, for casting any doubt on the integrity of Annie Liebovitz and for not letting 15 year old girls know that being beautiful is all right, and hey, even being a little sexy, so long as you know to wait until the time is right. Oh now, that would be too educating.
And shame on you, Obama, for letting the White Media Machine attack the Black Church Experience and not standing by your friend even if what he says is wrong, which, in this case, it truly isn't. Shame on you for showing me that friendship is an expendable commodity on the road to the White House and that your spirituality doesn't run as deep as your political aspirations. A true man of faith would rather die than attack a true man of God. Which is it, Obama? Are you a man of faith, or a man of politics or is Wright a politician and not a man of God? I don't care either way, I'd just like to know.
And shame on anyone that thinks either of them had anything for which to apologize. Your Puritan ways are killing us.
You know, scientist recently found that 70,000 years ago the human population dwindled to about 2000. That's it. 2000. Now I know why, the rest were TOO STUPID to exist. It seems if you adjust that math about 25% of America gets it, and about 75% is simply, and yes, I'll say it, too stupid and needs to be led about because just like cattle they would stand and look at an open gate at the slaughter house instead of running through it to freedom and safety, and then let someone lead them right in to the axe. Because while America discusses Cyrus' photo or Obama's pastor, we're being led right off to slaughter financially, politically, socially...and those of us on the outside of the fence are getting tired of trying to guide the masses through the gates to freedom. You have to be smart enough to want it, and our media and our candidates are showing so little signs of intelligent discourse that it may be too late.
But that's OK. At least we'll know where we stand on Hannah Montana's breasts. Or lack thereof, at least in the photo. Oh, and we'll be so busy listening to Rev. Wright that we won't listen to John McCain or those that support him and we'll lose the nation.
But so long as there are not 15 year old girls showing their backs in Vanity Fair, we'll be OK.
Follow Charles Karel Bouley on Twitter: www.twitter.com/therealkarel