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Miley Cyrus > Donald Trump

Sometimes you wonder if ol’ Billy Ray don’t wish he had never left Tennessee: [1]

[Miley] Cyrus, who described herself as attracted to people of any sex or gender, said she realized she was pansexual after becoming a part of the LGBT community in Los Angeles and meeting a gender-neutral person.

“Even though I may seem very different, people may not see me as neutral as I feel. But I feel very neutral,” she said in the Power of Women L.A. issue. I think that was the first gender-neutral person I’d ever met. Once I understood my gender more, which was unassigned, then I understood my sexuality more. I was like, ‘Oh — that’s why I don’t feel straight and I don’t feel gay. It’s because I’m not.'”

Cyrus told Paper magazine in 2015, that she’s open to many different kinds of relationships.

“I am literally open to every single thing that is consenting and doesn’t involve an animal and everyone is of age,” she told Paper magazine. “Everything that’s legal, I’m down with. Yo, I’m down with any adult — anyone over the age of 18 who is down to love me. I don’t relate to being boy or girl, and I don’t have to have my partner relate to boy or girl.”

I’m old enough to remember when “That one will screw anything that moves” was an insult to either the man or the woman to whom it was applied. Today, that quality is a virtue, and its gets you fawning notice in USA Today. You literally can screw anything that moves (except minors and animals, for now) and have it celebrated in this culture.

I have been very hard on Donald Trump and his supporters over sexual assault revelations. I had decided before this came out that Trump lacked the character, temperament, and competence to be president, but this just seals it. Conservatives who stand by Trump after these revelations are no better than the liberals who stood by Bill Clinton back in the 1990s. It’s not about morality; it’s about power.

But here’s the thing: I am not interested in hearing cultural liberals get high and mighty about how vile Donald Trump is (and he is!) for his gross sexual behavior, but then have them turn around and cheer for every new manifestation of polymorphous perversity that flops across the transom. I know, I know: consent. Legally it’s an important concept, but it’s not a moral disinfectant. I find it impossible to believe that most liberal parents would be fine with their sons or daughters coming out a “pansexual,” which is a five-dollar word for something infinitely cheaper.

Keeping eros in its place solely with the doctrine of consent is like building levees of grape jelly along a raging river. A college professor friend tells a story about a female student who came to his office seeking advice. She was shaken. She said that she thought she might have been date-raped, but she wasn’t sure if she had given consent or not. Here was a young woman who felt that she had undergone a deep trauma, but all she could think about — because this is what her culture had trained her to think about — was legalistic procedure.

I wouldn’t want my children around Donald Trump or Miley Cyrus. But Miley Cyrus is a far more dangerous  figure to human dignity and the imago Dei. Our erotomaniacal post-Christian culture is embracing the Miley Cyrus model. Maybe it was destined to be this way. Stephen Gardner, from his essay in the 40th anniversary edition of Philip Rieff’s The Triumph of the Therapeutic:

As embodied in Psychological Man and his Viennese exemplar, Rieff suggests that the modern revolution is above all revolution, more profound than any merely political or economic one. The engine of this revolution is the rise of democracy, which radically alters the nature of human relations and generates its own indigenous culture. Modern equality utterly transforms social relations, not just on the political or economic level on which human beings act representatively, as members of groups or as bearers of rights, but far more interestingly, in the realm of personal life.

Human relations are at bottom always relations of individuals, and it is here that the democratic revolution has utterly transformed moral understandings sanctified by time immemorial—especially, needless to say, in the realm of relations between the sexes, and by the same token, within the sexes as well. By removing or crippling the old formalities and conventions of social life, democracy creates a culture in which individuals are supposedly free to relate to each other simply as such—as pure individuals or pure “natural” beings, as it were. This idea of nature evidently presupposes the total socialization of man, but in a way unlike any other society. Believing that they are children of Eden, these “emancipated” democrats act out the latest script written for them by popular culture.

More:

Philip Rieff appreciated the real significance of Freud because he was not a psychologist but a sociologist, and not just any sociologist, but one who understood both the religious nature of social order and its crystallization—or decomposition, as the case may be–in the psyche of the individual.The scientist’s loss is the sociologist’s gain. In Rieff’s sociology, there is an intimate link, of a sort that goes back to Plato, between outer order and the inmost structure of the psyche of the individual. This linkage may be designated the sacred; sacred order is psychic order. Social order, in other words, is grounded in religion or transcendental authority, but this principle is maintained only if is realized in the structure of the individual, his character. And it is just this “law” that Rieff discerns in Freud in the way of a photographic negative; there he sees the residual though still potent traces of authority that remain in the mind of the individual, even as that authority loses its traditional status in the social world itself.

More:

The premise ofmodern psychology is the cult of desire.
For this new type, psychology would replace ontology or theology, and therapy would replace community, hitherto the most potent psychic medicines in Western culture. Emancipated by modern technology, commerce, law, and consumerism from integral community, the modern individual found himself abandoned to contradictory passions and impulses and alienated from the remnants of a cultural order that, nonetheless, he could not do without. He thus entered into the twilight zone of modernity, the realm of ambivalences and ambiguities that ensue when every fixed point of reference is dissolved into the sheer interplay of individuals in a culture that can no longer sustain its origins. Freud appeared as his savior and advocate, the inventor of a technique of survival not physical but psychical. He promised to teach the modern individual how to desire in a world where all desires were equal and arbitrary, void of any intrinsic order, but not necessarily equally permissible or socially estimable. Here was a human type where interiority and its dilemmas were not a mark of the spiritual or transcendent but exactly oft heir absence, at best of their fading images–where interiority and the sense of alienation from the outer reflect the social fact of “negative community.”
It is this massive cultural revolution that Rieff’s sociological exegesis of Freud brought into view. The outer world of consumerism and popular culture belies inwardly the world of an individual who is the captive of desires he can neither entirely abandon nor ever truly satisfy. The modern world makes a virtue of this fate and turns it to profitable advantage. In Freud, this individual acquires his first true advocate–not a savior, exactly, but someone who will defend the legitimacy of his condition, his “right”to desire, founded evidently in its inescapable necessity, its tragic fatality.

And:

If Freud insists upon the primacy of sexual passion in the economy of psychic life and human relations, it is because this confirms the Romantic and democratic myth of freedom, the spontaneity of the individual. If he folds ambition (social desire) back into eros (erotic desire), it is not because the empirical evidence supports this (it doesn’t and couldn’t), but because romanticism demands it. Eros must be raised to the level of a religious cult in modern society, not because we really are that obsessed with it, but because the myth of freedom demands it. [Emphasis mine — RD] It is in carnal desire that the modern individual believes he affirms his “individuality.”

The whole essay is here [2], and I strongly commend it to you.

Society can survive a Donald Trump. Indeed, the fact that Trump is paying a heavy price for doing what powerful men (including beloved Democrats like JFK, Ted Kennedy, and Bill Clinton) have done to women since time immemorial is a sign of moral progress. But society cannot survive a Miley Cyrus. She is an icon of the lack of sacred order, which is to say, in Rieffian terms, of an anti-culture, which negates what any culture must do: direct the passions to socially beneficial ends. She is a high priestess of the cult of desire. Our civilization has embraced what will destroy it. Here’s the thing: so have we in the Christian church. As Peter Leithart wrote nearly 25 years ago: [3]

In Rieff’s view, no successor priesthood has yet emerged, but the culture has instead embarked on the unprecedented experiment of forming a nonmoral culture, a “culture” lacking both religiously grounded interdicts and a priesthood to serve as the guardian of sacred boundaries. Such is, in fact, an experiment in “anticulture.” What is most disturbing, however, is that the Church no longer functions as priesthood in this sociological sense even for Christians. Rieff has called attention to contemporary churchmen’s penchant for abandoning all Christian dogma and practice that does not readily lend itself to therapeutic purposes. The “anticulture” has invaded the Church.

Jesus said that His disciples would be the light of the world, implying that dark ages come when the Church hides its light under a bushel. Christians, therefore, can hardly expect the rebirth of culture in the world without a rebirth of culture in the Church. One is led to echo, in a perhaps more literal sense than originally intended, Alasdair MacIntyre’s suggestion that our culture awaits the appearance of a new, very different St. Benedict.

 

 

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135 Comments To "Miley Cyrus > Donald Trump"

#1 Comment By Pepi On October 16, 2016 @ 11:34 am

I really do not understand the reduction of the core of Christianity and the ultimate cause of it’s failure in the US to human sexuality and society’s views of it.

God gave us free will and from a societal and legal standpoint, we allow adults to make their own decisions, for the most part, as long as they are not destructive to human beings who have enough money to sue. People make lots of decisions that go against Biblical teachings regarding how we treat other people, particularly the poor and the weak and how we behave financially. Many behaviors are downright financially predatory on the poor and the weak but there is no outrage, not even some concern, expressed by the Religious Right. Plenty of financial behaviors are damaging to a person and to society but again, no outrage.

As Greg pointed out, our more sexually open society has resulted in LESS of the behaviors that Christians have been concerned about when it comes to teen sexual behavior. Many things that are taboo are more attractive to teens for one thing. For another, talking to kids about WHY they shouldn’t do things is far superior to simply telling them not to do them because it teaches them how to be an adult.

Donald Trump represents mistreatment of people on the basis of sex, race, disability and class, valuing people based on those characteristics rather than on their humanity. He has unquestionably been predatory in his business dealings, using his litigation power to abuse contractors and small businesses who did work for him. He has misused his charity in spectacular fashion, taken advantage of our immigration laws for the benefit of his businesses and done pretty much everything in his life with the motivation of glorifying himself and pure greed. How is Miley’s sexual perversion so much more dangerous than Trump’s financial and predatory perversions?

Sex ain’t everything. It’s just not.

[NFR: I really don’t understand a Christianity that ignores or dismisses the sexual component which, as Philip Rieff said, is close to the center of what it means to live as a Christian. Except, of course, I do understand it: modern people don’t want to obey. They want to have all the sex they want, when and how they want it, but they also want the psychological comfort of being able to say God exists and He doesn’t care what they do with their bodies. It’s a lie, but a pleasing one. — RD]

#2 Comment By M_Young On October 16, 2016 @ 11:38 am

The Left is perfectly willing to force ‘the consent’ of a small restaurant when it comes to catering a homosexual event, on pain of losing the business and livelihood. So let’s stop nattering on about ‘consent’.

#3 Comment By Steve McQueen On October 16, 2016 @ 11:51 am

“I wouldn’t want my children around Donald Trump or Miley Cyrus. But Miley Cyrus is a far more dangerous figure to human dignity and the imago Dei. Our erotomaniacal post-Christian culture is embracing the Miley Cyrus model.”

Nevertheless, you do everything within your power to defeat Trump and elect someone who is the Miley Cyrus of national politics.

Can you say “supercilious religiosity,” boys and girls?

#4 Comment By Scott On October 16, 2016 @ 11:51 am

Given that we live in a culture where a lot of kids are growing up with smart phones, and are carrying around in their pockets the equivalent of a giant warehouse sized adult bookstore, I really don’t think that we should be surprised that young people as warped as Miley Cyrus are being produced.

A lot of people seem to think that smart phones are one of the greatest inventions ever. But is an adult bookstore in the pocket of every man, woman and child really “progress”? It’s enough to make a person a Luddite.

#5 Comment By Nelson On October 16, 2016 @ 12:31 pm

If your moral guide is a videogame I’m sorry for you, my friend.
Ever heard of Temperance, Chastity, Hope, Faith, Charity, Prudence, Fortitude…

Fair enough. I will concede Miley may be deficient in the Chastity department, but poor Rod is on the verge of losing Hope.

[NFR: How do you figure that? Optimism is not the same thing as hope. — RD]

#6 Comment By Carlo On October 16, 2016 @ 1:13 pm

Susan:

“Omg, in a free society, we have to allow people to have morals that are different than our own. ”

Omg, in a free society I am allowed to say that certain behaviors are inhuman, immoral and disgusting, am I not?

It is hilarious that for people like you making any type of moral judgment is equivalent to an attempt to police other people’s behavior. That says everything you need to know about contemporary pseudo-liberalism, which is actually just a form of moral nihilism (while at the same time being perfectly compatible with lots and lots of moral rules)

#7 Comment By Carlo On October 16, 2016 @ 1:45 pm

Hector:

“Personally, I think there are better moral frameworks than consent”

So do I.

I just don’t think our culture has the resources to find them. The real divide is not between absolute relativism and moral traditionalism, inasmuch as there is no common metaphysical ground on which those two could talk. The divide is between those who understand where this is going and look for the metaphysical ground on which to build after the impending collapse, and those who think that one can run a “free and pluralistic society” without any unifying values. As you correctly said, “consent” per se is not a value.

#8 Comment By Stefan On October 16, 2016 @ 2:08 pm

“M_Young says:
October 16, 2016 at 11:38 am
The Left is perfectly willing to force ‘the consent’ of a small restaurant when it comes to catering a homosexual event, on pain of losing the business and livelihood. So let’s stop nattering on about ‘consent’.”

That has nothing to do with consent. Liberals, like people of any political persuasion, are free to choose not to consent to entering into a contract with someone. What one should be concerned with instead is the infinite acceleration of modernity which causes there to be no temporal or physical spaces immune from scrutiny by the system and hence subject to its logic. Time perhaps to step back and let go of one of the most idiotic statements in American history, the notion that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” The notion that normative diversity is threatening is a direct call for the political singularity and thus technocratic guardianship.

#9 Comment By Novamama On October 16, 2016 @ 3:55 pm

Abelard Lindsey said –
You have to accept the reality that you will NEVER, EVER have influence over those who do not share your world-view.

This blog and its comboxes are about the last place in the world where I would say that. Rod has a ton of readers who don’t share his world-view, but are interested in the same questions and want to understand and engage with people who see things differently and are willing to discuss them honestly and civilly (usually). Most of us haven’t been converted, but we have certainly been influenced if by nothing more than understanding that there are good-faith arguments on the other side. Sometimes the influence goes further than that, and sometimes it flows in the other direction.

#10 Comment By JonF On October 16, 2016 @ 3:59 pm

Re: Trump is a cad and a moral reprobate, but he doesn’t challenge the gendered social order.

Neither does Ms. Cyrus. She a classic strumpet– to use a term my grandmother might have employed in place of a baser one. Heck, Annie Lennox in the 80s was more daring on the gender bending front.

#11 Comment By Ken Zaretzke On October 16, 2016 @ 5:09 pm

@ R. Stanton Scott,

Nihilists denigrate all values, and insist they are cloaks for something else, like power or convention. So Trump’s not a nihilist. He values America, its history and cultural integrity. Shadia Drury, in the best book on Leo Strauss, argues convincingly that “true” Straussians (East Coast Bill Kristol types) are nihilists whose esotericism is meant to hide it. Chew on that.

#12 Comment By Moone Boy On October 16, 2016 @ 5:22 pm

Ok: I’m fed up listening to you all argue liberal-consent vs libertine assault.

I can sum up a useful synthesis of this argument with this clip:

[4]

The Trump-Cyrus Axis inevitably points to: “Dwayne Elizondo Camacho …Five-time Ultimate Smackdown champion …Porn superstar …And president of the United States.”

#13 Comment By EliteCommInc. On October 16, 2016 @ 7:49 pm

“And even if Bill didn’t come with Hillary, . . . a man over whom they might wield some influence if they support him, instead.”

I appreciate the analysis that has suggested the problems of Pres Clinton’s return to the WH, with hos wife away . . . However, that is not the most important concern for me. It’s her policies and advocates. It is the manner in which she engages both her policy and means of advocating for the same that I object to. And finally, it is her complete refusal to be held to account for anything, even to go as far as blaming those who suffer as direct result of her leadership decisions.

On this score Mr. Trump has her beat by a long shot. He does appear to respond to being held accountable.

“However, in the 1950’s, Freud’s work was perverted and inverted, and instead of viewing neurosis as a result of a misaligned individual in a society (e.g. stemming from relationship), society and the moral social order itself became viewed as evil and oppressive.”

I agree. I thin he’d be furious to what has become of his work. That or deeply depressed, but doubtful he’d turn to his heirs for help.

“Christians, as you know, are called to give obedience to their land’s rulers, no matter how corrupt or tyrannical they are.”

Unless they are expected to live against their christian faith, i.e. forced to serve at weddings of those who choose same sex expression. This abeyance to the law is not absolute. The King of England could expect Christians to pay their tax. He could expect but get resistance to a demand that they see him as God.

#14 Comment By Susan On October 16, 2016 @ 8:08 pm

Carlos,

I’ve made plenty of moral judgments on others and it’s quite ridiculous. If Christians in the media / social media continue on this path, they will further weaken Christianity’s influence on future generations. I suggest instead of shaking fingers at Miley Cyrus, wealthy Christians should take their money and promote more talent like Cimorelli, for example.

Trump is a cad and a moral reprobate, but he doesn’t challenge the gendered social order. The polymorphous perversity that calls itself virtuous does. Miley Cyrus is just one exponent of it. They’re both awful, but what she advocates is far more destructive. — RD

Miley Cyrus has never been married. Donald has been married how many times along with his extramarital behavior. How is Miley far more destructive? Unless you’re going to start attacking unmarried women…there’s always that.

#15 Comment By Pepi On October 16, 2016 @ 8:11 pm

I accidentally posted this on a different thread by mistake. Sorry!

[NFR: I really don’t understand a Christianity that ignores or dismisses the sexual component which, as Philip Rieff said, is close to the center of what it means to live as a Christian. Except, of course, I do understand it: modern people don’t want to obey. They want to have all the sex they want, when and how they want it, but they also want the psychological comfort of being able to say God exists and He doesn’t care what they do with their bodies. It’s a lie, but a pleasing one. — RD]

First let me say that I make the distinctions with these issues of religion, law and social convention. I may believe that something is wrong based on my religion but I may not believe it is right for me to demand that it be codified as law and/or as part of social convention. I do believe in separation of Church and State and many of my comments are on what I believe should be in law, not my personal beliefs.

That said, I am not saying that Christianity should not be concerned with sexuality – it clearly is and should be. I do think, though, that part of the reason that the “Religious Right” has so much trouble politically is because it focuses (in politics) on sexuality – Abortion, LGBTQ etc. When it comes to dealing with/protecting the poor and weak, financial corruption, misogyny, racism, etc, the RR is seen by most outsiders (regardless of party and including many religious people) as, at best, hypocrites or, at worst, as selling out to the business wing of the party and I think there is validity in that. In addition, they are seen to be fighting in disingenuous ways such as the hospital admittance etc anti-abortion laws. A court said flat-out in one state that the law endangered women’s lives rather than protected them and indeed, in Texas the maternal mortality rate has doubled since 2010. Call me crazy but I think that the post-Trump RR would be far more effective politically if it used a fully Christian approach and addressed these other areas from a Biblical viewpoint and did so in an honest above-board way. I don’t think the ends always justify the means and that taking that approach in politics is a big reason for the side-lining of the RR and even in the decline in Christian membership. This meltdown may allow the RR to shed it’s connection with the moneyed class and form other coalitions that are more natural.

Just my opinion.

Also…

Just a quick note to add to that – one of the reasons I chose my church is because one of it’s missions is a Madonna House where women can go to have their children and put them up for adoption. I have a great deal more respect for people who offer these women some other solutions rather than scream at them that they are murderers.

That’s the sort of compromise that makes sense to me and I think that a lot more things like that would be possible if people would look at the whole picture instead of narrowing the focus to pinpoints.

#16 Comment By Nelson On October 16, 2016 @ 8:12 pm

[NFR: How do you figure that? Optimism is not the same thing as hope. — RD]

It was just an observation about what you write. And you’re right, I was focusing more on the pessimism as that shines through in your writing. There are two things that stand out in particular.

The first is the focus on the negative. Despite what the sensationalized news media tries to sell, our civilization has a lot going for it, even with respect to the so-called “culture wars”. For example, abortion in America peaked in the mid 80s but has since been trending downwards, both in relative and absolute terms. Source: [5]

The second is the apocalyptic phrasing you (often) choose to use:

But society cannot survive a Miley Cyrus. She is an icon of the lack of sacred order, which is to say, in Rieffian terms, of an anti-culture, which negates what any culture must do: direct the passions to socially beneficial ends. She is a high priestess of the cult of desire. Our civilization has embraced what will destroy it. Here’s the thing: so have we in the Christian church.

There have been promiscuous musicians in the past, yet we somehow managed to survive. In contrast, today’s promiscuous musicians are the harbingers of destruction. Surely one can be forgiven for seeing a lack of hope in that perspective.

[NFR: Good grief, how many times do I have to say that I’m talking about Miley Cyrus as a SYMBOL of our mass culture’s valorization of the polymorphously perverse. I don’t actually give a rat’s rear end what Miley Cyrus does. It’s that USA Today and that LGBT organization held her up as a brave pioneer, “coming out” as a celebrity “pansexual” (= so horny she’ll screw anything that moves). It’s insane, this culture of ours. — RD]

#17 Comment By VikingLS On October 16, 2016 @ 8:37 pm

Billy Ray Cyrus is from Flatwoods, Kentucky, not Tennessee.

I don’t know if we should be proud of it or apologize (probably the latter), but as a Kentuckian I felt obligated to point it out.

#18 Comment By Susan On October 16, 2016 @ 9:02 pm

I understand what Carlo and some others here are stating: “why is sexual assault wrong? If think about it, you will realize that the only reason it is wrong is because there is something about human beings that MUST be respected.”

That is true. However…consent is a way for society to determine whether or not someone is being abused. But individuals must forge their own paths regarding demanding or obtaining respect from each other. It reminds me of this component of Christianity – God doesn’t make it easy for us. We are allowed to love him or not. If he decided for us, it would mean nothing (or Predestination). It is seriously sad that we all don’t respect one another, but we can’t force it. We Can make it more difficult for people not assault one another.

Also – I’m sorry to give you all this extra info, but looking at Miley Cyrus’ fingernails, she’s not a lesbian. It’s also incorrect imo to compare her with Madonna. Madonna may be history now, but she was a true original and her influence lasted for decades. Miley is absolutely no comparison. In fact, because Madonna brought sex to the forefront, there’s little for a straight, average-looking, average-sounding white girl like Miley Cyrus to do, other than twerk or make some claim about her sexuality. It’s kinda sad for her, imo. I don’t care how many girls go to her shows, she’s no Madonna. I think Brittany Spears was getting there, the timing and lack of competition was right, but then she had her meltdown.


Miley Cyrus and Donald Trump. And I thought we would be comparing Marco Rubio and Hillary’s VP nominee Julian Castro by this time – lol.

#19 Comment By Joan On October 16, 2016 @ 9:22 pm

Now I’m confused. In my very limited understanding of Orthodox Christianity, I had the notion that “icon” means “an image through which a worshiper can form a spiritual connection to the divine.” Here, though, you seem to be using “icon” as a synonym for “condensed symbol,” having nothing to do with the divine.

[NFR: Surely you know that there are at least two senses of the word. If the media call someone a “fashion icon,” I don’t put on my Orthodox hat and wonder about the metaphysical connection between the Platonic realm of fashion and that model. I’m guessing that 99 percent of the people who use the word “icon” don’t do so in the Orthodox theological sense, or even know that such a thing exists. — RD]

#20 Comment By Potato On October 16, 2016 @ 10:37 pm

Wow reading this blog I might think most of this comes from Mars or something.

I’ve said stuff like this before, but all this worry worry about Sex Crazed Librals and the Immanent Destruction of Morality just doesn’t connect with my life at all.

Last night I went to a “gamers night” at the local middle school, in my capacity as owner and operator of a minecraft server. I met a bunch of middle school kids and a bunch of their parents.

I live in a small town notched into the Big City that is the SF Bay Area. Very very blue state. I raised 4 kids in this town, and last night I met a lot of the next generation of parents. In their 40’s mostly, very earnest, very energetic. Interestingly, maybe 1/3 of them are of Chinese origin. Not recently, you understand, not right off the boat. Two or three generations ago. I met a guy from India as well. Again, not recently. Recently he’s from Alabama.

They are pleasant, hardworking people who care deeply about their children and are working very hard to raise them well. I don’t imagine they are any more formally religious than any other similar crowd, which is to say, hardly at all.

Are they engaged in Wild Sex Orgies? Well, knowing the town and knowing their lives, I’d say that no way do they have the time, even were they so inclined, which they are not. We didn’t discuss politics, but I imagine they are as repelled by the current spectacles as everyone else is.

But meeting them you would never guess that Western civilization is about to go off the deep end.

Mostly because it isn’t.

#21 Comment By Joe the Plutocrat On October 17, 2016 @ 1:35 am

RD, I do not see Miley Cyrus (or Prince, or Madonna, or David Bowie) as being symbols of a revolution. These performers “symbolize” the EVOLUTION of androgyny and as others have noted, testing/challenging/moving the boundaries of INDIVIDUAL sexuality and gender identity. I am not struggling to understand your position, I am struggling to understand its relevance in TAC. To paraphrase Tom Petty, she’s a rebel without a clue.

#22 Comment By Nelson On October 17, 2016 @ 4:27 am

Good grief, how many times do I have to say that I’m talking about Miley Cyrus as a SYMBOL of our mass culture’s valorization of the polymorphously perverse.

Don Juan was also a culturally valorized SYMBOL of sexual perversion and that was what, 500 years ago? Historically speaking, today’s culture isn’t so bad. We’re even doing pretty good in some areas. And as far as USA Today is concerned, realize they exist to make money. Sensationalism sells. If there are 99 normal things and 1 perverse thing, they will print the perverse thing. It’s not something to get too worked up over.

#23 Comment By dan On October 17, 2016 @ 6:27 am

It would be wise to focus our sympathy on these characters (Trump, Cyrus, Clinton, etc) and our scorn on their sickness.

Anyone who tells us these folks aren’t sick (spiritually and philosophically) is also sick. We should be sympathetic to them as well, and we should have scorn for their false and empty worldview.

Can we manage to do this, walk and chew gum? Sympathy and Scorn? Its going to be pretty important to the success of the BenOp.

#24 Comment By carlo On October 17, 2016 @ 8:33 am

Susan,

trust me, pronouncing moral judgments about Miley Cyrus’s sex life (or anybody else’s) is VERY low on my list of priorities.

I just get extremely irritated when people tell me that because I think (and occasionally say) that certain behaviors are objectively destructive and confused, therefore I am trying to force my morality/religion/whatever on other people. And that’s what you wrote, as far as I recall.

#25 Comment By Sara On October 17, 2016 @ 10:47 am

>Our erotomaniacal post-Christian culture is embracing the Miley Cyrus model.

No, it’s not. Adherents to our post-Christian culture who know anything of Miley Cyrus agree with you that she is a nitwit.

#26 Comment By EarlyBird On October 17, 2016 @ 11:52 am

No matter how this election ends I will be starting my own third party which I expect will tap into the passions of a broad swath of the electorate: Americans For Keeping Miley Cyrus’s Tongue In Her Mouth, simply known as “Tonguies.”

Our platform is simple, straight forward: we wish to legally require Miley Cyrus to keep her tongue inside of her mouth at all times unless a.) she is having a formal throat examination in a doctor’s office, b.) or licking an ice cream cone. This endless flaunting of her tongue in public must stop.

#27 Comment By Jeremy Hickerson On October 17, 2016 @ 12:14 pm

While it may be true, we have no evidence that Bill Clinton or JFK assaulted women, or that they boasted about assaulting women.

We do have this evidence for Trump.

#28 Comment By Adrian Herrera On October 17, 2016 @ 12:17 pm

I am completely mystified why pansexualism is beyond the pale relative to homosexuality, according to Dreher. Once you have crossed the line of wanting reproduction-free sex, (or non-complementary, I suppose) what other line is there besides consent?

So yes, I think most liberal parents are fine with this.

#29 Comment By TA On October 17, 2016 @ 2:44 pm

It’s that USA Today and that LGBT organization held her up as a brave pioneer, “coming out” as a celebrity “pansexual” (= so horny she’ll screw anything that moves).

I don’t think you know what pansexual means. It just means that an individual has the potential to find anyone – men, women, androgynous, etc. – sexually attractive. It doesn’t mean that they therefore find any given individual attractive or that they engage in sex frequently or indiscriminately. Similarly, just being heterosexual doesn’t mean you find everyone of the opposite gender sexually attractive or that you are constantly trying to have sex with 50% of the population.

While it’s almost certainly not the case with Miley, there is no reason that a pansexual couldn’t marry someone of the opposite sex, be a virgin on their wedding night, and never have sex with another person as long as they live.

Or, to answer the point on “liberal parents”, if my child came out as pansexual I wouldn’t really care. However, if I discovered they were having indiscriminate, promiscuous sex, I would be concerned.

#30 Comment By Carlo On October 17, 2016 @ 4:52 pm

Adrian Herrera:

number

#31 Comment By Joan On October 17, 2016 @ 5:33 pm

If Miley Cyrus is a threat to civilization, why isn’t Elizabeth Gilbert? I mean, have you actually read Eat, Pray, Love? Most of the second chapter is all about how she tried the traditional way of life, the husband, the suburban house, and the getting off birth control and trying for a baby, and her emotions just weren’t co-operating. She writes “…every month when I got my period I would find myself whispering furtively in the bathroom: Thank you, thank you, thank you for giving me one more month to live.” (The italics are hers.) And similar thoughts about the husband and the house and the conventional upper middle class lifestyle. She was sneaking out of bed every night to hide in the bathroom and sob because she wanted so badly to “slip quietly out the back door, without any fuss or consequences, and then not stop running until [she] reached Greenland,” though in the daytime she would go back to crushing down her feelings and trying her flawed best to be the person she thought she was supposed to be. The rest of the book is about how, having never gotten pregnant, she sided with her emotions, ditched the house, the husband and the lifestyle, and embarked on a year of eating in Italy, praying in India and trying to do good (while falling in love with the man who became her second husband, the one she is now divorcing to marry a woman) in Indonesia, all the while struggling with clinical depression and writing down every twitch of her psyche with intent to get a book out of it, because that was why her publisher was paying for all this.

Eat, Pray, Love was a huge hit because it struck a chord with many American women, myself included, women to whom your beloved permanence looks like a great, yawning, dreadful trap. The Sexual Revolution is only half about the pursuit of sexual self-expression. The other half is about the right of anybody to leave anybody, the precious escape hatch. This is why it’s such a poor fit with the parent-child relationship, which is eighteen years of indissoluable, followed by a lifetime of blame for failing at a job that (by current standards) is impossible not to fail at. The great cis-het majority on the liberal-to-left side of the political spectrum is behind equality for every sexual and gender minority, no matter how tiny, because to do otherwise would be to concede that the traditionalists might have a point, and that’s the top of the slippery slope that leads back to the old life of duty and self-sacrifice and secretly crying in the bathroom, then coming out with a big phony smile, getting in bed with the husband and faking orgasm every night for the rest of our lives. Most of us would rather run the risk of growing old and dying alone.

#32 Comment By Patrick Gatti On October 17, 2016 @ 10:09 pm

I am confused Mr. Dreher. Are you arguing that the bizarre sex life of a self destructive minor singer is more a important than an unstable man’s hand on the nuclear trigger. This is really confusing.

[NFR: No. And I’m tired of explaining this. — RD]

#33 Comment By Craig On October 18, 2016 @ 7:07 pm

Cynical me suspects that Miley Cyrus’s comments are a calculated PR move, something intended to shock, to mark her as cutting edge and controversial, thereby keeping a singer of middling talent in the news and on the charts. Teen idols tend to have a short shelf life, and the people who manger her probably encourage this sort of thing.

#34 Comment By EngineerScotty On October 18, 2016 @ 8:29 pm

Eat, Pray, Love was a huge hit because it struck a chord with many American women, myself included, women to whom your beloved permanence looks like a great, yawning, dreadful trap. The Sexual Revolution is only half about the pursuit of sexual self-expression. The other half is about the right of anybody to leave anybody, the precious escape hatch. This is why it’s such a poor fit with the parent-child relationship, which is eighteen years of indissoluable, followed by a lifetime of blame for failing at a job that (by current standards) is impossible not to fail at.

For the guys:

[6]

And for the gals:

[7]

The trope of the married parent who discovers, at some point, that domestic life isn’t for them, and ends up leaving/committing suicide/suffering is an old one. While most family men and women, I suspect, are perfectly happy being a mom/dad and husband/wife, deprived of a life riding in sports cars through Paris with the wind in their hair–some people are simply miserable in such a life. I think it is, in general, a bad thing to force such people (whether legally or by cultural arm-twisting) into family life nonetheless–one good thing about the Sexual Revolution is that it has helped to give such people an out, so they DON’T leave the wreckage of an abandoned wife (or husband) and children behind. There are many people, after all, who are perfectly happy in domestic life.

OTOH, I don’t have terribly much sympathy for those who do have children and then do abandon them.

#35 Comment By Profwatson On October 24, 2016 @ 1:58 pm

“Conservatives who stand by Trump after these revelations are no better than the liberals who stood by Bill Clinton back in the 1990s”
Bill was a serial rapist, Trump talks dirty like a construction worker. If you don’t like Trump, then resign yourself to continue to be ruled like a slave. I choose Liberty.