Miley Cyrus on Syria


Not having had a daughter I missed the whole Hannah Montana phenomenon. So, I was taken aback at the angst from so many professionals on television, the Web, and in print to Ms. Cyrus’s rather mild display of raunch.

I say mild because over the course of my childhood in the 1960s and 1970s I saw a lot more raunch.  The classic moment amongst many was in the late 1960s or early 1970s when I was about 10.  The family had welcomed my younger sister into the household. She was and is a remarkably beautiful and vivacious person from her first moments. So sibling rivalry was in full swing early after her arrival.

In a desperate measure to avoid our constant battles, my parents  decided that the problems was driven by the Three Stooges, the venerable slapstick comedy from the 1930s. I was therefore permanently banned from watching the Three Stooges in the hopes that I would not imitate Larry, Moe, and Curly.

I simply trundled two blocks down the street to a friend’s house to watch unregulated television. But in my first lesson on unintended consequences, it was at this house while watching the Stooges that I also saw my first porn collection. My friend’s parents were consumers of Playboy and other magazines and it was here that I was first introduced to pictures of naked women and the writings of those professing enlightenment through orgies and sex without love.

Nothing Ms. Cyrus did the other night approached anything I casually reviewed as a pre-teen in a 1970s living room.

But what is more startling about the elitist blathering on the right and left, is that they miss the absolutely calculating and strategic decision of Ms. Cyrus. Faced with the fact that the she could hardly continue indefinitely dressing as a child and singing sugary silliness to pre-teens, she chose to become an adult celebrity. Knowing that it would increase both her fame, earning power, and celebrity staying power she engaged in raunchy behavior that  professional men and women who comment for a living find abhorrent.

Yes, she courts the fate of Lindsay Lohan and Brittany Spears, but she can also reach for the career of Madonna, Christina Aguilera, or Lady Gaga. There are risks in every profession. But I thought the women’s movement was about empowering women to chose their own path with their bodies, with their careers, and with their lives? The era of protecting women from risks was what I thought we had banished?

And what is worse is the same chattering elites acting as if they were the serial abusers of the 1950s screaming “slut”! A 20 year old young woman taking control of her brand, executing on a strategic plan, and achieving that goal is not “objectivizing” herself. She is doing exactly what male celebrities have done for centuries and increasingly successful women celebrities have pioneered in modern times.

And contrast that successful strategy, use of effective tactics to achieve a strategic goal, and measurable results to the President’s strategy in Syria. Is our strategy to remove President Assad and eliminate the root cause of the crisis? No. Is our strategy to deter chemical weapons use? Yes. Do we bomb the chemical weapons? No, you cannot do that without contaminating the neighborhood you are trying to protect.

Instead, we will bomb other valuable targets of the regime while collaterally killing  civilians we are protecting from chemical weapons. What do we do if the regime absorbs that, then uses chemical weapons again? Well, whatever we do we won’t get drawn in further, although I guess we would have to act then as well to show Assad you cannot get away with defying the US, …

It is not strategy.  It is gibberish.

Although Prime Minister Cameron lost his vote in Parliament on Thursday, he made a strong and clear case for intervention. He said clearly this was about deterring the use of chemical weapons. He argued that it was essential to halt their use and proliferation. He had the courage of his convictions to call Parliament back and initiate a full and open debate. He risked his  political career on a matter of conviction. And when he lost, he admitted it, he did not whine or insult anyone, and he did not blame the other party. He acted like a leader.

Which is the first step in developing a strategy.



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