Miley Cyrus' Candid Drug Use Confession Makes Us Cringe, But It Shouldn't
Let's be honest: America has a drug problem. I don't mean an issue of addiction, but instead a deeply rooted problem to do with how we talk about drugs. In her latest drug-confession filled Rolling Stone interview, Miley Cyrus made us cringe once again with her seemingly compulsive need to share her drug-related wisdom with us, because, ya know, she's an adult now, guys, and being a grown-up means doing drugs... or something.
Anyhow, it brought to mind the dichotomy we the public employ when it comes to discussing drugs, or how honest celebrities are allowed to be, and sometimes both. We complain about the scrubbed-clean PR machine approach to celebrity, but when someone like Miley Cyrus comes clean about her drug use, we are almost unanimously disdainful. We crave insider knowledge of how stars live and what they do, but god forbid they tell us, because then we suddenly morph into prim old ladies, unwilling to confront the fact that the majority of people Miley's age have exposure to drugs.
Yes, she grew up on the Disney Channel, so it could well be that that gut-feeling of revulsion we have when she gets naked or talks about all the drugs she's done is due to the fact that we watched her turn from a PG-rated Disney princess to a very X-rated pop star in a short period of time. But I don't really think that's the issue, as Selena Gomez, Lindsay Lohan, Ashley Tisdale and countless others have made the transformation from Disney star to fully-fledged celebrity without half the drama or belly-aching.
Miley Cyrus is giving us exactly what we want, the honest-to-goodness truth, and how are we responding? By making fun of her, calling her crazy and watching with a less-than-vague sense of superiority as she theoretically runs her dignity into the ground.
Miley Cyrus is my age, and I know from experience that people my age do drugs. If they do a lot of drugs, often (and some do), it seems to produce a need to talk about the drugs they do, how they feel about them, and how cool they think the drugs make them look. It's the too-much-Molly syndrome, and my bet is that the vast majority of them/us will grow out of it. We're impressionable, inexperienced and trying desperately to figure out how to be adults, and that means that sometimes, we young 20-somethings act like dick heads. Including Miley Cyrus.
And OK, acting like dick heads for most of us doesn't involve swinging naked on top of a wrecking ball, but it may involve getting so stoned that you don't wake up as you're being peed on by a friend in an Amsterdam hostel. I can personally tick that esteemed box, so the point is that shit happens. If we can't listen to Miley Cyrus discuss her drug habits publicly, how on earth are we ever going to have honest conversations about drug use with the next generation of young and dumb 20-somethings?
Additionally, the drugs Miley has endorsed are, comparatively, less terrible for you than the ones she didn't. Doing any drug is worse for your health than not doing it, but MDMA and weed have been proven to cause significantly less long term brain damage, so weird as it is to say, if Miley is going to do drugs, and then talk about them, she could be doing much worse.
Considering the miserable state of the War On Drugs that our fine country is so taken with, it seems important to take note of the discomfort that Miley Cyrus's admissions cause, and analyze why it's there, and whether it is appropriate, instead of immediately putting her on the cross for having the balls to be straight with her fans.
Personally, where I want to stand ideologically and where I stand emotionally are two different things. Miley Cyrus's behavior, from the VMA performance to this new round of drug confessions, has made me profoundly uncomfortable. Yet I think it's important, and somewhat admirable that she is using the public sphere to explore her youth and her fame.
She's giving us the hard truth, whether or not we want it, and that is brave, no matter what your personal opinions are. America needs to talk about drugs, and god knows we're talking about Miley Cyrus, so if the two are a package deal, well, there are worse things.