Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I Didn't Know What I was Doing

When I first heard Miley Cyrus, AKA Hannah Montana, apologize for the photos in Vanity Fair, I thought she might have been a girl taken advantage of by the magazine or the photographer. She said in a published statement, "I took part in a photo shoot that was supposed to be 'artistic,' and now, seeing the photographs and reading the story, I feel so embarrassed," Miley, the daughter of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, told the press this week. "I never intended for any of this to happen, and I apologize to my fans who I care so deeply about."

Poor little girl, I thought, until I saw the cover shot taken by celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz that shows the girl in profile clutching a blanket to her chest with her back bare. Miley posed for the picture, but had no idea that it might be a bit sexy? Come on. One does not take off her clothes in a room full of people and not have an inkling that maybe that was going just a bit too far.

It has been reported that the questionable photos were shot after Miley's parents left the site of the photo shoot, but there were other people there who were supposed to be looking out for the girl's best interest. What were they thinking. Not only is this whole mess a huge blemish on the sweet, innocent image Disney has tried to maintain for Hannah Montana, who in their right mind would let a young teenage girl assume such a grown up pose?

Commentary that I have read in the newspapers and on the Web suggest that this whole fiasco may have been a marketing move gone wrong. I tend to agree. And now the scramble is on to see if anything can be salvaged from the mess.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Let The Games Begin

As a newspaper columnist for many years, I have had ample opportunities to reflect on the Olympic Games and their significance in the overall scheme of things, but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine what is happening regarding the Olympic Torch Relay.

The torch to me is a symbol of peace and a willingness to let go of petty differences, and not so petty differences, between nations and peoples to celebrate the achievements of great athletes from across the world. This year the symbol is tainted by protests that have gotten so violent that athletes have not been able to run, and many people have been arrested in London and Paris.

I agree that China’s record on human rights stinks, and I also agree that the International Olympic Committee could have picked a better site for the 2008 Summer Games than Beijing. What I don’t agree with is using violent protests to make a statement.

Even the Dalai Lama has asked people to stop the violent protests.

And for the sake of the games and the athletes who have been training for years for this opportunity to compete, I don’t think anyone should boycott the Summer Olympics. Politics has no place in the Olympics. It says so right in the Olympic Charter

So let’s find another way to let China know how much we deplore some of the government’s actions, especially in Tibet, and let the athletes have their day.