Sunday, May 26, 2013

Rights of Passage: Miley Cyrus, Amanda Bynes and Marijuana

Miley Cyrus's new look in V Magazine  
Filmed in 2010 but not released until 2012, LOL starring Miley Cyrus has an rather interesting take on marijuana—until it gets preachy. And like her recent photo in "V" magazine (left), Cyrus doesn't quite let her pants down in the film (now viewable on Netflix).

In one scene from LOL, two teens and four grown ups get together for a dinner party. The teens (Cyrus as Lola and Jean-Luc Bilodeau as Jeremy) make an excuse to go to his room instead of eating with the old folks. "We aren't interested in your senior conversations," Lola says. A bit miffed, one of the adults responds, "We aren't interested in your teenage conversations." Notice that the two groups aren't communicating.

After the kids leave, the Dad—whose nod to hippiedom is a beard and a friendship bracelet—lights a joint and passes it to his three female companions, starting with Demi Moore. Moore's character emphatically states that her daughter doesn't smoke, and that she has never smoked in front of her. As for Jeremy, his mother says, "Don't worry, Jeremy hates drugs." Cut to: Jeremy in his room with Lola, exhaling a bong full. He wears a chunky hemp necklace, but Miley's character neither wears nor smokes hemp.

Demi Moore accepts and tokes a joint in LOL
Knowing that the ONDCP has had input into network TV shows, one can only imagine what Hays Code-style forces hatched this LOL subplot: Moore meets a hot narcotics officer, who gives an anti-pot talk at Lola's school. Flashed on the screen are pictures of brains supposedly representing the effects of long-term marijuana use, from a bogus organization called Organization for a Drug-Free World. Another slide claims that those who are heavy users of cannabis at age 18 are 600 times more likely to develop schizophrenia(!) After the talk, Moore's hypocritical, pot-puffing mom admonishes her daughter to take heed of the scaremongering, and the cop asks (or rather, demands) that Moore have a drink with him, in the middle of the day.

A possible sly commentary on the brain slides, coupled with the old PDFA "fried egg" ads, is contained in the amusing sequence showing the kids being served strange foods by French families on a field trip. "It's a pity, she hasn't even eaten her brain," one French mother says. Later, the parents' pot-smoking dinner party scene is reprised, with the cop sitting at the table as the joint is passed. "I only use it for my sciatica," the Dad lies, as though that makes him virtuous.

Slide from an anti-drug assembly in LOL
LOL saw limited release and grossed only $10 million worldwide, with a budget of $11 million. Wanna bet it would have made more money had Cyrus toked herself in the film, and it was released the year it was made, when she was in the news for smoking "salvia"? This may be the most scandalous interference in a career over marijuana since Spiro Agnew personally called radio stations and asked them not to play Brewer and Shipley's song "One Toke Over the Line."

Being a child star entering young adulthood is a tough gig. Just watch Inside Daisy Clover or observe the latest antics of Amanda Bynes, who allegedly threw a bong out of her New York apartment building window after someone called the cops on her for smoking a joint in the lobby (she denies the charge).

Parents these days can be as stupid as kids: A 9/11 call was placed from Moore's home in January 2012 after she went out partying with her daughter and smoked "Spice," a foolish thing to do, especially in combination with Adderall and Red Bull, as she reportedly did. The latest news is that she's back to yoga and has another young boyfriend.

Are we ever going to grow up about pot? Or will parents just continue to pretend they never smoked it, and let their children learn the worst possible behaviors around it from their peers, who know that the government is feeding them bullshit, but aren't always able to find the way to a higher truth on their own?

UPDATE 6/19/13: Cyrus says she's happy to live in California, "a place where you can be what you want to be" and calls alcohol "way more dangerous than marijuana" in an upcoming edition of Rolling Stone. A forthcoming edition of Marijuana is SAFER: So Why Are We Driving People To Drink? ought to spark more of a debate.

1 comment:

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