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 Miles to Go by Miley Cyrus (and Hilary Liftin)

Joined: Fri Feb 02, 2007 11:47 am
Posts: 7216
Wed Dec 29, 2010 3:12 pm
(No formatting in this, sorry.)

This is my best attempt at writing something at least kinda journalism related, lol. This was a research paper I did for my AP English class. It got an A (the only A paper I've had all year), so hopefully that means it's pretty good? Haha.

The subject had to be how someone uses language to corrupt thought.

Miles to Go by Miley Cyrus (and Hilary Liftin)

She’s the idol of many. She’s a promising triple threat, with a strong voice, smooth moves, and an acting style perfect for a Disney Channel sitcom. The front inside cover of her book reads:

Three years ago, Miley Cyrus was a virtual unknown. Her life in rural Tennessee was filled with family, friends, school, cheerleading, and the daily tasks of living on a farm. And then came a little show called Hannah Montana. (Cyrus, and Liftin)

Fans pick up Miles to Go believing it will be an honest inside look into Miley’s life because it’s advertised as an autobiography. Haters decide to read it so that they can make fun of Miley and maybe, secretly, finally hear the innocent truth behind all of the rumors circulating around her. The casual indifferent reads it because it’s supposed to be spiritually uplifting. All find what they’re looking for in Miles to Go. All are being deceived. The book that claims to be an autobiography by one of the most famed teenagers of right now is actually penned by a ghost writer. It dramatizes events from Miley’s past and tones down her controversies. It makes Miley appear to be a victim of her own life who has managed to prevail in the face of adversity, which, in truth, she brought onto herself. She uses language to corrupt the thought of her fans and enemies alike. In her autobiography Miles to Go, Miley Cyrus sugarcoats her recent controversial decisions and promotes a false image of innocence by appearing to readers as down to earth and relatable through the use of a ghost writer.
    Although Miley Cyrus is undoubtedly talented, she is also undoubtedly prone to controversy. From posing in a bed sheet for a photo shoot at fifteen, to making music videos inappropriate for the wholesome Disney image her fans expect of her at seventeen, Miley is anything but pure. When compared to Britney Spears, who is known for being out of control and almost constantly in rehab for drug and alcohol abuse, she “choose[s] to take it as a compliment” (Quirk). When presented with the opportunity to discuss all of the rumors and debates brought up at the mere mention of her name, she skirts over the subject. “[S]he doesn't [even] mention the Vanity Fair photo controversy” (web citation). She instead dedicates entire chapters to talking about the depression she encountered when her acne got bad as she became a teenager, saying that:

One morning I couldn’t get out of bed. It was near the end of the second season of Hannah Montana… I would like to say it was exhaustion or the pressure of new fame, but that’s not why I couldn’t get out of bed on that particular morning. The truth was, I couldn’t get out of bed because my skin looked awful… How could I show up at work? I couldn’t let them film me looking like this. How could I go outside? I couldn’t let a fan take a photo of me… I couldn’t take it anymore. (Cyrus, and Liftin)

She goes on to discuss how haters on the internet like to bash her by bringing up her flaws, such as her acne and big ankles, spinning these petty issues into a large and horrible thing by going on about the depression brought on by them. Throughout Miles to Go, she discusses her strong belief in God and shares Bible passages, noting that one of the top seven things that make her sad is “people who don’t know Jesus” (Cyrus, Liftin). Meanwhile, in a book with a target audience of eight to twelve year old girls, she uses words such as (...) and (...). She does, however, admit to making mistakes. One of the top seven ways she’s not like Hannah Montana is that “[she’s] not perfect” (Cyrus, Liftin).
This is the underlying theme of the entire memoir, spanning every chapter and lesson imbued on readers throughout the entire “somewhat circuitous” (“Publishers Weekly”) piece. Miley makes mistakes. Miley is an innocent child. Miley is just like you.  She talks about how she was nervous the first few times she was to perform as Hannah in concert:

As I stood backstage on opening night, my blond wig was already itchy, hot, and sweaty. And I had to pee. Badly… Scottie Dog[, my stage manager,] signaled me, and I walked out to the microphone… Over 16,000 people were staring… at me… waiting for me to perform. I felt really little up there onstage. I was really little! Why should I be up there? (Cyrus, Liftin)

She at first discusses and then repeatedly returns to how she was bullied in middle school but triumphed over her adversaries, trying desperately to relate to her fans in any means possible. Disney, who she admits paid her to write the book, wants Miley to come across as a role model.
At one point, she goes into a tangent over how (....) (Cyrus, Liftin). When talking about clothing, she uses brand names such as “Forever 21 and Walmart” (Cyrus, Liftin), which are both rather parent-approved places to shop and both have been used by the Disney Channel wardrobe departments for various costumes. Miley spends a chapter talking about how her parents are “homebodies” and don’t like to go to wild parties, therefore raising her to be the same:

    They liked to be with each other and us. (Cyrus, Liftin)

This statement, however, can be brought into question since the recent split of her parents, who filed for divorce in October due to “irreconcilable differences” (web citation). Perhaps the most evident appeal to innocence is the section about her father making her Ovaltine (another parent-approved brand) to drink every morning, as opposed to many teens’ beverage of choice, coffee.
Reviews of Miles to Go glow about how Miley comes across as very personal throughout the memoir, especially through the use of “little notes included in the margins, like side notes in a conversation before you get back to the main point” and “breaks in the middle of the story telling with ‘seven things’ lists” (Amanda). Are these thoughts even Miley’s, though? Or perhaps they are the only words within the book that are truly hers. Miley wrote Miles to Go with a ghost writer named Hilary Liftin. All of the little jokes, references to how she’s a “normal girl”, and stories of being bullied in middle school are not the doing of Miley Cyrus, but of someone else impersonating her. Miley never led as normal of a life as the book makes her out to have. In an interview, Miley even negates the claim of ever having had a normal life:

I didn't really know anything [but fame]. Because of my dad, I was always home schooled, I would go on tour with my dad… I didn't really know what a 'normal' life was. So when people ask me if I miss it, you can't really miss anything you don't know. I never really was just a kid, I guess. (List)

Reviewers speak of how they were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the writing, and many finished the book believing that Miley was a much better person than they believed her to be when they began, which was the purpose of the autobiography in the first place. Miles to Go is well written because it is written by a professional writer. Miley appears to be an angel because, generally, that’s what her Hannah Montana fans want to read.
    Who is Miley Cyrus? Certainly not the innocent and relatable girl portrayed in her autobiography. A paragraph in the introduction reads:

Am I right-handed? Am I left-handed? Am I neither? Am I a singer, or an actor? Am I a public person, or am I a private person? Why can’t I be all these things? I’m on TV. I’m writing a book. But I also love staying at home with my family. And I feel alone – in a good way – inside my head. Am I the person you know from television, photographs, even this book? Or are we all, each of us, more elusive, and harder to define? Who am I to say? (Cyrus, and Liftin)

This is just another example of Miley using words to corrupt thought. This passage brainwashes her readers into believing every word she says. Yes, she may present contradicting views when in a live interview compared to those in this book, but that’s okay because she’s too complicated to nail down to one definition. If a reader thinks she may be lying or twisting the truth in order to uphold with her squeaky clean Disney image, that’s fine, too, because no one knows who she truly is and what the truth truly is. It’s a built in, roundabout excuse for everything without actually excusing a single action. Who is Miley Cyrus? The answer is not contained in Miles to Go.

Wowww, that looks like one big block of text.

NOTE: If anyone reads this and is all "Stop hating on Miley!" or whatever, you should know that I used to be a HUUUGE Miley Cyrus fan but I'm just sick of her antics at this point, and I'm sick of Disney trying to plug her fans so much. Hannah Montana's been my favorite TV show since in premiered in sixth grade (I'm now a junior in high school) and my first major concert was the Best of Both Worlds tour. I love who Miley was when she was twelve and innocent, but at this point she's just a bad role model and too obsessed with growing up.
End rant. :P


Happy Holidays!! :D

Message Edited by Write_It_Moderator on 01-02-2011 07:12 PM

 Re: Miles to Go by Miley Cyrus (and Hilary Liftin)

Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 3:40 pm
Posts: 1069
Sat Jan 22, 2011 9:54 pm
I was never a Miley Cyrus Fan. This was amazing by the way, and very well written. And best of all, thats true.

 Re: Miles to Go by Miley Cyrus (and Hilary Liftin)

Joined: Thu May 12, 2016 2:05 pm
Posts: 52
Wed May 25, 2016 4:19 pm

So true! 

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