Behind the Music: the Norvell marital dynamic

The following scene unfolded a few minutes ago:

Amy and I were sitting in bed with Amy watching "Idol Gives Back" (the big American Idol charity show) and me doing miscellaneous meaningless stuff online (assuming you categorize working to defend my fantasy baseball championship as meaningless, and I know most of you do).

As the Idol folks drag through various celebrity stump speeches about how we should give more money to people in Africa and New Orleans, I insert assorted smarmy comments (not about people in Africa or New Orleans). I mean, can you blame me? I was exposed to Hannah Montana (playing some other character who uses her real name, apparently) for the first time (along with her achy breaky daddy).

So Amy tolerates my scintillating wit for a bit, then reaches over, puts her hand on my arm, and says "I can’t take it tonight."

I look back at her innocently.

She gestures at the macbook in my lap and says, "Go blog something sarcastic." What?

But speaking of Hannah Montana…really? Is this really still happening? Are people still encouraging their children (she’s 15, I think) to be famous? Are men really allowing their daughters to purport to be a wholesome example for young girls, then get on stage and sing very adult songs in very adult ways with their cleavage exposed? What the hell, Billy Ray?

I mean, here’s a dude who should know better. Don’t tell me Billy Ray Cyrus isn’t intimately acquainted with the dark, fickle side of "rich and famous." Yet he not only allows this; he appears to be rolling Joe Simpson on us. And if there was any doubt about that, it was erased in a video segment of he and his daughter, Hannah Ray Montana, wandering around rural Kentucky teaching kids to read or something. I think I prefer the mulleted Billy Ray to the "desperately trying to look cool weird rock stair haircut fake tan almost 50-year old Billy Ray." Yikes.

And please don’t let my sarcasm obscure this fact – this makes me both angry and sad. This script has played out over and over, and rarely well. I have two daughters. This is why (well, one of the "whys") I don’t want them getting attached to any of the popular teen-idol phenoms, no matter how wholesome or innocuous they seem. Britney played the good girl routine out of the gates. So did Jessica. How is that working out for parents who saw them as harmless?

I know I don’t know what I’m talking about with this girl. I’d never really seen her before this thing, and it obviously wasn’t her main thing. I just know this…it’s way past time we start protecting our kids from both ends of fame — from being famous and from being enamored with famous people, especially famous kids.

8 thoughts on “Behind the Music: the Norvell marital dynamic

  1. i was watching the same thing that night, and also had not seen miley (hannah montana) before either. i was very surprised at how “mature” her performance was for her age. what is she, 15 years old? your musings put into words the jumbled thoughts i had in my head about it. having my own little girl, i wonder what will come out in the future that i will need to protect her from. it’s good to be aware of who’s out there and what they’re promoting. thanks for posting about this.

  2. i just like that Amy said she could not take it that night – and that you looked at her innocently – funny stuff

  3. Can you also write a blog about the same Idol Gives Back when Snoop Dogg sang about reaching out to starving and homeless families, all while wearing some gigantic diamond hand decor and $600 sunglasses?

  4. Thad,
    I normally agree with all your comments. However, I must disagree with your Hannah Montana comments. As a dad, who has seen her in concert twice now, stayed up for hours to buy tickets online (before the price skyrockets), drove in a blizzard (8 inches in 2 hours with 30 mph winds) to get to one of her shows, wore ear plugs to avoid all the pre-teens girls screaming at the Jonas Brothers and Miley, I can say it was enjoyable show. I have never been to a “kid” show that sold beer…perhaps that’s why it was so enjoyable. It was a GNO!

  5. I normally watch Idol, but I skipped the Idol Gives Back night (a wise move on my part since I heard it was 2 1/2 hours long). But I did get my exposure to Hannah Montana on an interview with Barbara Walters around the time of the Oscars. That was bad enough. Now I can’t stand the sight of her. (Oh, and she drank ketchup from the bottle on Jay Leno, just because she likes to–now that’s someone for our young ones to idolize.)

  6. Thad, very good post regarding Miley Cyrus. I saw “Idol Give Backs” and had the same reaction. This is why we homeschool, live on 5 acres with no cable nor satellite TV. As parents and first educators of our children, it is our responsibility to protect the purity of our children. I simply do not understand the rush to take away our children’s innocence. What’s so wrong with just letting children be children?
    This does not mean we live in a bubble and have no outside relationships. We have a beautiful church family and playgroup, soccer and baseball league friends, not to mention library storytime friends. All this and we can still have A LOT of control over what they hear and learn because as parents, we are always with them in these very early informative years. Obviously letting go is hard, but when the times comes, and it is coming faster than we would like, at least we will know we did all we could to instill a strong faith and character in each of our children during their most informative years.

  7. So, after our recent musings over email, I decided to give your blog a look. I like this post. I think you actually told me this story b/c the part where Amy tells you
    “not tonight” is very familiar. But then of course you know we are right there with you on the protecting your kids thing. That is why we are so happy to be in community with you. Also, I second Michael’s comment.

  8. Thad,
    First, I laugh that Amy gets annoyed with you just like I get annoyed with Ryan. Although not to up to your standard, he is also quite cynical.
    HOWEVER, I must disagree with you on Hannah Montana. I HEART her very very much. No, I don’t research her or her family life, but Elle loves the show, and secretly, Ryan and I do, too. It’s cute, very innocent, and actually funny. It’s geared more towards younger girls, but even some of my high schoolers watch it (secretly, of course). Anyway, I think she is great, and until she starts the Simpson or Britney thing, I’m not gonna diss. I’m just saying.
    Also, I saw her on Oprah (yes, I watch Oprah and am NOT going to hell), and she actually quoted scripture. Yep, right there to the way new age Oprah and audience. She quoted the scripture about the armor of God (yes, I should have this memorized, but I never did too well in Bible Drill. I’m sure it’s in Galatians somewhere.). So, now, yes, you can diss me for 1)watching Oprah and 2)watching HM instead of memorizing scripture, BUT I just wanted to put another perspective on here.
    Don’t go hatin’, G because “Life’s what you make it, so let’s make it ROCK!” Yes, I’m laughing at myself right now. I hope you can find a little humor in it, too.
    jen ross (that is stribble to you!)

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