Oh Billy Ray, we should have known! You’ve been riding Miley’s coattails from on top of her butt the whole time! Who parlayed his has been bad actor status into a prime role on his daughter’s TV show? You did. Who made a normally inoffensive slightly-sexy photoshoot turn into a massive scandal that stank a bit of incest? You did. And now, who claimed that the fame and fortune that he fought so desperately to cling to has ruined his life? You did. Oh, Billy Ray, it’s really all so predictable.
But here’s the thing, I’m starting to think it was predictable to everyone BUT him. While the only quotes getting publicized from a recent GQ article have to do with Cyrus’ belief that “Hannah Montana” tore apart his family which is then supported by his Christian values (coincidentally the People’s Church of Franklin, TN where I took some standardized tests in high school) that show his belief that Satan his making life hard for his family. This sounds weird to some, but he sounds just like an average southerner to me. And average southerner who tried to take the blame for all of his daughter’s mishaps, until he realized it was making him look bad.
Contextualizing this within the rest of the interview paints a very different picture. When talking about why he’s worried about Miley, he remembers the time he met and talked to Kurt Cobain.
He doesn’t seem to necessarily debate his own greatness, or lack thereof, as someone who is being referred to as “Mr. Hannah Montana” with his “Achy Broken Heart” in the title of the piece. Instead, he’s taking people he met and cared about as cautionary tales, as more people in Hollywood might do well to do as well.
And later, author Chris Heath points out that, from Cyrus’ point of view, it all makes perfect sense for him.
Having lived in the Nashville-area for awhile, specifically Franklin, I’ve had a few of my own Cyrus encounters. I remember walking by a table at a restaurant where there was a little girl looking like a princess in her Sunday best and having my waiter tell me it was Billy Ray and his family. Later, I would assume that princess-child was Miley, I still don’t know that I’m right. But the only story of substance I ever heard was when my friend’s dad played some guitar on a track for Cyrus. Apparently, within the first 15 minutes he was asking him to bring his son over to ride four-wheelers.
In short, I’m finding it hard to believe he’s a bad guy. Maybe he’s not the brightest. But who can blame him for being a little dramatic? His little girl just had her first drug controversy and she’s not even 21 yet.
A couple of years ago, I had a student who went on a rant in class about how much they hated Miley Cyrus. I protected her and told him it was kinda ridiculous to have so much hate for a 16 year old. He backed off when he saw it that way. But Billy Ray lived through a giant mullet-sized backlash and maybe he’s just still reeling from it. Maybe he’s not such a bad guy after it’s said and done.
But in the paparazzi-fied celebrity-gossip world that this is all coming from, I’m starting to wonder, does it matter either way? Does anyone even know the truth?
What do you think? Do you care?