Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage from

Miley Cyrus has a problem

By Dean Obeidallah
November 16, 2013 -- Updated 1559 GMT (2359 HKT)
Miley Cyrus became a household name for families when her Disney Channel television show, "Hannah Montana," premiered in 2006. From there, Cyrus quickly rose to pop star fame and has been changing her appearance ever since. Miley Cyrus became a household name for families when her Disney Channel television show, "Hannah Montana," premiered in 2006. From there, Cyrus quickly rose to pop star fame and has been changing her appearance ever since.
HIDE CAPTION
Evolution of Miley Cyrus
Evolution of Miley Cyrus
Evolution of Miley Cyrus
Evolution of Miley Cyrus
Evolution of Miley Cyrus
Evolution of Miley Cyrus
Evolution of Miley Cyrus
Evolution of Miley Cyrus
Evolution of Miley Cyrus
Evolution of Miley Cyrus
Evolution of Miley Cyrus
Evolution of Miley Cyrus
Evolution of Miley Cyrus
Evolution of Miley Cyrus
Evolution of Miley Cyrus
Evolution of Miley Cyrus
Evolution of Miley Cyrus
Evolution of Miley Cyrus
Evolution of Miley Cyrus
Evolution of Miley Cyrus
Evolution of Miley Cyrus
Evolution of Miley Cyrus
Evolution of Miley Cyrus
Evolution of Miley Cyrus
Evolution of Miley Cyrus
Evolution of Miley Cyrus
Evolution of Miley Cyrus
Evolution of Miley Cyrus
Evolution of Miley Cyrus
Evolution of Miley Cyrus
Evolution of Miley Cyrus
Evolution of Miley Cyrus
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Dean Obeidallah: Like many stars, Miley Cyrus is addicted to fame
  • Obeidallah: There is no incentive for Miley to change, but what path will she take?
  • He says Miley should follow the likes of Lady Gaga, who use fame to fight for social justice
  • Obeidallah: It's a win-win situation; the media will love Miley all the more for it

Editor's note: Dean Obeidallah, a former attorney, is a political comedian and frequent commentator on various TV networks including CNN. He is the co-director of the new comedy documentary "The Muslims Are Coming!" It was released recently. Follow him on Twitter @deanofcomedy.

(CNN) -- Miley Cyrus is an addict. The "drug" she can't get enough of is potentially one of the most dangerous ones out there: Fame.

I bet that Miley won't even be upset with me saying this about her. Why? Because her name is in the headline of this article. And on some level, I -- along with others in the media -- am enabling her addiction.

But Miley is not the only person who craves fame. America is filled with people like Miley. Just watch any "Real Housewives of_____," "American Idol" auditions, "The X Factor," etc. Even I enjoy making appearances on cable TV. Of course, I don't appear on these shows like Cyrus, scantily clad with my tongue hanging out and twerking nonstop. (And I'm sure not many people would want to see me do that.)

Dean Obeidallah
Dean Obeidallah

Miley may only be 20 years old, but she has mastered the game of manipulating the media to follow her every move. She did it in August at the MTV Music Awards when she dry-humped singer Robin Thicke.

She followed it up in September with the release of her music video, "Wrecking Ball," in which she appeared naked while swinging on a wrecking ball. And just this past weekend she lit up a marijuana joint and smoked it during MTV's European Awards telecast. Granted, the awards show was held in Amsterdam, where marijuana is legal. In fact, there's even a Museum of Marijuana over there.

Would Miley have smoked pot on a U.S. TV show, in violation of the law? Maybe. In order for Miley to get her fame fix, she'll need to come up with more and more outrageous antics.

There really is no incentive for Miley to change her ways. After all, she isn't doing it for the money -- her net worth is estimated to be $120-150 million. But rather, she would do it for the high of seeing her name in the headlines.

Miley smokes a joint on MTV awards show
Miley Effect: Bright idea or fallen star?
Marie Osmond on Miley Cyrus, "twerking"

At this point, there are a few paths Miley can take.

She can follow the footsteps of fame junkies like Donald Trump and Sarah Palin and become nothing more than a walking punch line.

She can sadly go down the trail of young stars whose lives tragically ended at an early age because fame -- or the loss of it -- was too painful to endure.

Or -- and this is my sincere hope -- Miley can follow the lead of fame addicts who use their name recognition to call attention to pressing social or political issues and push for positive change. A good example of this type of person is Lady Gaga.

Lady Gaga loves fame. The lyrics of her new hit song "Applause" makes this point abundantly clear. "I live for the applause ... Live for the way that you cheer and scream for me."

We've seen Gaga wear a dress made of real meat and be carried to an awards show in a large egg pod. Just this week, at the release party for her new album, she wore a dress that had mini-helicopter-type rotors attached to it so she could fly around the room.

But Lady Gaga has also used her fame for more than just self-promotion. This week while Miley Cyrus was smoking a joint on stage, Lady Gaga was opening up about her addiction to marijuana. She admitted that at one time she smoked 15-20 joints a day. She talked about her struggles in overcoming addiction.

Gaga offered a sobering cautionary tale for young people that marijuana may turn out to be more than recreational fun -- it could consume your life.

And for years, Lady Gaga has used her fame to sway public opinion on gay rights. She called on President Obama to support marriage equality years before he finally did. She also pushed for an end to the military's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Of course, while she was advocating for changes she was getting plenty of media coverage. It's a win-win situation.

So, Miley, twerk all you want, but in between your publicity binges, why not also talk about issues that demand more attention, such as domestic violence, child poverty, gun safety, etc.? Think of it as: "Twerking for a cause." Believe me, the press will love it and so will the people you are helping.

Follow @CNNOpinion on Twitter.

Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Dean Obeidallah.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 1, 2014 -- Updated 1221 GMT (2021 HKT)
Carlos Moreno says atheists, a sizable fraction of Americans, deserve representation in Congress.
August 31, 2014 -- Updated 1625 GMT (0025 HKT)
Julian Zelizer says Democrats and unions have a long history of mutual support that's on the decline. But in a time of income inequality they need each other more than ever
August 31, 2014 -- Updated 0423 GMT (1223 HKT)
William McRaven
Peter Bergen says Admiral William McRaven leaves the military with a legacy of strategic thinking about special operations
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1611 GMT (0011 HKT)
Leon Aron says the U.S. and Europe can help get Russia out of Ukraine by helping Ukraine win its just war, sharing defense technologies and intelligence
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1724 GMT (0124 HKT)
Timothy Stanley the report on widespread child abuse in a British town reveals an institutional betrayal by police, social services and politicians. Negligent officials must face justice
August 30, 2014 -- Updated 0106 GMT (0906 HKT)
Peter Bergen and David Sterman say a new video of an American suicide bomber shows how Turkey's militant networks are key to jihadists' movement into Syria and Iraq. Turkey must stem the flow
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 1516 GMT (2316 HKT)
Whitney Barkley says many for-profit colleges deceive students, charge exorbitant tuitions and make false promises
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1434 GMT (2234 HKT)
Mark O'Mara says the time has come to decide whether we really want police empowered to shoot those they believe are 'fleeing felons'
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 1432 GMT (2232 HKT)
Bill Frelick says a tool of rights workers is 'naming and shaming,' ensuring accountability for human rights crimes in conflicts. But what if wrongdoers know no shame?
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 0243 GMT (1043 HKT)
Jay Parini says, no, a little girl shouldn't fire an Uzi, but none of should have easy access to guns: The Second Amendment was not written to give us such a 'right,' no matter what the NRA says
August 30, 2014 -- Updated 1722 GMT (0122 HKT)
Terra Ziporyn Snider says many adolescents suffer chronic sleep deprivation, which can indeed lead to safety problems. Would starting school an hour later be so wrong?
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1330 GMT (2130 HKT)
Peggy Drexler says after all the celebrity divorces, it's tempting to ask the question. But there are still considerable benefits to getting hitched
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1849 GMT (0249 HKT)
The death of Douglas McAuthur McCain, the first American killed fighting for ISIS, highlights the pull of Syria's war for Western jihadists, writes Peter Bergen.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 2242 GMT (0642 HKT)
Former ambassador to Syria Robert Ford says the West should be helping moderates in the Syrian armed opposition end the al-Assad regime and form a government to focus on driving ISIS out
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1321 GMT (2121 HKT)
Ruben Navarrette says a great country does not deport thousands of vulnerable, unaccompanied minors who fled in fear for their lives
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1319 GMT (2119 HKT)
Robert McIntyre says Congress is the culprit for letting Burger King pay lower taxes after merging with Tim Hortons.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 2335 GMT (0735 HKT)
Wesley Clark says the U.S. can offer support to its Islamic friends in the region most threatened by ISIS, but it can't fight their war
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 2053 GMT (0453 HKT)
America's painful struggle with racism has often brought great satisfaction to the country's rivals, critics, and foes. The killing of Michael Brown and its tumultuous aftermath has been a bonanza.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 1919 GMT (0319 HKT)
Rick Martin says the death of Robin Williams brought back memories of his own battle facing down depression as a young man
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 1558 GMT (2358 HKT)
David Perry asks: What's the best way for police officers to handle people with psychiatric disabilities?
August 25, 2014 -- Updated 1950 GMT (0350 HKT)
Julian Zelizer says it's not crazy to think Mitt Romney would be able to end up at the top of the GOP ticket in 2016
August 25, 2014 -- Updated 2052 GMT (0452 HKT)
Roxanne Jones and her girlfriends would cheer from the sidelines for the boys playing Little League. But they really wanted to play. Now Mo'ne Davis shows the world that girls really can throw.
August 25, 2014 -- Updated 2104 GMT (0504 HKT)
Kimberly Norwood is a black mom who lives in an affluent neighborhood not far from Ferguson, but she has the same fears for her children as people in that troubled town do
August 22, 2014 -- Updated 2145 GMT (0545 HKT)
It apparently has worked for France, say Peter Bergen and Emily Schneider, but carries uncomfortable risks. When it comes to kidnappings, nations face grim options.
ADVERTISEMENT