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Old Jewish Men Have Valuable Advice for Miley Cyrus

by terrylicious

Singer Miley Cyrus at her “Bangerz” record release signing at Planet Hollywood in Times… Read More

The chanteuse Miley Cyrus, a subject of much controversy these past several weeks, mainly owing to her performance at the MTV “Video Music Awards” (among other things, she mimicked masturbation with an oversized foam finger, twerked, and, unforgivably, sexualized teddy bears), is unhappy, despite her temporal success, with some of the advice she has lately received.

In an interview with something called Hunger TV, she complained that unnamed senior corporate types are “out of touch” with the desires of today’s youth. “With magazines, with movies, it’s always weird when things are targeted for young people, yet they’re driven by people that are, like, 40 years too old.” She went on, “It can’t be like this 70-year-old Jewish man that doesn’t leave his desk all day, telling me what the clubs want to hear.”

I was saddened by this comment, because she carries the name of one of the great heroes of Jewish history — the Persian Emperor Cyrus the Great, who freed the Jews from Babylonian captivity — and also because, in my experience, 70-year-old Jewish men (and 80-year-old Jewish men) are often sources of great wisdom and counsel. Cyrus’s career, as Slate’s John Dickerson recently suggested on Twitter, is evidence of the moral, spiritual and creative exhaustion of much of American culture, and her comment made me think that she could stand to listen to some wise thoughts from old Jewish men.

I asked three friends — Erica Brown, a widely respected Torah teacher in Washington; Rabbi David Wolpe, of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles; and Rabbi Andy Bachman, of Congregation Beth Elohim in New York — to share with me some relevant quotations.

Wolpe offered these, from the late Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and the late non-rabbi Saul Bellow. Heschel: “Self-respect is the root of discipline: The sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself.” And Bellow: “You can spend the entire second half of your life recovering from the mistakes of the first half.”

Brown offered this, from the founder of Reconstructionist Judaism, Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan: “To believe in God means to take for granted that it is man’s destiny to rise above the brute and to eliminate all forms of violence and exploitation from human society.” And this, from David Ben-Gurion: “Thought is a strenuous art — few practice it, and then only at rare times.”

Bachman suggested these words from Judah HaNasi: “Three things shorten a person’s days and years: Being given a Torah scroll to read and refusing to read it, being given a cup of blessing to say grace and refusing to say it, and taking on airs of authority.” Along the same lines, he suggested this from Simeon ben Eliazer: “If young people say to you, ‘Build the Temple,’ do not heed them. But if elders say to you, ‘Destroy the Temple,’ heed them. For building done by young people may be equivalent to destruction, while the destruction done by old people is equivalent to building.”

Bachman went on to explain by e-mail the meaning embedded in this quote. “Miley might do well to look at the landscape of hubris-infused rock stars who tumble into self-destruction, usually out of a misunderstood sense of their own power and popularity (dangerous addictions in their own right that only get worse when drugs and alcohol get mixed in).”

I would offer Cyrus three more thoughts, from old Jews who have succeeded in her industry.

From Leonard Cohen: “The older I get, the surer I am that I’m not running the show.” Cohen also made this wise statement: “When you stop thinking about yourself all the time, a certain sense of repose overtakes you.”

Bob Dylan, in “Love Minus Zero, No Limit,” sang, “In the dime stores and bus stations/ People talk of situations/ Read books, repeat quotations/ Draw conclusions on the wall/ Some speak of the future/ My love she speaks softly/ She knows there’s no success like failure/ And that failure’s no success at all.”

 

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  • Mocha Man

    If music videos had never been introduced, most of these singers would die of starvation thanks to minimal sales.

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  • anti NWO

    Freedom for Palestine !!!!!!

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  • Adrian Reef

    thanx for the moderation…………..
    now,GO SELL YOUR GOLD…..

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  • Muhammad Abbass

    Fascinating thought given just who is behind the collapse in morality and standards to which Miley is catering with their phenomenal control of the media, entertainment and art as well as governments, education and mental health syllabi.

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  • michmet

    the great rock and roll SWINDLE

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  • Talleyrand

    This is one of the things that distinguishes us from Chinese society…. They respect age and the wisdom it brings with it. Jewish society still has that. The US commercial society does not. It feels that putting power into insipid, neurotic, ignorant and superficial twits is the Greatest Thing since sliced bread. It brings in the cash, alright, from armies of girls and boys whose cultural level is near freezing point…. But the industry that built up Ms Twerk, is in fact about to take her down. Because her outrage factor is about to reach the limit the country’s puritanism can take. She is not a genuine talent, so she can go.

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  • Marvin

    I think it is important to remember that Miley is a commercial product being marketed to a specific audience. She is brand just like Coke or Red Bull she’s pushing an image intended to attract attention and raise so called brand awareness. Clearly her highly sexually provocative performances have created the intended buzz. In a rather jaded. easily distracted, society will she be able to sustain it for long – likely not. Just like a fireworks show, after the flash and bang are over people simply move on and tend to forget. So many have gone down this route before and ended all used up before their time, broken and tossed on the scrapheap.

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  • Jean-Francois Weemaes

    In my opinion (35 years old), this is a bunch of senile and religiously useless comments from >=70-years-old Jewishs men that should not drive anything at all. 🙂

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  • Brinneybitch

    honestly people need to keep their comments to themselves. if you have a problem with someone just bite your tongue and get a grip!! its their life and if they chose to mess up well then iots their fault so yeah! peace nigguhhs

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  • beencensured

    70 plus group is a bunch of dirty perverts that like play with girls emotions..

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  • michmet

    how about you are a talentless media made waste of space (exactly as the pistols predicted would happen) so go kill yourself and do the world a favour?

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  • Daryl Flamm

    This article puts me in a tough spot. One, I truly respect the wisdom of many elders, but at the same time, there is some problems with this whole article and hollywood. First, Miley’s comment is really not THAT far off base. Walk up to some 70 year old person and ask them what a 15, 20, or 25 year old person likes / wants and it’s safe to say they will be way off. We also know that many of the powerful people in Hollywood are the older Jewish men. They hired people to create the very mess so many people are complaining about. Miley did not put the MTV show together. She didn’t design her own act. Most likely, she didn’t even open her own water bottle before the show. So to pin this all on some person she really just wants to make money partying, is messed up.

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  • A U

    I love Miley. She does what she loves and she does it with perfection and passion.
    I don’t care what someone tells about her life. She is good person. She is not attacking anyone so why all others still trying to pontificate her.

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  • charles

    Dear, columnist, I’ve just read the Old Jewish Men Have Valuable Advice For Miley Cyrus and I see your point. But tell us this: why are you directing all of this (very random) quotatios to Cyrus because of her recently behaviour, and not adressing “thoughts” to the shameful men of the same industry that are known for decades to do worse than this poor young lady’s soul is doing now? Tell us why. Because Miley is one, but what about the several old peers in the idustry, what are your “thoughts” for them? I mean, they do the same (and a lot worse) as Cyrus, they’re are older (what, in your words, it means they’re wiser), but still, we’ve got no “thoughts” for them? I sense you should make a better use of your time writing critics on these men, not adressing pieces of advise to a young chanteuse that has recently engaged on a journey of self-discovery (or self-destruction, as you prefer) in front of the public eye.

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  • guidt

    It is very simple logic : If the old people know better than the young, the world will never change ..It is the courage and the initiative of young people always what make our world develop … The old want to keep it as it was on the day of so called creation ! Just to suite their believes !

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  • Elmar Schäfer

    miley do you still love me then write on my facebook account

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  • Liam Dalton

    http://quoteinvestigator.com/2… defining ‘life’ and ‘success’ as synominous. What is more harmful excluding the most negative interpretation of the former word defined. But who would go to the zoo…

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  • GAD1066

    Young men think Old men are fools, Old men know young men are fools.

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  • Norbert Haag

    How can such a useless topic receive 1600 comments?

    I couldn’t care less what an unimportant – in the realm of real issues – person like her does, says or seem to believe.

    Only tells about the writers of these comments.

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    • Adrian Reef Norbert Haag

      Indeed ! That’s why you’ve got 4 comments on this article and you’ve probably read half of them…

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    • Isaac McCracken Norbert Haag

      I understand your point, but allow me to disagree. There is a terrible moral and cultural crisis well underway in western culture. These conversations which are ostensibly about Miley Cyrus, are really conversations about the new level of hedonism that we accept or reject. Cyrus is only a flagship, a proxy under which this discussion takes place. As an athiest, I don’t think it is only religious zealots who feel that we need to set the floor for acceptable public behavior.

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      • Norbert Haag Isaac McCracken

        While I sure see the empty hedonism embraced by many, I also believe that you can not enforce morality.

        There is only one way, i can see, to cope with such moral deviations. Personal behaviour.

        I know it sounds to little to stem such a tide, but it isn’t.

        Prohibition never works not against alcoholism, drugs, or anything else. It only leads to bigotry that usually turns out to be worse than what it tries to prevent. Good intensions lead too often – maybe even always- to unintended consequences.

        So to start where there is an opportunity to change without force seems to me a good way to fight hedonism and every other moral perversion.

        Start by using your own brain and control your own behaviour is sure harder then blaming others for their immoral deeds, but it sure makes a bigger difference.

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  • Graham Smith

    So any innocuous comment about a Jewish person means it gets written up in the media? Theres nothing vindictive in what she’s said.It’s a comment and this precious moron is running around interviewing ‘old Jews’ about it? Toughen up Princess.And by the way there are way more Jewish people that AREN’T religious than ARE so trotting out tired old religious ‘wisdons’ just isn’t relative to representing the Jewish perspective anymore.

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    Guest

    So any innocuous comment about a Jewish person means it gets written up in the media? Theres nothing vindictive in what she’s said.It’s a comment and this precious moron is running around interviewing ‘old Jews’ about it? Toughen up Princess.

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    Guest

    So any innocuous comment about a Jewish person means it gets written up in the media? Theres nothing vindictive in what she’s said.It’s a comment and this moron is running around interviewing ‘old Jews’ about it? Toughen up Princess.

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