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After GQ's Glee photos and Miley Cyrus's new video, a plea

In light of the hubbub surrounding the GQ Glee photoshoot and the recent Miley Cyrus video, I want to put in a plea to today's child stars.

Don't grow up.

I don't know about this adulthood thing, but it seems wrong. And it's probably unnatural. I want us to revert to the decency and modesty of our country's founding days, that blissful time when, if you were behaving sexually at age fourteen, it meant that you were probably married to a wealthy farmer twice your age.

So if you were thinking of growing up, of doing anything remotely sexualized in the public eye, you can forget it. Think what you stand to gain if you just stop where you are!

Look at Michael Jackson. He never grew up, and everyone loves him! Barack Obama, however, is an adult, and nobody shows any dedication to him, except when they write books about how hungry and jobless they are and dedicate them "To Barack Obama, Whose Fault I Feel As Though This Must Be, Somehow."

"But Michael had other problems," you say? Well, look at Peter Pan. He was fine! They based a musical on his life. They never do that unless they believe that your life has been a success in some way -- look at Evita, Jesus Christ (Superstar) and Cats.

And consider Britney Spears. She grew up, and for a period of time, she was bald.

We're not asking too much, young stars. Just find the secret to eternal youth, or vanish mysteriously, or stop bothering us. Look at the Olsen Twins. Do you know how popular they would be if they were still tiny, blonde people? That slowed-down video of their childish antics has been viewed over 100,000 times. Now they're older, and sometimes they get mistaken for La Llorona, a weeping female ghost from Mexican folklore. Children, slowed down! Girl, Interrupted! That's the sort of thing people prefer.

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, and I thought as a child. But when I grew up, people expected me to put aside childish ways. This made it impossible for me to do the simple things our culture expects, such as appearing on reality TV shows or getting really excited about my Halloween costume choices, or appearing on a reality TV show about how excited I was about my Halloween costume choices. Now, people are so desperate to recapture their youth that law enforcement officers sometimes go into online chatrooms and impersonate fourteen year-olds for hours at a time.

I hear you say, "Those Glee kids aren't kids! They're just playing them on TV! Cory Monteith used to steal car stereos!" That just shows what you know. For most of America, actors are indistinguishable from the characters they play on TV. This made life very complicated for the cast of that gritty prison drama, Oz, because I kept reporting them to the authorities during breaks from filming!

It's not my job to instill values in my children! I have raised my children to be mindless automatons who blindly follow the examples of their favorite stars! I have been reading them GQ since they were three -- what kind of gentlemen's magazine doesn't monitor its content to keep it appropriate for three year-olds? Now all my toddlers want bikini waxes! I'm canceling that subscription!

What do you mean, "It's impossible to stop aging, and you have to do the best you can? Sure, the crotch shots in the Glee photos were gratuitous, but really, they're adults, and they shouldn't be conflated with their characters, and, besides, the Miley Cyrus video wasn't that bad?" Whose side are you on?

Don't you know that "youth is the only thing worth having"? That's what Oscar Wilde wrote in The Picture of Dorian Gray. It's true.

And it worked out so well for Dorian!

By Alexandra Petri  | October 21, 2010; 5:18 PM ET
Categories:  Petri  | Tags:  Miley Cyrus  
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