It is easy enough, I guess, to write about “a more subtle and multitudinous understanding of personal progress” when you’re not coming from a five-year coke-, peyote- and ecstasy-soaked post-adolescent binge. But most people who have been there, and been lucky enough to escape with their lives and their health, are happy enough to move on without attempting to occupy a “functional middle ground.” There is, in fact, nothing at all wrong with being a grownup (or, in the insufferable rhetoric of Millennialism, “performing adulthood”) where “being a grownup” looks like “not taking a bunch of drugs and leading a fashionably trashy and dirty lifestyle.” When your entire persona revolves around a kind of moneyed white trash deportment, you should want to grow up and stop being a dipshit.
Miley is right to want to move on from all of this (if that is indeed what she’s doing). Petrusich is lamenting the loss of something utterly not worth lamenting. It is worth pointing out that Petrusich herself appears to come from a place of idyllic stability and propriety—a two-parent household with both parents holding down good jobs—a lifestyle, in other words, that is rarely possible if your “multitudinous understanding” of proper behavior involves the kind of crap Miley Cyrus was into. It is mildly pathetic to witness a grown woman lamenting another grown woman’s having left behind a life of debauched meaninglessness. It’s actually a good thing to grow up and “settle down.” Would that our silly and self-indulgent culture understood that more often.