Cher’s Ethics Tweets

Lan 159

Earlier this week, Cher used her interview with USA to take some well-aimed pot-shots at Miley Cyrus’s universally loathed “twerking” antics on the MTV Awards show. She said of Cyrus

“”I’m not old fashioned. She could have come out naked, and if she’d just rocked the house, I would have said, ‘You go, girl.’ She could have come out naked, and if she’d just rocked the house, I would have said, ‘You go, girl.’ It just wasn’t done well. She can’t dance, her body looked like hell, the song wasn’t great, one cheek was hanging out. And, chick, don’t stick out your tongue if it’s coated. If you’re going to go that far, then think about it before you do it.

These are wise words from a veteran and proven performing star to a young one on the way up, or heading for a crash. Essentially, Cher is stating the principles of professionalism: whatever you do, do it right, do it well, and respect your constituency. Cher has the bona fides to offer such an opinion since she has stretched the lines of sexual propriety on stage more than once, but it was always used as an additional enhancement on the way to her “rocking the house.”

The legendary pop diva was apparently surprised that her comments became a one-day sensation on the gossip websites and cable entertainment shows, and  had second thoughts about them, which she communicated in a couple of tweets to the Twitterverse. In Cher-ese, they are all about ethics:

Chers Tweets


  • It appears that Cher knows that she violated the Golden Rule, and regrets it. She surely hated it when older and more established performers attacked her in the media when she was starting out.
  • She remembered, a bit too late, that part of professionalism is empathy and respect. Performers and artists need to be mutually supportive in good days and bad, because it is a brutal, ego-crushing business. Cyrus has been slammed from coast to coast as everything from a talentless hack to the destroyer of America morals (I would fall in the first camp), and Cher has been there. No matter how justified the critiques of Miley have been, Cher’s job, as a fellow pop singer, artist and professional, was to have her colleague’s back, not to pile on.
  • Cher is criticizing herself for letting ego get the better of her, and yielding to the invitation to play Ultimate Authority, which she regards as a breach of fairness and humility.
  • Cher, in noting that she needs to practice her values, is endorsing integrity. Good.
  • Interestingly, Cher specifically says that she is not apologizing. This is self-criticism and regret. She’s sorry she said what she said because it violated her own values. not because she thinks it harmed Cyrus. Yes, this makes no sense. Cher should have offered the criticism, if at all, to Cyrus directly and privately. That would have been kind and professional. Attacking her in public was gratuitous, and looked as if a big star was using her status to squelch a fellow performer when she was most vulnerable. Cher should apologize.

Then there is the unethical side of the tweets, which prove that Cher is not Aristotle, in case there was any lingering doubt:

  • Coming back now and claiming Miley  was “fucking brilliant” is too dishonest to bear. What Cher said initially was 100% accurate, and what she meant was specifically that that Cyrus was not brilliant, and that if she was  going to “push the envelope” that far, she needed to be. Cher obviously doesn’t think Cyrus was brilliant. It’s not just a lie, but an obvious and stupid one.
  • “She didn’t commit a felony” is a classic example of my least favorite rationalization on the list, ” #21, “There are worse things,” the Comparative Virtue Excuse. Yes, Cher, and she sings better than Sonny, is in better shape than Amy Winehouse, and didn’t shoot up the Washington Navy Yard. Boy, I hate that kind of argument…even more than I hate “Half-breed.”

Also this: If you don’t practice your spelling skills, Cher, you will loose those, too.


Facts: USA Today 1, 2

14 thoughts on “Cher’s Ethics Tweets

  1. Well it’s hard to take any of Cher’s pronouncements seriously. She would have been nothing w/o Sonny Bono, who despite his indiscretions, was a good Mayor of Palm Springs, ran a decent restaurant and was an visionary Congressional Representative.

      • Mmmm… maybe not. Bono was already a reasonably successful songwriter and music promoter before Sonny and Cher caught the wave. He may not have been much of a singer, or much to look at, but he was a pretty canny dude.

        The larger lesson, it seems to me, is that Twitter enables people from all walks of life to regret their actions a short time later.

        • No question. But lots of canny dudes in the music biz end up as trivia questions, if they’re lucky. He was never going to be a celebrity without Cher, as engaging as he was. My god, did you ever watch “The Sonny Show”??????

          • I accept the lesson as Arthur describes. To me, no matter how canny you are or think you are, Twitter belongs (or, maybe I should say, “tweets belong”) “in the can.”

      • Unlikely. The man had ambition: Sonny achieved commercial success, along with his then-wife Cher, as part of the singing duo Sonny and Cher. Bono wrote, arranged, and produced a number of hit records with singles like “I Got You Babe” and “The Beat Goes On”, although Cher received more attention as a performer. He also played a major part in Cher’s early solo career with recordings such as “Bang Bang” and “You Better Sit Down Kids”. I think his political career was kind of remarkable considering nobody believed he would amount to anything because of the goofy role he played on the Sony and Cher Comedy Hour.

        • It was an example of the wrong things getting the right guy elected. The same factors elected Al Franken, Jim Bunning and George Murray…also Ronald Reagan. Sonny had a mind for politics and business. As a performer, he was a comic who was a B level Ringo Starr, and as a singer, he was unforgivable. I’m not saying he wouldn’t have been successful somehow—sure he would. He would have never cut a record.

  2. When Cher wrote “She didn’t commit a felony,” I think what she was intending wasn’t the Comparative Virtue Excuse, but an appeal to proportionality. Cher’s not saying that what MC did is okay because there are worse things; she’s saying that the amount and intensity of public scorn MC has received is disproportionate to what MC did wrong.

    (As I read it, anyway).

    Anyhow, even if it wasn’t perfect, good on Cher for being willing to rethink and see some things she did wrong.

    • I didn’t read it that way, but now that you mention it, its a legitimate interpretation.

      I like Cher, and mostly I like the tweet. Such self-criticism is rare, and speaks well of her. But she does owe Miley an apology, I think.

  3. Could care less about Cher’s opinion of Miley and maybe she should have kept her fingers in her pocket than on a tweet. Miley’s performance was sick and typical of today’s crappy entertainment from the younger generation….well I think my parent’s said the same about Cher back in the day. For some reason “I Got You Babe” sounds better now than back then…

  4. Say what you want about Cher, the lady’s gorgeous and she’s got talent. She had a spectacular TV special with her mom on Mother’s Day this year that reinforces what she’s about. Sonny may have helped jump-start her career, but no doubt in my mind she would have done fine without him.

  5. Cher??? Why is anyone even discussing anything Cher has to say about anything- the pop culture in particular? This woman did her share in lowering it into the dirt. And now Miley’s come along to out-Cher Cher in her own sweet little way. The only comparison is that of a wrinkled prune to a fresh plum… that both fell off the same, diseased tree.

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