“The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” – Oscar Wilde
Oh Miley… it’s hard to even know where to begin. In case you’ve been living underneath a rock without wi-fi, during a performance last weekend with Robin Thicke at the MTV VMAs, the former child star Miley Cyrus proved she’s very much shed her Disney-friendly Hannah Montana skin by stripping down to a flesh-colored latex bikini, fondling herself with a foam finger and performing the now infamously appropriated style of dance called twerking. Basically, it involves bending at the waist and jiggling your ass.
With her tongue recklessly wagging out of her bright red lips, she expressed a desperate and obnoxious desire for attention. And she certainly got it, but not quite in the way she was looking for… well, at least the notoriety got ‘twerk’ officially added to the Oxford English Dictionary.
Unsurprisingly, the reactions to the performance covered the gamut from confusion to disgust and repulsion. The inventor of the foam finger expressed his disdain for her degrading use of his piece of American iconography, while the Parents Television Council blasted the network in a statement from their Director of Public Policy Dan Isett, calling the situation unacceptable and claiming that they “once again succeeded in marketing sexually charged messages to young children using former child stars and condom commercials…while falsely rating this program as appropriate for kids as young as 14.”
In true teenage fashion, Cyrus flipped the proverbial bird to her critics by bragging on Twitter that she had 306 000 tweets per minute and pointing out that this was more than the blackout or Super Bowl, ending her tweet her with most smug hashtag of them all: #fact.
What she failed to register was that the majority of the feedback she received from the public was negative. Cyrus’ manager Larry Rudolph defended her organic evolution in the music industry from teen idol to raunchy pop starlet, comparing her with another of his precocious protégés, Britney Spears, who executed a similar transformation at the same awards show in 2001.
I’m almost shocked that people were so shocked over this. I figured that the devolution of popular culture into a realm of unparalleled crass and lewdness would have rendered us numb to shock value, to the point where it’s not even uncommon to see girls suggestively rubbing their crotches on men old enough to be their fathers.
And somehow all the uproar unfairly was focused on young Cyrus, without enough questioning of the role Thicke played in this contemporary melodrama. Blogger Matt Walsh penned an eloquent letter to his son on the truly unglamorous nature being a man of low character and no integrity:
“A 36 year old married man and father, grinding against an intoxicated 20 year old while singing about how she’s an “animal” and the “hottest bitch in this place.” And what happens the next day? We’re all boycotting the 20 year old. The grown man gets a pass.”
The real winner here seems to be Cyrus’ publicity team, if they’re continuing to rely on the old adage about any publicity is good publicity. It’s been working well this summer for Thicke, who is on his way to having one of the most popular songs of all time, at least according to the Billboard music charts.
It also begs the question: where can she really go from here? At the frenzied pace she’s twerking, she’s headed down a self-destructive path of head shavings, regretful marriages to try to overshadow the canyon-sized daddy issues plaguing her relationships and oh so much more.
The spectacle will be brought to you play by play, as people love to witness a fall from grace. Or maybe, once her judgment isn’t so clouded by the brash arrogance of youth and the spoiled rotten result of never being told ‘no’ by important authority figures, she will begin to realize what a damaging role model she is turning out to be for young girls and teenagers who see this as a viable method of drawing the attention of men around them. But by then, it may just be too late for a generation of kids growing up exposed to these types of images day in and day out.
I think the best thing to come out of this are the memes, specifically watching Cyrus twerk in a whole host of hilarious new locations, my favorite being famous paintings.
Finally, local comedian Jon Lajoie weighed in with this little ditty that hits the nail on the head when he laments, how dare she try to use sex to sell pop music!