My Thoughts On The Miley Cyrus “Incident”

Filed in Arts and Entertainment, National by on August 27, 2013

First, I refuse to buy into the parent “outrage” over their precious children witnessing such an “outrageous” display.  Hello?  It’s MTV.  It’s what they do – it’s their flippin’ business model.  Second, if you’re one of those people who still thinks MTV is a music video channel… let me enlighten you.  Here’s a sample of MTV’s programming lineup: 16 and Pregnant, Teen Mom, Real World, Engaged and Underage, Jersey Shore, Lingerie Football League, and, of course, Snookie and Jwoww.  There’s plenty more, but that gives you the idea.  So, I’m not going to waste my time over parents who were shocked by a show on MTV.

Back to the Miley incident…  (If you haven’t seen the VMA video, here it is.)

I am not disgusted or outraged by her performance.  I am embarrassed for her.  Yes, it is extremely painful to watch.  It is tasteless.  I couldn’t stop cringing.  But the idea that Miley Cyrus’ performance on Video Music Awards (VMA) was only about Miley Cyrus is unfair.  That performance was rehearsed (probably too many time to count) with tons of people watching.  It was obviously approved by her agent, MTV producers, etc.

Yes, Miley Cyrus is trying to change her Hannah Montana persona (we’ve seen this before), but to pretend her exploitation began a few nights ago is absurd.  This young woman has been exploited, by her family, for most of her young life.  G-rated exploitation is just as disturbing as R-rated exploitation – we’re just more comfortable with it.  Hannah Montana was cute, quirky and funny, and we applied those traits to Miley Cyrus.  And there’s a part of me that views her VMA performance as the sway of the pendulum.

So no, I’m not outraged.  I feel badly for her.  I feel embarrassed for her.  But, hey, she may be just fine with this.  After all, she’s getting attention, and to celebrities that’s what it’s all about.  So what do I know?

But I do have one other question… While everyone (and I do mean everyone. Go online or turn on your TV if you don’t believe me) is questioning Miley Cyrus’ behavior and risque performance I haven’t heard a word about 36 year old Robin Thicke’s participation. (Fortunately, I escaped exposure to his summer hit, so I am late to this game.)

Why isn’t Robin Thicke’s participation criticized?  This was obviously a choreographed performance, and yet, I haven’t heard one word of outrage concerning Thicke – a man whose summer hit “Blurred Lines” features an extremely NSFW video with topless women in flesh colored thongs prancing around fully clothed men.  A song whose lyrics consistently repeat the phrase “You know you want it” and have lines such as “So hit me up when you passing through, I’ll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two”.

Charming.  And when I read through Robin Thicke’s lyrics for Blurred Lines, I can’t help but shake my head and wonder (again) why consent is a blurred line.  And no, I’m not calling for censorship, but I am wondering why all the outrage is only heading in one direction.  (Yeah, I know the answer.)

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A stay-at-home mom with an obsession for National politics.

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  1. From Pine View Farm » Blog's archive » Passing a Mileystone | August 27, 2013
  1. Jason330 says:

    My take: People my age are still angry about Billy Ray Cyrus’ achy-breaky mullet. Some of that anger is naturally splashing onto Miley.

  2. cassandra_m says:

    I don’t know — I’ve seen plenty of criticism of Robin Thicke too. Best comment I heard on this so far: Alan and Billy Ray — you need to come get your children.

  3. Jason330 says:

    On a meta-cultural level, does anyone know if Roman gladiatorial combat to the death started as more begin sport fighting?

    I ask because certain people are always looking for signs of our civilization’s decline. These folks are never short of material to confirm their beliefs, but how much of that material is data and how much simply anecdotes describing differing tastes in entertainment?

    My honest take on Miley’s performance: I find huge tongues unnerving (on men and women). Huge tongues and people eating and talking at the same time are things I could live happily without.

  4. Geezer says:

    Why so much scorn for Miley when she’s just emulating what numerous women of color have done before her? Why is it OK when Shakira does it, but not when Miley does?

  5. pandora says:

    Oh, I remember Beyonce, Janet Jackson and Rhianna being called out, as well.

    And I’ll have to look up the Robin Thicke criticisms. I’m glad he was called out. Like I said, I missed this summer sensation. Lucky me!

  6. Geezer says:

    The only one I recall making as a big a negative splash as this was Rihanna, and it was more about refusing to break up with her abuser.

  7. cassandra_m says:

    One of the biggest reasons there is so much agita over Miley Cyrus seems to be that she isn’t Hannah Montana anymore and has been working for the better part of the year at getting her inner thug on. *shrug* This kid isn’t ready for prime time.

    However — I did see Justin Timberlake’s 15 minute performance and that was genuinely amazing.

  8. pandora says:

    Oh goody. Robin Thicke’s mom just weighed in – she’s very disappointed with Miley. Guess she’s okay with her son being part of that.

    And I agree with the Hannah Montana image thing.

    I do remember the outcry over the Madonna/Brittney kiss. And there was always Elvis and his pelvis!

  9. socialistic ben says:

    Simple.
    Male pop stars are expected to me overt sex symbols. Female pop stars… especially young ones… are supposed to be chased virgins who are so innocent… but are still “sex symbols”
    What really makes me sick is the very news outlets who are feigning outrage over this, get creepily excited when …. _________________ (blonde white female star) is approaching their 18th nameday. As if all the pathetic pervy old men will suddenly NOT be pervs for lusting after them. Yeah, we’re all real excited for them to be able to vote and be tried as an adult…..
    None of this appeals to me on an artistic or musical level…. MTV hasn’t been about music for probably 15-20 years… and of course it all goes back to….. if you are afraid that (just referencing the outrage here, not suggesting anyone has said this in this thread) your daughter is going to become a “slut” because she saw her “idol” twerkin on TV, you’re a horrible parent. It is hardly the most obscene thing shown on that channel. I doubt it was the most obscene thing shown that day.

  10. Frank says:

    Interesting take in the Orlando Sentinel.

    http://www.orlandosentinel.com/os-miley-cyrus-got-what-she-wanted-on-mtv-20130827,0,7230879.post

    Why is it that some grown-ups are so preoccupied with the idea that young folks might be preoccupied with sex just like they were?

  11. Geezer says:

    I don’t care if they’re preoccupied with sex. I merely want them to confine it to porn videos, where it belongs, and stop pretending it’s “music.” You want to wave your merchandise in my face, take it out of the wrapper first.

  12. Jason330 says:

    @Cass – The Onion/CNN editorial is genius. (So genius that I’ll bet someone from the NJ is reading it right now thinking it is real.)

    There was nothing, and I mean nothing, about that story that related to the important news of the day, the chronicling of significant human events, or the idea that journalism itself can be a force for positive change in the world. For Christ’s sake, there was an accompanying story with the headline “Miley’s Shocking Moves.” In fact, putting that story front and center was actually doing, if anything, a disservice to the public. And come to think of it, probably a disservice to the hundreds of thousands of people dying in Syria, those suffering from the current unrest in Egypt, or, hell, even people who just wanted to read about the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech.

    But boy oh boy did it get us some web traffic. Which is why I, Meredith Artley, managing editor of CNN.com, put the story in our top spot. Those of us watching on Google Analytics saw the number of homepage visits skyrocket the second we put up that salacious image of Miley Cyrus dancing half nude on the VMA stage. But here’s where it gets great: We don’t just do a top story on the VMA performance and call it a day. No, no. We also throw in a slideshow called “Evolution of Miley,” which, for those of you who don’t know, is just a way for you to mindlessly click through 13 more photos of Miley Cyrus. And if we get 500,000 of you to do that, well, 500,000 multiplied by 13 means we can get 6.5 million page views on that slideshow alone. Throw in another slideshow titled “6 ‘don’t miss’ VMA moments,” and it’s starting to look like a pretty goddamned good Monday, numbers-wise. Also, there are two videos—one of the event and then some bullshit two-minute clip featuring our “entertainment experts” talking about the performance.

  13. Frank says:

    “I merely want them to confine it to porn videos, where it belongs, and stop pretending it’s ‘music.’”

    ’twas ever thus.

    As I recall, there was some little fuss of that nature when Elvis Presley appeared on the Ed Sullivan show. And, for that matter, when the waltz was invented.

    http://edwardianpromenade.com/dance/those-scandalous-dances/

  14. Geezer says:

    If you don’t see the difference between the waltz (or the tango, for that matter) and a nearly-nude woman “dancing” by thrusting her buttocks at the audience, you’re beyond my help.

    It’s not dancing, it’s strip-club stuff. If you expect me to pony up, take off the pants.

    My objection is to the bait-and-switch. Put out for the camera or shut up.

  15. socialistic ben says:

    Geezer…. and your name suggest you should remember this…. what you are saying about CurrentBarelyLegalSexIcon is exactly what was said about Elvis, Cher, Madonna etc. True, we ARE getting closer to the ACTUAL line where “being sexy” turns in to “actually engaging in intercourse live, on stage”. It is definitely much more….. direct. And no, of course im not saying that some hip shaking in a seersucker is the same as twerking in a …. whatever you call that. I’ll give ya that. But who knows? Some currently 6 year old kid, may, in 13 years show us that Ol’ Hanna Montana (who will be well into her lohan Stage 4 at that point) was pretty conservative.

  16. Frank says:

    There’s nothing new about persons gyrating sexually before an audience.

    I do think her act was stupid and silly (and, for that matter, about as erotic as a garbage truck), but all of MTV–strike that, almost all of any TV–is stupid and silly.

    I don’t think it presages Armageddon any more than did the can-can (which, you will recall, originated before underwear was invented) or Salome’s dance before it.

  17. Jason330 says:

    The good news is that there is a basically a zero tolerance policy on overly sexy dancing at my kid’s school dances. I hear that at least one person gets booted from every dance – so minimum standards of decency are being enforced where they count, on the gym floor.

  18. fightingbluehen says:

    It was obnoxious, and her tongue looked a bit yeasty.

  19. Geezer says:

    I’ve seen baboons and other, slightly higher primates, engage in the same behavior. What she’s doing is presenting her orifice for sexual penetration. I never said it means the end of civilization. I’m pointing out that it’s only daring if you actually go ahead and fuck, and frankly, these days, not even that would . Anything else is mock subjugation to entice the male gaze, and therefore ultimately inviting a sexist response.

    Forgive me if I fail to celebrate that.

  20. bamboozer says:

    Here’s a hail and hearty who cares? MTV has been a joke for two decades, when’s the last time you saw a video of any group or person? Miley Cyrus now moves into the What A Bad Joke category. Tra la, tra ley and forget the day.

  21. Frank says:

    Geezer, I’m not celebrating it. To run with something you said earlier, I would much prefer good honest pr0n. At least it is what it is without pretense.

    All I’m saying is that it’s not new, not revolutionary, not unprecedented, and not a sign of anything, other than of being young, silly, and stupid.

    All that is new is doing it on camera.

  22. Donviti says:

    I’m outraged at all the outrage. I didn’t even get to see her nipple or other lady parts and people are going nuts. Hilarious… MTV got exactly what they wanted… And so did the parent company… What a joke

    Talk to me when she steps out of her limo with no underwear

  23. pandora says:

    “MTV got exactly what they wanted… And so did the parent company”

    Exactly! Isn’t having a “shocking” incident part of the VMA business model?

  24. fightingbluehen says:

    So what will they do next year to increase the shock value? Maybe they can give her a rubber penis to hold instead of that boring old microphone, or like Donviti said, some actual nudity.

  25. Jason330 says:

    I like Taylor Swift. She is shockingly white bread.

  26. Dorian Gray says:

    It’s call show business. So she danced around in a flesh tone bikini and shook her ass and stuck out her tongue. I don’t care about the VMAs. I don’t care about pop music. It’s of some cultural significance I guess. Marilyn Monroe let’s the vent blow her skirt up, Cher wears fishnets and dances with sailors, Madonna and somebody kissed, Lady Gaga acts like Lady Gaga. Why would serious people have any feeling about this one way or the other? It’s like a tree falling in the woods with nobody around…

  27. socialistic ben says:

    Because worrying about radioactive water and WW3 are far too upsetting for people to handle.
    This provides a nice distraction.

  28. Dorian Gray says:

    Fair enough. But call it like it is. It’s pop culture geared toward people below the age of 30. If you need a distraction that perfectly reasonable. Miley Cyrus distracted you… it’s terrible performance art, that’s all. I guess I object to the anaysis of it, not the consumption of it. It’s like writting a Yelp review for the Taco Bell on Concord Pike. By the strict definition of the word it is a “restaurant.” I’ve been told they sell a food like product… but holding it up for analysis and review seems a little ridiculous.

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