For 24 hours, Miley Cyrus has monopolized my Facebook feed, Twitter stream, television set and radio. Blogs are ablaze with twerking backfire, while Syria and “Batman Affleck” have been dismissed to make room for color commentary on how another Disney star’s “gone wild.”
I fully understand the uproar and disgust with how it all went down, but I’m not going to lie: I wasn’t all that appalled by it. Here’s why.
It’s The MTV Video Music Awards.
If you snuggled up with your young’uns on Sunday night to watch the VMAs thinking you were about to enjoy a wholesome music awards show together, you probably haven’t watched MTV since the days when they actually aired music videos and had VJs. You want the old MTV? You’ll need a DeLorean. The VMAs are a place where artists come to push buttons, break rules and be remembered. Madonna impregnated the stage in 1984, naked-ish Britney canoodled with snakes in 2001, and Madge and Brit “made-out” in 2003. You want shock and awe? I got three letters for ya: V. M. A. Got little kids? Pick another show.
It’s a fame game.
Some are saying Cyrus was trying desperately to show us she’s all grown up; others think she’s gotten disastrous advice from her people. I think she’s playing the game. Fame and notoriety are the most worshipped and coveted commodities of our time. Sad but true. Maintaining one’s fame often requires making jaws drop in order to stay relevant in a sea of stars. The Kardashians have taught us this for years. So even while grimacing through some of her fan-gear-as-sex-toys choreography, I found myself nodding in recognition of a simple case of 15 more minutes for Miley. She’s 20 years old -- she knows better. She’s not interested in being your kids’ role model anymore. She wants to stay famous.
It’s a big ole double standard.
Somehow, the fact that an adult married man was also on stage sexing it up with young Cyrus was lost in the shuffle. Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” -- a “Song of the summer”-nominated tune, one which my kids (and I bet yours, too), myself, and most of my friends have been singing and car dancing to all summer -- is one skanky little ditty. Not to mention the banned music video that MTV doesn’t play. We like our raunch and vulgarity on our own terms, I suppose. If we’re going to ground Cyrus, Thicke deserves at least a time out.
It got us talking.
My boys and I didn’t catch the VMAs live. It was the eve of the first day of school, and we chose a frozen yogurt run instead. But after all the buzz on Monday, I showed them the clip online to get their reaction. My 11-year-old was most offended by Cyrus’ abnormally long tongue, the fact that she was making a “fool of herself” and the disrespect she showed to that poor foam finger (he collects those things). My 16-year-old and I discussed what he called her “rebellious antics” and how the desperation for fame will do that to a person. He also said that if parents thought that was the worst their teens have seen on TV or the Interwebs, they’re probably in bit of denial. Yep, probably.
It was educational.
I learned what a real live twerk looks like, that what’s happening in Syria is much more appalling and, unlike music videos, frozen yogurt is really making a comeback.