It wasn’t her fault. If you want to be mad at somebody, be mad at yourself. If you are the sort of person who can watch a show–ANY show–on MTV and not be fighting off a Soul Gag-Reflex the whole time, you deserve every awkward and disturbing minute of that tonguey twerk-fest. We don’t have cable, but I happen to be married to a woman who has a deep and abiding love for all things Justin Timberlake (some might say a little TOO deep and abiding), and she happened across the video online while looking for the N’Sync reunion. I was writing a blog (about the Affordable Care Act–It will conclude shortly) and she called me into her office to see the spectacle that was the Miley Cyrus performance.
I saw the teddy bears…. I saw the tongue…. And that’s about all I could take. I walked away saying, “I can’t. I can’t. I can’t.” When I see something really embarrassing happen on TV, I feel compelled to change the channel. I couldn’t change the channel, so I had to leave the room. She pleaded with me to come back, just so I could see part of the bit with Robin Thicke and the whole #1 foam finger. I watched about 10 seconds more through the fingers covering my eyes. And that was it. No more. It was literally making my stomach turn.
But before you let yourself get too indignant about how classless and demeaning and racially insensitive the performance was, let’s do a quick reality check about what happened: The world is not upset because something took place that is classless, demeaning, and insensitive–The world is upset (and demonizing this 20 year-old girl) because Miley Cyrus is not popular or talented enough to pull it off. Think about it for a minute…. People looked at Robin Thicke and thought, “What are you doing on stage with this girl?” Robin Thicke…. The same Robin Thicke who just made a video for Blurred Lines where he basically just stood there singing while beautiful, topless women danced around him. And the big draw for the VMAs last night was Justin Timberlake…. The same Justin Timberlake who just made a similar video for his song Tunnel Vision starring him and a whole lot of boobs.
This outrage over the Miley Cyrus performance is NOT about her doing something that is a “What has the world come to?” sort of reaction to something that is beneath us. She just wasn’t popular enough to pull it off. Because if she had been a little more popular, she might not have seemed so desperate. Thank God she wasn’t ten pounds overweight, or everyone would have been on her about that as well. Let’s face it–If Miley Cyrus was Ronald Miller from “Can’t Buy Me Love” and had been dating Cindy Mancini for the last month, we’d have all been doing the African Anteater Ritual right along with her. Her perfomance wasn’t beneath us. She was just an unpopular kid at the dance who made the mistake of thinking she could pull it off. Or more likely, she made the mistake of believing her handlers and the MTV execs who told her she could pull it off.
So yeah, she probably should have known better…. But she’s 20 years old. Robin Thicke is 36–He should have known better. Justin Timberlake should have known better. Her handlers should have known better. The MTV execs should have known better. But most of all, WE should have known better than to give one minute of our time to that swirling cesspool of humanity that is MTV. It’s a channel that does nothing but exploit–from teen moms to redneck kids to anyone else who will let them. It is just the worst. And the worst part about it is that Miley Cyrus probably really needs some help. She obviously needs some help. And some real love and guidance. Instead, she gets humiliation…. It’s sad, really. And it makes me think of this video with Craig Ferguson talking about Britney Spears. Please take a moment to watch it…. Either way, I ain’t mad at you, Miley. But I think you need some help…. But that’s no big deal, because I guess we all do.