I often discuss the silliness of too much media focus on celebrities and their actions. However, this does not mean I won’t discuss the actions of certain entertainers, especially when those entertainers imprint a particular vice or virtues on the public.
The catalyst of this explanation is the recent performance of Miley Cyrus at the MTV Video Music Awards.
If you have scrolled through Facebook or Twitter feeds, you will know that Miley’s performance has been met with both negativity and, more often that positivity, a benign neutrality.
The negative response is obvious. The young lady was conspicuously grinding her pelvis on both Robin Thicke and a human-sized Teddy Bear.
Aside from Cyrus’ bizarre oral fixation that seems to cause her tongue to randomly spasm and suggestively curl around her lips every half-second or so, her dance moves were basically arrhythmic hip gyrations.
Not to mention, her creative use of the sports fan’s foam finger. If you watched, you know she used this to point at her pelvis. No mystery there.
Obviously, I was appalled at the performance (and for the record, I didn’t actually watch the VMAs, I was told about Cyrus’ antics, so I pulled up a clip).
What has really concerned me in the last few days, has been some of my peers’ neutrality toward the Miley performance. I’ve heard several people say that Miley is an adult and can do what she wants, or that those who don’t like her performance should just turn off the show.
Interestingly, none of these people said they particularly enjoyed Cyrus’ VMA performance.
It seems these people simply do not want to judge another person, and on its face that seems noble and good. We of Western Civilization are often chided with the supposed Christian dictum of “Don’t judge other people.”
Yet, is it really wrong to judge someone’s actions?
Judgments can be good things. They can tell us whether we can trust someone to help and keep sacred those things we hold dear.
What is wrong is treating someone in a specifically negative manner because of the judgment you’ve made about his or her character.
I find Cyrus’ recent performance abhorrent. This does not mean I will harass her or curse her, but I will form an opinion on the matter. And that’s my right as a person.
If Cyrus were a noncelebrity, I probably would have nothing of any significance to say.
But she is a figure within our culture. Not only was Cyrus a headliner at the VMAs, she has a clothing line, and actively tours and makes records. She also makes magazine covers and appears on various award shows and talk shows.
Thus, she has influence. It so happens her demographic of influence is teens and young adults. In other words, a group that is highly impressionable and often looks to celebrities as models for style and carriage.
I can’t stop (no pun intended) this young star from performing, nor do I want to. I want Cyrus to stop herself.
I don’t want to censor her, because, as history has shown, a government cannot legislate morality and expect everyone to fall in line.
Rather, people themselves must realize the reality of their actions.
In Cyrus’ case, she needs to realize that her experience with drugs, stripping and general disregard for authority lead many un-famous folk down a heartbreaking path that includes drug abuse, prostitution and criminality.
Furthermore, her use of sexuality as a means of rebellion is silly, at best.
Any real form of rebellion takes shape in the form of sacrifice. People who want to rebel, sacrifice by risking life and limb, enduring pain, hunger and persecution for a specific cause.
I can’t see how sex, being high or any other pleasurable human experience can be a form of effective rebellion.
Yet, that’s what Cyrus espouses in the hit song she performed called “We Can’t Stop.”
With its lyrics and her behavior, Cyrus’ not only tells those who look to her as a cultural icon that they should rebel, she neither cites a specific cause for the rebellion, nor does she propose an effective and meaningful form of rebellion.
Her basic message is do what you feel in order to piss off those who don’t do what they feel.
But like I said, I’m not going to purposely insult Cyrus’ or anyone who behaves like her.
Instead I’m going to say that I feel pity and sadness for he and her emulators. It’s truly heartbreaking that someone as talented and (at one time) seemingly sweet, feels the only way to express herself is to behave so amorally.