Sigh. Forget Miley Cyrus, Let’s Talk About Us.

computer-freeThis culture is our culture. It’s the one we’ve earned, we built it, bought it, rewarded it, and mock those who refuse to play as old fashioned, out of touch, and dangerously extreme. And then we’re shocked at what we’ve created.

I liked this post about the brouhaha and the real problem behind said brouhaha.  I especially like what he says about our ‘selective outrage,’ and this:

“last night’s horror show didn’t happen in a vacuum. We are generally an oversexed, amoral civilization, and this is the sort of spectacle that sort of civilization produces. Pretty simple. People often seem troubled when a young woman acts so sexually desperate, but then many of those same folks will lash out with mockery and derision anytime someone suggests — GASP! — self control as an alternative.”

Remember the shock and outrage over a decade ago when there was a wardrobe malfunction (or maybe not so much a malfunction) during the halftime events at the Superbowl? I was not even mildly surprised by what happened at the halftime show. I was, however, totally stunned by my Christian friends who acted like this was an unprecedented spectacle of debauchery in a previously wholesome as whole wheat bread spread with butter from grassfed cows event. My own family and several friends of ours had been turning off the game during halftime for all of our adult lives, and I’d been embarrassed by the antics of the cheerleaders when I was a child at least 40 years ago. I couldn’t believe that Christians really thought this was completely out of character for the halftime show.

I’m always bemused by people being shocked by programs that I have found so shocking that we haven’t watched them for decades. I was never a Miley fan, but this blog post is pretty much spot on.

Miley wasn’t the only one on stage, but she’s the only one being targeted for criticism, and all that criticism is aimed in the wrong direction. Adults made Miley who she is, you who bought her stuff, took your kids to see her, made her an object of entertainment. She would have gone nowhere without the full complicity of adults who were supporting her in an environment those same adults would never in a million years have wanted for their own children.

Miley’s just doing what she likely suspects she needs to do in her business: Shock people. She’s grown up watching, say, Britney writhe with a snake on the very same awards show, so it’s hard to blame her if she’s surprised by the universally negative reaction. She’s doing what she thought we wanted.

The problem, this time, is that our society feels like it knows her, knows her backstory, knows she’s someone’s daughter, and isn’t able to forget it. Other women, like the ones on stage with Miley, the ones no one is complaining about? Well, we can sexualize them, reduce them to toys lacking a story, but this girl? We know her dad!

Kids don’t need more kids. They know plenty of them. Kids need adults, actual adults, adults adult enough to reject a culture that is so bored, so dead, that it can only feel alive if given one more jolt, one more shock. And it’s hard to shock, anymore, but Miley hit that mark.

A lot of people today are blaming her parents, and yes, they are ultimately responsible as well, but seriously? Who rewarded her parents? Who made it profitable for them to make merchandise of their child in the first place? Who hypocritically took their kids to see her movie(s?) while insisting they would NEVER let their kids be in show biz? Who let their own kids watch her on TV, bought her Hannah Montana gear for their kids, and just generally made sure it remained profitable to market this child and her image in the public square?

Miley Cyrus is a symptom, not a cause.  The cause?  Look no further than the  music and movies on our own shelves, in our homes, in our own histories on youtube, hulu, Amazon Prime and the like.

 Learn To Discern

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  1. Posted August 27, 2013 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    “A few years ago my son William, in his 30s, was selling his flat and encountered some trouble with either the tenant or the estate agent that really irritated him. Apparently I said to him ‘It’s a wicked, wicked world, it always has been and it always will be’.

    “He immediately replied ‘As your headmistress used to say’. I said ‘What on earth are you talking about, she never said that’. He said ‘Yes she did, you told me so’.

    “I thought hard about this for some time and finally remembered. Back in the 90s whilst I was Hon Sec of the OGAs I was also serving on the Bursary Fund Committee with Miss Morris. We used to meet at Jackie Sutton’s house in Haywards Heath. On this particular meeting day we were all there and Mrs Lewis was late. When she eventually arrived she said she had just heard some terrible news at the school and told us about the massacre at Dunblane. We listened in shock and that was when Miss Morris uttered the words.”

    Miss Morris was a PNEU headmistress who passed away in 2009, and the link is a tribute to her.

  2. Cass
    Posted August 27, 2013 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    “…wholesome as whole wheat bread spread with butter from grassfed cows event.”

    I lost it at the grassfed cows. Very interesting write-up (and link), though, thank you.

  3. Posted August 27, 2013 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    My friends are very polite, so I wouldn’t know for sure, but I suspect they think I’m some kind of idiot, refusing to let my kids watch Disney channel. The fact is, those kids are turning out this way because we enable them to become stars. Supporting them (even if there were a half-ounce of decent entertainment on those channels, which there isn’t), if it does nothing else, allows some parent somewhere to raise their children to do nothing but seek attention. It does more than that, of course, and the welfare of the stars themselves isn’t really my main reason–just a very good one. My main reason is television of this kind sucks our children’s lives away with no added value whatsoever, and many detrimental messages. Cut my kids’ reading and play time short so they can watch the latest unrealistically beautiful pop stars get crushes on boys and save the day with their sequined microphones? (I admit, I’ve only seen one episode of one show, but this was exactly what I saw.) It is all so trivial, and so damaging to the soul in its triviality. I’m sorry for Miley, and I’m sorry for Brittany, and I’m sorry for whoever comes next in this sorry parade.

  4. abba12
    Posted August 27, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    I guarantee there are some men who are talking about the incident with Miley in disgust or shock, who will go and see strippers and exotic dancers and have no issue with it. Because those girls are ‘supposed to do that’ and they have been dehumanized in his eyes, but he can’t dehumanize Miley. I saw an article not last week celebrating some popstars new video. She was the same age, around about, as Miley, and she was more provocative IMO, but they were happy with her video and thought it was an awesome form of ‘self expression’. Because they knew Miley as a teen, watched her grow up, and can see the change for the worst instead of the worst simply being a part of them from the beginning.

  5. Harper
    Posted August 28, 2013 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    My first thought was that there was similar outrage over Madonna’s “Like A Virgin” performance 30 years ago.

    I think the most disappointing part of our culture is that we have lost sight of beauty. It wasn’t that long ago that even the most provocative material on screen tried to be erotic, rather than perverse. I’ve seen some of what Cyrus has done, and its just ugly. Definitely a larger culture problem.

  6. Roxie
    Posted August 31, 2013 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    If Miley Cyrus is off the hook and not held accountable for her performance at the VMA’s, then every person in her age group should not be held accountable for decisions they make. We are all affected by outside influences.

    • Headmistress, zookeeper
      Posted August 31, 2013 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      How about the married man several years her senior she was performing with? Who wrote the song?

      Why is anybody surprised that a performance at the VMA awards was disgusting?

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