I held out as long as I could.
Not that I wanted to miss writing "on top of the news", the obvious benefits of which is the boost my greedy little ego gets from watching the pageviews rack up on my Flag Counter. No, what was holding me back was my conviction that there are some provinces of life that are best left out of the public eye, such as:
- Meat packing;
- The Jerry Springer Show;
- Basketball huddles;
- Everything that happens between the ages of 14 and 30.
As to the last, our society - in its wisdom - has created spaces for our young people to safely shield their callowness, mating rituals, and hormone-driven angst from the prying (and outraged, of those with selective memory) eyes of the rest of the world. Spaces like college campuses. I know, because I used to work on one. And it wasn't pretty.
Neither was Miley Cyrus's performance on the Video Music Awards the other night, which I finally got around to viewing on YouTube yesterday. And "not pretty" is the worst I'm going to say about it.
Because it wasn't meant to be pretty. It was meant to be funny. Just bein' Miley, or "JMB" an acronym my children and I use in our text messages to describe inexplicable behavior.
I avoided watching the VMA live, because I generally avoid watching anything on TV except for sports and weather forecasts. I almost managed to completely ignore the whole Hannah Montana thing, except for one episode involving a dream sequence with a talking horse which only served to strengthen my resolve. And, having suffered with my own children through their growing pains, I was not particularly interested in suffering with Miley Cyrus through the post-Hannah Montana years.
As to the VMA performance, as far as I can tell it was a burlesque joke that fell flat. Mainly because so many of the audience - at the venue and watching at home - were apparently humor impaired.
(Humor impairment, and I believe I am paraphrasing writer Dave Barry here, is a fairly common disability. Here's how it works: If I tell you a joke, and you don't think it's funny, then you just don't think my joke is funny. That is not humor impairment. If I tell you a joke, and you don't think it's funny because you don't know it's a joke, then you are humor impaired. Thank you, Mr. Barry, you've made a difference in my life, and I hope I have this right.)
Let's start with the song "Blurred Lines", which set the mood for the scene of the crime. Do people genuinely not understand that this song is meant to be humorous, poking fun at the delusions of an overage clubber cruising for young women and the dreary misogyny of music videos? Is anybody out there really taking those iffy rhymes, sung by a 36-year-old Robin Thicke, seriously? What rhymes with "hug me"? Slug me! And then there's the goat, the silly shoes, the bicycles, the foam hand, the writing on the wall, and everything else in the video - which looks like an animated American Apparel ad - that indicate that the song is satire. Overall, it is a catchy tune (it certainly makes me want to get up and dance) and the Funkadelics are alleging similarities with their tune Sexy Ways, which is a huge compliment.
(For more examples of this music genre, please check out Bonzo Dog Band and, yes, the Funkadelics.)
As to Miley's complicity in the VMA performance, who better to play a good girl, like the song says, than an ex-Disney-ette, the gold standard? Miley is a "good girl", gone bad for the amusement of a middle-aged guy in a funny suit...I can't believe I'm explaining this. She's wearing gym shoes, for the love of Pete. And dancing with teddy bears. Which I found more disturbing than anything else, including Lady Gaga's Shakira send-up.
At any rate, I thought the performance was cute and I'm a cranky, menopausal old bat. I've seen Tina Turner get just as nasty, and all anybody said about it was, "You go, girl."
So what's the big deal about Miley Cyrus? Last I looked (five minutes ago), Miley was 21-years-old. An adult. She's at the age where she realizes (if she's smart, and I think she is) that it's going fast. So she's strutting her stuff, dancing to what may be the most popular song ever, acting "bad", and annoying the old fogies. Every 21-year-old's dream. Maybe she also thought she was being wildly sexy. She wasn't, really, she was merely raunchy, but that's a common enough miscalculation on the part of twenty-somethings. The important thing is, it looked like she got the joke.
However, the bottom line, the filter through which I judge all human culture, is: Would I have done it? At 21? Hell to the yeah. I would have done it at 40, though I wouldn't do it now because the hormones have stopped eating my brain.
Chin up, Miley, I think you're adorable and predict that you have a brilliant future ahead of you. And what you did the other night was nothing compared to the all-too-public behavior of many adult male politicians these days - would-be, erstwhile, Democrat, Republican, and otherwise. You might even consider a career in politics or foreign service, once you start eating again, a tried-and-true refuge from child stardom.
Shirley Temple did very well with it. And so would you.