A few thoughts about Miley Cyrus and we'll move on, OK?

August 27, 2013
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I tried to resist but, OK, I'll chime in on the whole Miley Cyrus/VMA nonsense.

Pop stars want attention. It sells concert tickets, recorded music, T-shirts, and other products. Sometimes they get that attention through the quality of their musicianship. Sometimes they get it through their showmanship. Sometimes there's a combination of the two. Putting the awkwardness of her performance aside, Cyrus didn't do anything we haven't seen from other acts. (Alice Cooper anyone? Madonna? Heck, Judy Garland showed her share of skin.) And the so-called outrage about it isn't anything new either. Anyone surprised just hasn't paid much attention to pop culture.

So I'm no more interested in Cyrus than I was before the MTV Video Music Awards. But I am further embarrassed by the news media. To treat this as a major story is more embarrassing than the artist-formerly-known-as-Hannah-Montana's dance moves. I even heard one defying all logic and claiming that the fallout from her stunt contributed to the ratings. News alert: Ratings happen while a show is actually happening. 

(By the way, for a season preview of A&E events that do not involve Cyrus, click here.)

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  • Cyrus
    Amen. Enough already. She's 20 . . . Hannah Montanna is long gone.
  • Ratings
    Lou, maybe they were referring to the ratings of the re-runs that MTV will show of the VMAs?
  • Bury Hannah
    Ms. Cyrus has showed us many times that Hannah is dead. Lets bury her and all of the products that are made in this fictional characters name. Their is no need for our children to even know this fable.
  • Mirrors...
    Meanwhile, how many incremental CTRs will this page receive because you've decided to grace us with your two cents? :) We're all part of the media cog, remember?
  • saturation coverage
    Nothing but a desperate ploy for attention, trying to transition out of teen-idol phase. Obviously cant rely on talent (or lack thereof). The problem is the media laps this up, and there are cable stations whose mission is to replay this stuff into eternity. She wanted 'exposure' and she got it.
  • Luv it
    I liked it. She was having fun and making light of the situation. So what?
  • Social Commentary
    I expect more from the IBJ and it’s so called Arts & Entertainment section. To me, a trained art critique, Miley was making a Social Commentary on our views of the female experience. Miley started her performance art piece by stepping out of the belly of a stuffed animal. The she proceed to dance around with various stuffed animals, many (the pink ones) with smug and disapproving faces. This clearly was a depiction of how the world views Miley. Miley was once viewed as the pure and virgin female but has now developed into an emancipated sexual woman. Society disapproves of this and her smug teddy bear friends agree with this. Furthermore, her embracing of primitive dance moves similar to those found in tribal dances in the Congo strikes fear into the hearts of her once “wholesome” fans. This is a comment on how society treats white girls who “should know better.” Frequently more explicit events happen in hip-hop videos that involve young black women and no one blinks an eye. Miley is drawing attention to the fact that for different social classes we have different perceptions. I found the event to be great and a real game changer for Miley, and hopefly for the women’s right movement.
    • Fresh as Heck
      Cyrus looked fresh as heck!
    • satire?
      Cara B, For some reason, I'm not seeing this as a game-changer for the women's rights movement. Thanks for your thoughts (or your satire--I'm not sure which it is). --Lou
    • A plot?
      Or maybe Miley is a CIA puppet, intended to distract the media (and the rest of us) from the more important events of the day.
    • Just waiting
      For her 15 minutes to be up. What a pile of tramp-trash mocking as "entertainment". Who's she trying to be, Janet Jackson?
      • Plastic
        Her fevered movements are the frustrated product of over 6,000 years of human tradition. Ms. Cyrus inspires her audience to challenge preconceived notions of the good and asks viewers of MTV's Video Music Awards to embrace her for who she is - an experimental satirist with a penchant for the corrupt and ideologically facile.
      • Well..
        ... whether you like her or not, the woman (Miley Cyrus) is pretty damn talented. And she's not doing too shabbily in the sales department, so I'll even credit her as a fairly astute business person. Too many of you old codgers are eager too dismiss someone when all you know of them is what you see (good or bad) on TV and in the media. Sometimes your two cents is worth even less....
        • Please Marshall
          She may be a lot of things, but 'talented' is not one of them...well maybe in the way the Kardashians are 'talented', that is they know how to exploit themselves for profit. Yes, they are getting rich, but talent has nothing to do with it.
        • Jezebel has it right
          It's not about breaking out of the Hannah mold, it's not about asserting her adulthood, it's not even about gender (exclusively). Read the Jezebel.com article. It was the most egregious appropriation of another's culture that I've ever seen and that includes Vanilla Ice, Snow and Beiber. http://jezebel.com/on-miley-cyrus-ratchet-culture-and-accessorizing-with-514381016
          • She Understands How to Make Money
            To be Janet Jackson, she would have to have a modicum of talent, not that Ms. Jackson sets the bar terribly high. That said, Ms. Cyrus is laughing all the way to the bank. She knows how to milk the media machine to make a profit, and she is yet another example of the truth of H.L. Mencken's famous saying, "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public." Her routine was calculated to get attention and work up outrage, and it worked. And, the following day her online song sales shot up. She knows the system and she knows how to work it. I think much of this outrage is misplaced. Ms. Cyrus is simply a good capitalist making a buck giving dumb American consumers exactly what they want.
          • Not Culture
            I think both you and Jezebel are a bit off. While I agree Ms. Cyrus intentionally played around the edges of race as part of her efforts to be provocative, anyone who thinks that "twerking" and "ratchetness" represent black culture either thinks very little of the culture or has had very limited contact with African-Americans. It is interesting that nearly all the talk of "cultural appropriation" has come from self-righteous white people who are too pompous and tone-deaf to realize that they are insulting African-Americans by claiming that Ms. Cyrus is "stealing" from "their culture." First, everything she did on stage came straight from the play book of the manufactured mass media pop culture of the last 25 years. Whatever elements of her act were originally derived from black culture had been so thoroughly filtered through the media strainer that they long lost any and all connection to black culture. Second, even if she were to "appropriate" motifs, themes, and art forms from other cultures, there would be nothing wrong with it. Every artist does this in some form of another as part of his or her creative process---not that I would want to seem to be elevating Ms. Cyrus to artist status.
          • Here's a thought.
            Chris, I would suggest that you dive into some of the blogs and articles on The Root or Racialicious or any of the myriad sites that discuss current events from the nonwhite perspective. Not all of us who subscribe to the cultural appropriation discussion are "self-righteous pompous whites," fyi. Also, brilliant satire above, Cara. Well done!
            • Appropriate for Animals, perhaps
              Guilty of cultural appropriation? Primitive is right. These so-called primitive tribal dance moves remind me more of animalistic mating patterns like that YouTube video of the two Baboons that leap onto the hood of a passing car and start going at it to the surprise and laughs of those in the car. I am not bothered by that behavior so long as we, as a society, are not expected to accept such primitive behavior as normal, appropriate, or anything more deserving than that of the common whore.
            • That's entertainment
              ...and we are all blogging about it. Miley's marketers are counting the buzz (blog posts, web visits, broadcasts, song and product sales, what else?) and need I say, smiling!
              • Wow.
                seriously?
              • Cara's satire much appreciated
                Lou...this got way more comments than when you ask people every week what they did on the A & E Front over the weekend...the only thing that gets more hits are free tickets, and when you post a negative Fringe review of a certain Bloomington Theater company production written and directed by a schizophrenic who has names for at least 3 of his/her personalities/pennames. You have to get some attention too...what is good for Miley is good for you too...after all the Onion has weighed in with a terrific commentary on why CNN made her their lead story on the website...check that out for some good satire Cara...
              • Think About This
                Jen: Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Duke Ellington, Nina Simone, Mos Def, Janelle Monae, and a host of other talented artists and intellectuals from the past and present are what constitute black culture. A silly butt-shaking dance that is at best vaguely related to Jamaican dancehall moves and New Orleans bounce is not black culture. And, acting ignorant and crass and calling ones behavior "ratchet" has absolutely nothing to do with black culture--it is just stupid behavior either put on for the purpose of getting attention or because one doesn't know any better. You are making what Miley Cyrus did into something far too deep. She simply repeated what she has been doing under the guidance of her handlers for the past 5-6 years, which is act increasingly provocative to get attention so she can promote her bubble-gum music and cash in on the sales. I don't generally give Rihanna much credit for making the best decisions, but she did make an excellent choice with her response to Ms. Cyrus's performance--the blank stare gave Miley Cyrus exactly all the attention she deserved. Too bad the rest of the world along with all the major media outlets weren't smart enough to follow Rihanna's example.
              • madonna
                She's taking a page from Madonna's playbook. Go ahead give her publicity who cares?

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