Saturday, August 31, 2013
The Twerking Class
Let's throw some Oscar Wilde at this whole Miley Cyrus thing: "Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people whom we personally dislike."
I think all the people who are bitching and moaning about Miley's "performance" on the MTV Music Video Awards last week don't like her. Period. But I think they are more than grateful to her for the chance to be moralistic about the whole she-bang. They live for this stuff, even while they dislike the "she" of the "she-bang." In fact, the more they dislike her, the more it seems to fuel the outrage, until the whole thing tips over into somehow pitying her, and the backlash gets a backlash. Case in point: at the beginning of the week Extra-TV was interviewing the morally outraged, anti-Miley contingent. By Thursday, they had "style expects" on the show, talking about the evolution of Miley's style from "Disney pop princess" to "MTV vixen."
I guess you don't have to like her. You just have to bloviate until it all collapses in on itself. Then you have yourself a bonafide media circus. Even Lester Holt has to talk about it. Everyone wins!
What it comes down to: pundits and feminists and activists etc. all need the Mileys of the world. It's a cluster-fuck ecosystem. They have to get outraged in order to be relevant, and the bigger and stupider the target the better. All this 20-year-old pop star was doing is what pop stars have done since pop-stardom started. She made a spectacle of herself using whatever cultural props and tropes were at hand. At this point in the 21st Century, porn has become a second language, a way to usurp moral codes by just not being moral. Porn equals fun now. Its referenced in detergent and fast-food commercials. Fine upstanding ladies have sex-toy parties in their mini-mansions. It has become the go-to when you want to show both how open-minded you are and how "freaky" you can be. Porn is now the primary religion practiced by pop-stars, and twerking is one of its primary forms of worship.
Miley went for it. And it paid off. She got exactly what she wanted. She even probably wanted all the insults and memes and late-night-talk-show jibes. This is her art. She has become the neo-neo-neo-Madonna. Madge almost thirty years prior did a rolling-around-on-the-floor-in-a-wedding-dress stunt on the VMAs that got her in "hot water" too. And remember her glossy, awful Sex Book? Remember her flaunting her "transgressive sexual power"? Remember Camille Paglia?
I'm not going to go Paglia on this one. I've never loved Miley. I don't know if I like her either. But I do kind of respect her just because she's blatant enough to cut through the bull-shit and create one of those media pandemoniums everyone in the media world loves to participate in, even while they act like it's the end of Western Civilization. Miley has become a C-F industry this week.
So I'm not defending her, or even pitying her. Just appreciating her for what she is.
All I am saying is "Give twerk a chance."