At first it might seem almost impossible to justify a story about Miley Cyrus’ performance at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards on a site dedicated to all things politics, but it doesn’t take long to find a suitable angle when you compare how much outrage Cyrus’ sexually-charged and outlandishly costumed performance with how much outrage will not be sparked over finally getting confirmation that we helped Saddam Hussein as he was gassing Iranians back under the First Bush presidency. I woke up this morning with my Facebook and other social media feeds loaded with “WTF, MILEY CYRUS?!” headlines. So I too said, “What the fuck, Miley Cyrus,” as I clicked on the video replay of her performance.
Okay, let’s start with the obvious. It was sexually charged. She was dancing suggestively and she had what looked like the pelt of Chuck E. Cheese sewn into a revealing and tight-fitting outfit. So we can probably put it in the “bizarre” category. Hell, I’ll so far as to call it “over the top,” but only because it’s always been my experience that “over the top” is not always a bad thing. Here’s the truth though — Cyrus is an entertainer. She can’t afford to do the same puppy-dogs and ice cream routine she did at first because it won’t be believable anymore. She doesn’t look twelve, and I personally would find it a million times creepier to see a twenty-something dressed as a teenager and acting accordingly. That to me is pervy beyond all belief. Miley trying to do whatever teen idol has tried to do before — stop being a teen idol and still have a career — is nothing new.
The very last thing I’m going to write about Miley’s performance is this — she’s 20 years old for fuck’s sake. She’s not twelve anymore, and while I know her initial entry into showbiz was as a precocious little girl, but girls grow up. If you don’t want your daughter growing up, too bad. She’s going to. And she may end up wanting to emulate this phase of Miley’s career too. If you don’t like her performance from last night, that’s fine. You’re entitled to your subjective opinion on her art. All I’m asking is you have just a little perspective.
You see, at the same time that America was getting its collective jaw knocked to the floor by a young woman proclaiming her sexuality and creativity however-the-hell she felt like, plans of war in Syria were being made. How many of you heard from your news outlets this weekend about Senator Bob Corker all but assuring us action is imminent in Syria? Look, I get it. Politics is serious business and it’s depressing enough to where even as someone who devotes a good chunk of their time following it, I get burned out too. However, do you know how many more “WHAT THE FUCK?! BURN AFFLORCK IZ NEW BATMAN?!?” posts I saw even as we were learning that our government was putting Chelsea Manning away for exposing war crimes?
If you found yourself more repulsed by Miley Cyrus putting her hand in her crotch than you were by the reaction from even some on the left to Manning’s verdict and subsequent request for hormone treatments, you are in need of a serious priority check. Honestly, you’re already watching the MTV Video Music Awards — a show about music videos on a channel that shows no music videos. You are literally watching the most dumbed-down entertainment on the planet and you’re going to freak out like some puritanical school marm because an of-age woman gyrated and danced provocatively?
The last time I checked, Gitmo is still open, AIDS doesn’t have a cure, income inequality is getting worse by the day, we are sorely behind in education, renewable energy production and we have a political party in this country trying to shut the government down rather than help 30 million more people get health insurance. Since 20 kids under the age of nine were slayed back in December, more Americans have been gunned down here at home than soldiers killed in Afghanistan. All of these things take precedence over Miley Fucking Cyrus. I know, it’s really easy to just fire up the computer and bang away at the keys and tell everyone, “stop caring about this dumb shit,” but that’s exactly what needs to happen in this country. We need to stop caring about this shit.
If I’m sounding overly harsh, it’s because there’s an easy solution to the Miley Cyrus problem — don’t watch it and don’t let your kids watch it. There isn’t an easy solution to the Supreme Court gutting the Voting Rights Act. There isn’t an easy solution to get our government — Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Green Party, all of them — off the corporate teat completely. There aren’t easy solutions to repairing our broken infrastructure all over the country. There aren’t easy solutions to any of these problems, but I have to wonder how much easier we’d find solutions if we weren’t always so up-in-arms about what a paid attention whore doing what she does best — garnering attention — and were more up in arms about the people whose salaries we all literally pay running roughshod over us.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. You of course can be outraged about Ms. Cyrus’ performance and the fact that we’re still incarcerating a disproportionate number of young black males because we’re too chicken-shit to be bold and legalize marijuana. You can be angry about Miley’s brief, fleeting moment of overt and extroverted sexuality and also appalled about secret courts making secret ruling that allow our government to kill without due process. I’m just suggesting that you adjust the ratios of outrage accordingly.
If it meant real judicial oversight of all drone strikes, I’d take a thousand Chuck E. Cheez stripper dances. If it meant reinstalling Glass-Steagall, I wouldn’t care if Miley blew Kermit the Frog on stage in front of an audience there to see “Les Miserable” instead. When we get to the point where atrocities aren’t being carried out both internationally and domestically in the name of corporate profit and America’s inane puritanical ethics, then you’ll find me at the top of the mountain screaming about when Celebutante X goes too far.