Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Leave Miley Alone (Or Blame Robin)

To be honest, I was planning on leaving this topic alone.


At this point, reams of digital ink have been spilled on “VMA-gate,” and much of it by people who have an actual readership, as opposed to my blog, which most seems to generate hits when people discover that they really hate Lost and want someone to articulate why that is.


But there are things about the whole ugly mess that really stick in my craw, and after two solid days of listening to people slap Miley around on every website and social media outlet in existence, it had really started to get to me.


Finally, I went ahead and said what was on my mind, which is this:


“I guess I’m just missing all the posts about Robin Thicke, 36-year-old married father, and the horrible thing he did at the Video Music Awards.”


I had to shorten it somewhat for Twitter, which didn’t prevent it from being my very first somewhat-viral tweet.  Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t shoot across the ‘net and bring me fame and fortune and a book deal, but it did get outside of my immediate circle of friends.


I suspect that statement was at least somewhat obtuse, as a few people didn’t seem to grasp what I was talking about, and a few friends (and a couple complete strangers) took the opportunity to try to drag the conversation back to Miley.


I wasn’t having it.


Let’s talk about why.


Here’s the thing that might just kill my credibility in some circles: I don’t really have much of a problem with people judging Miley Cyrus and finding her wanting. 


If you don’t watch certain movies, avoid certain TV, don’t involve yourself in some kinds of music because they’re outside your values system, you know what?  I’m fine with that.  That’s your choice.


If you want to point to Miley and tell your kids, “That’s gross and uncool and never, ever, ever do that?”  Go for it mom.  Or dad, I guess.  Mostly I seem to see mom outrage.


I first encountered what had happened when an outraged mom who first blabbed about it via social media.  She linked to an animated GIF of one of the dicey portions of the performance in question, with a message akin to, “Shame on Miley.”


I clicked.  And there was Miley, yes, grinding on… some guy.  I had no idea who.  For that matter, I only knew it was Miley because I’d been told it was Miley.


But never mind, because moments later there were a half-dozen other posts about what a terrible human being Miley Cyrus is. 


Shortly thereafter, the performance was all over the news sites, and the headlines all screamed the name of Miley.


Exactly zero of them mentioned her partner.  Judging from the headlines, he was some anonymous guy.  A dancer maybe?  Some gun for hire, and no one knew his name?


Oh, no.  Wait.  That was Robin Thicke, singing Blurred Lines, his massive hit single.  You know, the one with the video that, if you view it censored, features women Miley’s age dancing around wearing less than Miley did.  And if you view it uncensored, features women Miley’s age missing their tops.


And no, not in an artful, family-friendly PG rated way. They’re just missing.


And the song, of course, is about you, yes you, ladies, wanting to do things to Robin that rhyme with “hug me,” and also, during the rap break, you, yes, YOU get referred to as the hottest female dog.  Or as they put it on Parks and Recreation, Leslie Knope’s second-least name for a woman.


And let’s not forget, the song also includes the line, “You know you want it,” which can either mean, “Go ahead, do what you feel,” or, alternately, “You and me both know that NO actually means YES.”


And while I’m talking about this, Robin is a 36-year-old married father.  Grinding away on a 20-year-old woman on national television.


I assume his wife is cool with it, because, you know, I’m sure she was cool with the video.  But I do wonder about his kid(s).  I mean, if it’s a girl, sooner or later she’s going to see this, and the message is, “No, it’s cool to do this kind of thing.  Feel free to let boys old enough to be your dad do this to you in public places.”


Or, if it’s a boy, “Hey, you know, this is fine.  This is what women are for.”


In case I’m being obtuse, and I don’t think I am, what I’m saying is this:


If you are morally outraged by what Miley Cyrus chose to do at the VMAs, you had better muster up the exact same amount of outrage for Robin Thicke.  You need to tell your son he does not act like that.  You need to tell your daughter that if some dude pulls that move on her in a public forum, it really isn’t cool.


But I’m seeing?  Exactly none of that.


Now, okay, let’s go back and talk about the other reason this is bothering me.  Well, the two reasons, I guess.


The first is that people are super-happy to get up in Miley’s grill because she should know better.


And you know what?  I agree.  I do.  It was a poor choice.


Unlike most of the mom army going nuts over this, I actually took the six minutes to watch the performance, and on just about every level, it’s a failure.  If it was meant to showcase the song, it doesn’t do that. 


If it was meant to titillate, it doesn’t really manage that either.  I suppose there’s a certain amount of outrageousness to be found but mostly it’s just confusing.  Miley keeps sticking her tongue out and off to the side, which is the kind of thing that’s supposed to look hot but instead makes it look like she’s been stung in the tongue by a bee and it’s swelling up and escaping from her mouth.


The foam finger she uses to fondle herself mostly just looks uncomfortable and confusing, like she decided to have a little fun during a football game and forgot she had the thing on.  It’s like something Pink Floyd would have stuck in the movie The Wall, if they’d thought of it.


And as for the dancing… look, I don’t know if Miley is actually a good dancer or not, as I’ve never encountered her work outside of this one clip.  But mostly she seems to be bouncing around like an over-caffeinated puppy.


My point is, unless she was trying to create a parody of outrageousness (which would explain Robin Thicke’s suit, I guess), whatever she was going for, she didn’t get there.


Essentially, she did something incredibly stupid and embarrassing.


And you know what?  A story goes here.


When I was in college, there was a big rock in the middle of campus.  And it was considered a “thing” to take off all your clothes and run from wherever you lived on campus to the rock and back.


How old were the people who did that kind of thing?


Oh, you know.  Somewhere between 18 and 22.


And how old is Miley?


Yes, that’s right.  Twenty.


The average woman doesn’t hit the age of twenty and spend it on the national stage.  She goes to college, and she does stupid stuff there that never, ever, ever makes it off campus because she’s surrounded by her friends who have ALSO done stupid stuff.


For that matter, when I went to school, if you wanted to take a picture you had to find your camera and hope it had film and a functioning battery.


Today when someone decides to strip off, all they need to do is run by someone with a phone and their poor life choices can be on Twitter in 15 seconds or so.


And again, in case you’re missing what I’m saying, it’s this:


Yes, Miley did something foolish.  Regardless of whatever message she was trying to send, it looked ridiculous and didn’t convey whatever is was she meant to convey.


But the thing of it is, she made a mistake.  And no one at MTV thought to take her aside and tell her it wasn’t working.  And Robin Thicke, 36-year-old father and husband, didn’t turn to her and go, “Look, this makes us both look bad.  I’m old enough to be your dad, and I’ve got to say I don’t see this being a winner of an idea.  Let’s come up with something else that’s cute and fun and just have a good time.”


But no one did.  And now Miley is getting to shoulder all of the fallout.


Not MTV, who should know better.


Not Robin, who should know better.


So what I’m saying is, if you’re outraged, you’d better be sure that you’re spreading that outrage around, and not just tossing it on top of Miley Cyrus.


To do otherwise is to say that Robin’s actions were perfectly acceptable.  And if you feel that way, I’m pretty sure I don’t want my kids getting to know your kids.


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