I read on the Internet and heard on television that Miley’s career was over.
Miley had gone too far.
I remember vividly watching Madonna sing, “Like A Virgin,” rolling around on stage, erotically, during the MTV Video Awards in 1984. She wore a bride’s gown: corset, garter belt and veil.
Immediately, her performance was criticized but publicized, everyone was talking about her. No one had ever done what she’d done on stage before. People, shocked, said her career was over.
It seems that the shock factor is actually the very thing that boosts celebrities to further stardom because as it turns out, that was just the beginning of Madonna’s career. She took off after that. And the more she reinvented herself, and the more outrageous she became, the more we paid attention.
How does one even go about getting noticed today?
Everything is so amped up.
It used to be that a good movie had one or two pivotal or dramatic scenes. Now movies seem to be a string of those events, one car chase or bomb explosion after another.
It used to be that a novel writer had 100 pages to develop character or build plot before anything spectacular needed to happen. Then it became ten pages, then one. Now you have a sentence.
Audiences have no patience. They want to be shocked, stunned, entertained and amused immediately, and continuously.
At the 2015 MTV Music Video Awards, Miley sang, “Yeah I smoke pot… but I don’t give a f*ck.”
She danced in costumes that barely covered her nipples.
In the finale, her backup dancers were drag queens.
Her desire for attention, and or to shock, is preposterous, not to mention boring.
And yet, Miley is the one laughing all the way to the bank. I don’t believe, regardless of how tasteless her performance was, her career is over. In fact, just like Madonna, she’s got everyone talking.
(This is not to compare talent. I happen to like Madonna and I’m not a Miley fan although that is not the point of this post.)
What is the point is that we blame Miley. Sure she is responsible for herself and she is ultimately the one in control of what she wears and what she sings but we are complicit.
She didn’t write her own lyrics.
She didn’t design her own costumes.
She didn’t choreograph her own dance routines.
And she didn’t invite herself to host the MTV Video Music Awards.
Society has made it so that the one who is the most theatrical or outrageous gets to be in the spotlight. In fact, Bill O’Reilly talked about Miley’s performance on his show, which got me to Google it, and then to watch it.
Bill O’Reilly talks about the President of the United States.
He talks about aspiring presidents like Donald Trump.
And he discussed Miley, which, from her agent’s perspective, is a good thing because bad press is better than no press.
We pretend we’re outraged by Miley’s behavior, that we want something different, even as we watch her twerk Robin Thicke on YouTube 203 million times.
Where are our values?
My grandsons ages, 6, 4 and 3, walk around singing,
“Shut up and dance with me.”
“Uptown funk me up.”
“Watch me whip, watch me nah nah.”
“Bubble butt…” (I wouldn’t consider posting the rest of the words here but they are certainly shocking.)
Lately, I feel manipulated when books, or movies, or performances start out with such a bang. There is nowhere to go but down. And the drive to keep upping the ante is exhausting.
Think of it this way: I love ice cream. But an ice cream sundae would not taste as good after eating pizza, pasta, a turkey sandwich and an omelet. It’s just too much!
But we are gluttonous for more.
We forget that a little spice is a good thing but too much gives you indigestion.