Leave Miley Cyrus Alone


Not because she doesn’t deserve whatever criticism you want to pile on top of her for whatever it was that she did at the VMAs last night, no.

Leave her alone, because you, like me, should have no idea what she did last night.

Leave her alone, because you’re an adult and you shouldn’t even be watching MTV, a network based solely on the exploitation of insolent teenagers who use the words “swag” and “twerk” as part of their daily vernacular.

Leave her alone because she’s an insignificant pop star (is she? I don’t know what she does) who’s only famous because she’s the daughter of another insignificant pop star who’s only famous for writing and performing one of the very worst songs of all time.

But most of all, leave her alone because you’re better than that.

Now, I know if you’re feeling a little upset about what I’ve said so far that it comes from one of two very misguided places, both of which you’re only accessing because you watched the VMAs and haven’t stopped thinking about Miley Cyrus and how she looked like shit while dancing with a slightly less insignificant progeny of another relatively insignificant TV star from 30 years ago.

First, you’re saying that, well, if I’m talking about it then it did exactly what it was meant to do and that’s generate attention. While that’s certainly true on some level, there’s actually no way say, “this sucks” or “don’t do this”, if you can’t mention what “this” is. I have no interest in participating in the pointless controversy over whether whatever happened that I didn’t watch was good or bad or gross or insulting or talking about her outfit or Robin Thicke’s outfit – though his song “Blurred Lines” is basically the music version of the scene in ‘Beetlejuice’ where Beetlejuice is trying to look up the woman’s dress by lifting it with a stick.

So before anyone thinks that they’ve caught me in some sort of hypocrisy by telling me that by saying we shouldn’t talk about this nonsense that I am, in fact, talking about it, let me just say this:

That is a completely pointless argument. And if you want to hold onto it that badly, fine. I accept for the purpose of this that I am, indeed a hypocrite. You got me!

Now to the second defensive reaction you’re having, and the far more interesting of the two – that I am being pretentious (or ‘negative’ or a party pooper or whatever else you’d like to say) by saying that the VMAs are worthless bullshit that you shouldn’t watch if you’re a functioning human adult.

First off, let me just say that there are plenty of actual artists involved in and around an awards show like the VMAs, so I don’t want that to be the focus of this. Making (good) music is an art, making music videos is an art, dancing is an art, producing a show that size is an art on some level. Beyond the art elements there are plenty of people who work their asses off to make a production like that successful. Cheers to all of them.

But fuck MTV and fuck most pop music and hey, fuck you too.

You have know that you’re being sold something.

The people selling you this ‘thing’ aren’t artists. They’re just not. They’re cynical salesmen, selling you a product that is bad for you. They’re not producing that show to honor people. They’re producing the show to sell ad space and make you talk about it. They’re producing something to make money off you, and they know they will. They’re not trying to make things that are great.

The fact that you’re willing to defend the show that you’re watching is absurd. It’s not a guilty pleasure. It’s barely “entertainment” on any level.

You’re buying exactly what they’re telling you to buy and then rationalizing that you wanted it all along.

Blurred Lines, despite its popularity, just is not a great song. It’s not even a good song. It’s a hit. That’s all. If you’re going to argue that a song has to be great to be a hit, cheers to you. You’re wrong, though. Some of the biggest hits in history have faded into the pile of tapes in the bin at the record store that no one will ever buy because no one buys tapes and record stores barely exist.

You know how I know that it’s not a great song? Because if it was great, it wouldn’t need to employ the use of publicity stunts all the time. The video is a publicity stunt – naked chicks, who knew THAT would sell?? The performance last night was a publicity stunt. Hell, good music doesn’t even need dancers or light shows or theatrics, because it’s fucking MUSIC. It’s one of the pinnacles of art and of human experience.

But you buy it over and over again. No matter what “singer” they get to perform the next song, no matter what the lyrics all, it’s all the same shit. It’s designed to make tasteless, non-thinking, non-discerning people buy, buy, buy. It’s the reality television of music and the VMAs are the “Transformers” of a “show”. You can barely find a rap song these days that isn’t about either partying/drugs, the grossest way to describe ‘fucking a bitch’, or making up a story about how rich the rapper is.

It’s meant to appeal to the lowest common denominator, and if you watched it and enjoyed it, guess what? That’s you.

So I’m pretentious, yes? No.

This isn’t about pretense or about me somehow claiming that my “taste” is better or more significant than yours.

This isn’t about me at all. It’s about saying that there is art out there. Art that ARTISTS make for art’s sake. They make it because they have a love for the craft and a need for self-expression. Some of these artists make the jump to the fame and fortune that gets rewarded by outlets like MTV – hell, Bruno Mars is one of these – but most don’t. And it’s gotten worse.

Nirvana used to play the VMAs back when MTV used to actually play music videos – the very thing they’re meant to be giving awards to! I can’t imagine Kurt Cobain would even attend the show, unless he did so ironically.

This is about saying that enjoying something like that is the opposite of taste. Taste doesn’t even get talked about in this realm.

If you’re saying that you like this stuff, you need to accept that this isn’t some example of you employing your free choice and liking what you like.

Your choice is being made for you and you’re accepting that choice because you’re too lazy to make these choices on your own. Then you internalize the choice that some exec somewhere made for you and it becomes you.

When the only art forms you take in are products, produced solely for profit, well, it’s no surprise that we’ve all become fat and fucking dumb.

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