Thursday, August 29, 2013

Miley Cyrus & The Need to Shame

Fortunately I was out on Sunday and did not see the horrendous performance from Miley Cyrus at this year's Video Music Awards live, but I saw it a day (or was it two?) later after being linked to it from a thread on a forum I frequent. To say it was terrible would be putting it mildly. It was light years beyond terrible. It was so terrible that a new word is necessary to describe its terribleness. To redeem my eyes for having suffered such a spectacle, I proceeded to watch Guns N' Roses' famous ensemble (which included Elton John) performance of November Rain to close out the 1992 VMAs. I lamented. In a little over twenty years, the quality has declined so massively that said decline might as well be a supermassive black hole, around which an entire galaxy of vapidness and degeneracy orbits. This is a race to the bottom popular culture, and Miley Cyrus' "performance" is yet another sign that the event horizon has been crossed.

To my immense satisfaction however, her act has been almost universally panned- not just in the demographics I roll with, but by mainstream culture too. It's almost as if, disgusted by itself, the mainstream has been looking for a way to go back from the event horizon- a last-minute desperate attempt to warp reality. This is a good thing.

Yet, some try and defend this hideous act, predictably trying to wrap Cyrus up in the mantle of victimhood touched with a sprinkling of race-baiting. Yawn. Consider the following passage:
It seems that we still can’t handle what it’s like for a young woman to be able to perform, as she chooses, without layering in a heavy helping of insults as well.
I'm sorry, but what? No one is saying that Cyrus shouldn't be able to "perform" (I refuse to give her act the dignity of that word) as she wishes to. If she wants to try and twerk her non-existent ass, it is her right to do so, but neither I nor anyone else has to accept it and/or not insult her for it.

The article, and this passage in particular, seems to imply that she can just do whatever the hell she wants, that other people have to accept her choices in life. We do not.

Let me make it clear: Miley Cyrus is a skank. Period.

Cue-in cries about "slut-shaming."

It's painfully obvious that Miley Cyrus has nothing to offer other than her vagina. Unlike her peer Lady Gaga, and their predecessors such as Britney Spears or Madonna, she has no artform associated with her sexuality. Whereas other women use their sexuality in a confident and intriguing fashion as a fuller expression of who they are, Miley Cyrus offers nothing. She is just a vagina perched beneath a cardboard cutout figure, and she desperately tries to flaunt it to get attention, likely as a result of a deep-seated identity crisis as she struggles to get past her Hannah Montana days which continue to become smaller in the rearview mirror. The result is a stunningly juvenile and vapid display which pollutes the entire culture.

And yes, this behavior should be shamed. I remember a conversation I had a couple of months ago with a mentor of mine who is a luminary in New York City politics. We both agreed that it was lamentable that nothing is ever shamed anymore. No matter what behavior, it seems that we are not allowed to criticize it (unless it goes against the egalitarian religion of course). I believe that this gives our society a sense of false confidence and feeds into the self-centered, "you can have it all" attitude that you should be able to do whatever you want without any consequences.

Shame is necessary to prevent runaway undesirable outcomes for society. It is a vital form of "soft" regulation if you will. If we strive for excellence, we must call out those that shamelessly engage in behavior that degrades everyone.

Simply put, a woman who has no value other than her vagina, and flagrantly engages in empty promiscuous activities, offers nothing to society. While her choice of behavior certainly shouldn't be restricted, that doesn't mean she's entitled to respect.

I am glad that most people see this for what it is right now- but if my pessimism is well-founded, this will become more and more accepted in the future, as our culture continues to get sucked down the black hole. We can try to fight- to warp reality, by continuing to shame, and not give the time of day to those who cry and moan about said shaming. Miley Cryus VMA's 2013 Twerking

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