by Carl E. Olson | CWR blog
It would be easy to pick on Miley Cyrus, she being the One Who Would Writhe Her Way to the Twerking Throne. It would also be easy, and understandable, to lament her recent—what shall we call it?—performance/lap dance at MTV Music Video awards (say, didn't MTV stop airing music videos in 1993 or so?). If you've seen it, you likely don't want to again; if you haven't seen, don't bother. Please don't bother.
Victor Davis Hanson both laments and analyzes in an NRO essay yesterday, "Miley Cyrus and Ugly Sex":
An older generation used to call the boredom of bad habits “reaching rock bottom”; the present variant perhaps is “jumping the shark” — that moment when the tiresome gimmicks no longer work, and the show is over.
In a moral sense, Miley Cyrus reached that tipping point for America, slapping us into admitting that most of our popular icons are crass, talentless bores, and that our own tastes, which created them, lead nowhere but to oblivion.
After all, what does an affluent and leisured culture do when it has nothing much to rebel against?
A good question. And a question worth pondering, as Hanson ably does. But of interest to me here is what Cyrus had to say about her tasteless tease, and what is says about what so many Americans apparently find important and meaningful in life. Three days after acting like a porn star on crack in a stuffed animal store, the young Cyrus provided this deep insight (warning: tasteless stuff everywhere) into the matter:
I don't pay attention to the negative. Because I've seen how this plays out. How many times have we seen this play out in pop music? You know what happens. Madonna's done it. Britney's done it. … Anyone who performs, that's what your looking for; you're wanting to make history. Me and Robin [Thicke] said the whole time, "You know we're going to make history right now." It's amazing, I think, now we're three days later and people are still talking about it. They're overthinking it. You're thinking about it more than I thought about it when I did it. Like, I didn't even think about it, 'cause that's just me.
Cyrus is going to be roundly mocked by some for these silly comments, but I think she's provided a modest service for those folks who are scratching their heads, asking, "Why? Wha...? Huh?" How so? Because she outlined, without resorting to philosophical jargon or esoteric analogies (as if she could resort to such), the basic worldview of so many twenty-somethings (and thirty-somethings). And that worldview consists of these basic premises and assumptions: