Tuesday, August 27, 2013

what articles about what the Miley Cyrus VMA performance says about our culture say about our culture

Miley Cyrus was on the 2013 VMAs, and stuck her tongue out, and wore very few clothes, and did something called "twerking" that is apparently a dance move that is so much a part of black culture that Miley's doing it, and having black background dancers, makes her a racist. And her desperate need for attention makes her a slut, and maybe crazy, and saying that is slut shaming, and part of the way society oppresses women's expression of their sexuality. And everyone - everyone - is horrified by Cyrus's performance, so horrified for so many different reasons that they have to watch it over and over again and write articles about it that link to the video of her dancing so other people can see it and be horrified and write their own articles about how terrible Cyrus is and how she made a horrible mistake by doing something that has upped her fame level by about 1000% (at last when I hear the names Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift I'll now be able to remember which one is which).

Is the Miley Cyrus performance the most egregious overuse of sex in a song in the history of mankind? Is it the most horrific example of naked racism? Is it something shocking that we will never forget?

I'm going to say no.

So why is this getting so much attention? Well, first off, it was on the VMAs, which apparently a lot of people watch (honestly, my only objection to the Cyrus performance is it made me pay attention to the VMAs). It was a little (purposefully) over the top, and people started talking about it.

And then bloggers and columnists all over the world said, oh my god if I wrote something about this that puts a spin on it then I'll get a billion blog hits. And when they got their billion hits, more people wrote about it.

And that's it. The truth is, the Miley Cyrus performance is not especially important, except for being a textbook example of how the blogosphere, and modern journalism, which now takes its cue from the blogosphere, operates. Writers are sharks, and when first blood is spilled, there is a feeding frenzy.

It is understandable. Even though I am not linking to the video, because if you haven't seen it already it's probably a conscious decision, just the fact that this article contains the phrases "miley cyrus" and "VMAs" means it will probably get more hits than anything I've written since I wrote an article about Kate Beckinsale's breasts. That still won't be a lot of hits - maybe a few hundred over the next year - but for serious bloggers, a popular article about the thing everyone is talking about can get them as much attention - almost - as Miley.

Miley Cyrus tried to get attention, and succeeded, and while her performance is being lambasted everywhere, a whole slew of singers are already trying to figure out how they can get this much attention. And when they figure it out, expect much joyous wailing and gnashing of teeth.