Aug. 28--When the images from Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards began spreading around the Internet, I didn't know what to think.
My first question: Who's the lizard girl, and why is she trying to mate with that man in the striped clown outfit?
Miley Cyrus wanted our attention, and she got it. I'm just not sure whether she thought we'd all watch her twerk, wag her tongue, make "I just sniffed a pile of meth" faces, and bump and grind with singer Robin Thicke and/or giant teddy bears on stage, and say to ourselves, "Whoa, Miley Cyrus sure is a grown-up performer now."
I can, however, figure out what the suits at MTV were thinking: "This is awesome. We have the go-to awards show that people are guaranteed
to watch every year, because some foolish, attention-addicted celebrity high on their own media coverage will do something stupid and outrageous and deliver us huge ratings."
Maybe Cyrus wanted to join Gene Simmons, Michael Jordan, Lassie and Spinal Tap in the Tongue-Wagging Hall of Fame. I can't think of any other explanation.
While I was digesting the various opinions around the Internet I kept trying to get a handle on Cyrus' berserk routine (and, also, on how Thicke broke into Queen's warehouse and stole one of Freddie Mercury's outfits). I wasn't the only one. Did you see the looks on the celebs in the crowd? When you're doing something so freakish and tasteless
that Rihanna is making faces like she just discovered someone put toenail clippings in her drink, you know something weird is happening.
But the thing that sticks in my mind were the ones who were defending Cyrus, such as Justin Timberlake, who said that people should expect outrageousness at the VMAs and shouldn't be upset merely because a young woman was expressing her sexuality.
Right. Rihanna would find such behavior appalling.
Actually, what we witnessed Sunday night was a young woman not expressing her newfound sexuality, but a willingness to do just about anything to get our attention.
Mission accomplished, I guess.
If anything, Cyrus was saying that silly, sexually provocative (but not really) behavior is what defines her these days. Those around her should find that troubling. Her decision to do whatever it was she did Sunday wasn't based on furthering herself as an entertainer or gaining new respect for a former Disney child star. It was bizarre, and hopefully -- for her -- not the night where someday we all refer to as the beginning of the end.
I'm fine with a young women exploring and expressing her sexuality (as long as she isn't one of my daughters). However, the best female entertainers over the years have been able to do so in a manner that meant something.
Take note, Miley
Madonna did it with creative and clever songs and videos that actually had points, as controversial as they were. Beyonce wears some outrageously revealing outfits, but she sings and dances like no one else and never loses sight of the fact that she's in control -- which itself is a terribly sexy thing. Even Rihanna, as troubling as some of her antics can be, never lets you forget she's a singer and an entertainer.
Are they good examples for kids? That's a question for which parents could give dozens of varied answers. But it can be argued that Madonna, Beyonce and Rihanna each had or have a plan for furthering their career. At least those entertainers stay in the limelight while not tarnishing their careers too much while doing it.
Cyrus acting like someone spiked her mineral water with amphetamines isn't sexy, not does it contribute to her career in any meaningful or interesting way. We get it -- she doesn't want to be associated with Disney anymore. She wants an new adult image, which is ironic, considering how goofy she acted.
Something is getting lost in translation. If Cyrus wants to do something different, she should go act in a serious movie. Record real music that stands mostly on its own merits, as opposed to garnering headlines for raunchy videos and drug references. Sunday's performance was not delivered by a woman who other women -- or anyone else -- should take seriously.
The scary thought is that once the attention from the VMAs wears off -- and it will -- what will she resort to next? She'd better think of something better than what she's shown us so far. Otherwise, her grown-up career will be over before it really got started.
Contact Tony Hicks at Facebook.com/BayAreaNewsGroup.TonyHicks or Twitter.com/insertfoot.
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