Thursday, September 12, 2013

SM Johnson ~ More Miley ~

I know, not that there's not much more of Miley Cyrus to see, right? (Heh. That's a joke. Laugh).Welcome to yet another installment of The Miley Circus! Since everybody's talking about Miley, I figured I'd better talk about her too. Even though I'm admittedly a bit late to this party - but that's nothing new - I tend to be lost in my own little world most of the time.

What alerted me to the discussion of All Things Miley was a question from my ten-year old daughter. "Mom, what, exactly, did Miley DO that has everyone so mad?"

And the truth, at this point, was that I had no idea myself. I mean, I heard the buzz on morning radio as I drove Sprite to school, the DJ's bantering about shock and awe, and reading celebrity tweets about Miley's performance at the VMAs, but other than that, I was clueless.

So my answer to Sprite's questions was, "I have no idea. Let's go look."

Now, I want you to know... Sprite grew up with Hannah Montana. Loved her. Loves all the Disney kids, really, and no doubt would like to be one. She downloaded some of Miley's new music onto her iPod, and, to tell you the truth, I was less than impressed. It's our party we can do what we want, kiss who we naked if we want... well, okay, that last part, the naked part, I made up. I don't care for the song. I think it's annoying. I think it's narcissistic and crude - whatever - but I totally GET that Miley's ready to break away from her PG-13 Disney image. She's what... 20, 21? Yeah, I don't blame her for wanting to explore a little dirty and figure out who she is when she's not a Disney kid. It's not different from any teenager expressing independence from parental values. We need to try on stuff and figure out what fits Us, the REAL US, not someone else's version of us. (I mean attitudes and values, and figuring out what's important to us. Obviously I wasn't referring to actual CLOTHES, since celebrities don't wear them any more. I bet this new fad makes work hard to come by for underwear models).

Do I think this is what Miley was doing at the VMAs?

Eh, not really.

Miley's management team used the performance at the VMAs to let the world know that Miley is all grown up. They used it to make people talk, and boy, have people ever been talking. I mean, come on, you KNOW she didn't do this all by herself, right? She had a whole team developing this silliness. And yes, it's silliness.

The whole teddy bear thing was like.... a parody of sexy, don't you think? That level of clueless crude just can't be reached by accident, you know? From the tongue to the crotch-grabbing to the twerking (and WTF is "twerking" anyway? Never heard of it. Must be some new-fangled Hollywood thang)... none of it was even remotely sexy.

Sprite and I watched it together. Sprite was... overall, nonplussed, but the performer in her was disappointed because there was nothing remotely attractive about the performance. "Miley can do better than this, Mom." And, "The bears are stupid, and her costume is ugly."

Well, I guess everyone's a critic.

We watched Miley make a mean face, watched her stick out her tongue (always the same amount of tongue, always the same position outside her mouth, until it became the joke I'm sure it was intended to be), and watched her grind and grab, and twerk (we were watching, and everyone's all talking about twerking, so I'm sure we saw it even if we didn't recognize what we were seeing).

But you know what I see in this performance?

Shades of P!nk. They are very pale shades, sure, but that's what I'm seeing. The snarling look, the blatant angry/sexy. But Miley, sweetheart, it's been done, and done better.

I am a huge fan of P!nk - love her, adore her, adore the way she spits her life out in songs, filled with visceral, tangible emotion. I mean, who hasn't thought, "Man, I love you, but I'd like to slap you in your whole face" ? And who hasn't wanted to crow at someone we're angry with, "So what? I'm still a rock star." Ha.

The difference is crude versus class, an act versus an integrated persona. P!nk isn't just angry, and she isn't just sexy, and she isn't just daring. She's all these things rolled into a one super-cool and talented bundle. My impression is that P!nk just... is. Not for the media, not for her fans, not for her husband, her daughter or Oprah. She's just P!nk.

Sometimes she's cool, sometimes she's just plain real. (Total paraprhasing ahead, so don't quote me on any of this)... "So," Ellen asks. "How's the marriage thing going?" And P!nk's response, "Um, well, It's marriage." And silence, and a look, and then she laughs. Because we all know marriage isn't always great. And we HEAR P!nk tell us about times she's been pissed off.

I could be totally wrong, of course, perhaps it's an act, and she's as fake Hollywood as anyone else, but it doesn't feel that way to me.

What I told Sprite was Miley appears to be putting on icky sexy in order to shock people. Was it sexy? No. Was it shocking? Well, yeah, to some degree, I suppose.

And then I shifted our YouTube search to P!nk. And I said, "Sexy can be pretty and classy," and we watched the video for Just Give Me A reason, P!nk and Nate Reuss, with flickers of Carey Hart in the video (and yet another creepy teddy bear, this one with glowing eyes). Oh, for yum yum yum, except for the bear. That was just as creepy as Miley's bears.

What I really wanted was for Sprite to see the difference - Miley was putting on a sexual performance for the world, and in a sense, so was P!nk, but something about the way P!nk pulls it off gives the illusion of privacy and romance. And that, my friends, is perhaps what makes the difference. While Miley makes us feel like we're seeing everything, P!nk makes us feel like we're seeing something special.

So the question is... do I ban Miley music from the house or the i-can-do-everything-from-this-machine devices? Eh, nah. The important thing is Miley helped me talk to Sprite about how we present our image to the world, and why I don't let her wear certain outfits to school (or even out of the house) and why I don't want her making YouTube vidoes in her underwear - because clearly the world has had enough of that. I'm baffled really, I always thought Hollywood's most popular divas at least made enough money to buy clothes...

Peace out. Have a great weekend, darlings!

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