Since copious amounts of ink have been spilt and numerous megabytes (and brain cells) have been consumed on behalf of the Miley Cyrus/Robin Thicke duet-debacle, I was hesitant to weigh in.
Perhaps I may do so as the mother of daughters who once enjoyed watching the occasional TV episode of Hannah Montana (though I frequently cringed at the lame plots and sheer inanity of the screenwriting. SpongeBob SquarePants is Shakespearian by comparison, fart jokes and all).
Also, don’t accuse me of sexism because this column is about Cyrus and not Thicke.
Yes, he was a participant, but somewhat passive (and fully dressed, the Beetlejuice costume notwithstanding). Besides, I’d never heard of Mr Thicke before this, and probably never will again.
Should one laugh or weep? The answer is yes. (The laughter should be derisive.) Weep for the decline and fall of western civilisation, for lost innocence, for Miley’s former fans, and for anyone who viewed the ‘performance’ – which incidentally did not include me.
The online photos and ensuing commentary were sufficient to form an opinion. The Daily Mail (as reprinted in the New Zealand Herald, where I read it) called the act “somewhat distasteful”. Gee, ya think?
Miss Cyrus is staunchly unapologetic and self-congratulatory. In her first interview after the incident, she stated: “We made history”. Oh dear.
She continued: “You want to make history. Me and Robin the whole time said, ‘You know you are about to make history right now?’” (Now that she has mastered Body Language and Made History, perhaps Miss Cyrus could turn her attention to English Grammar. But let me not digress.)
Miss Cyrus further observed to the interviewer: “It is an amazing thing that I think now it is three days later and people are still talking about it.” I suppose when postmodern man (or woman) is striving for that elusive “15 minutes of fame”, three days must seem like an eternity.
But then we are talking about the Internet Age, where “news” is passé after about two hours.
Regarding Miss Cyrus’ impact on culture, we might have to wait a few more decades.
I’m willing to wager that fifty years hence, people will still know who Jane Austen is; Miley Cyrus, not so much.
Moreover, she uses the phrase “making history” as though it were always and everywhere a good thing. It isn’t.
After all, Mata Hari, Christine Keeler and Jezebel made history too.
So did Mother Teresa, Bernadette Soubirous, and the Blessed Virgin Mary.
If you’re hoping to make an impact on history, you should generally desire to be on the ‘positive’ side of the scale.
Miss Cyrus’ self-evaluation betrayed further incongruity: moments after claiming a premeditated bid for a place in Pop Music History (move over, Elvis), she declared of her critics: “They’re over-thinking it.
“You’re thinking more about it than when I did it. Like I didn’t even think about it because that is just me,” she said.
Yes, poor lamb, that’s part of the problem. We must revive the lost art of Thinking.
In the end, it turns out that Making History is actually no big deal.
“How many times have we seen this play out in pop music?” asks Miss Cyrus rhetorically.
She’s correct: in the game of Who Can Be the Most Outrageous, no one is keeping score.
And it’s not just pop music, but television, film, theatre, substandard literature and scandal-sheet journalism.
The culture is rife and steeped and sick with it.
As the author of Ecclesiastes writes: “Vanity of vanities… all is vanity. There is nothing new under the sun.”
And yet it made history, just as each of us has an opportunity to make history every day of our lives.
Most of us will not be included in man’s history book, nor should we especially wish to (see “vanity”, above).
God’s history book is what matters, and each of us, down to the last sparrow, has a chapter therein.
Let us consider how that chapter will be written: will we leave the world a little better than we found it, as the saints sought (and seek) to do each day, or will we have pushed events and souls closer to the precipice of destruction?
How many times have we seen this play out?
Relent, O Lord! How long? Have pity on your servants! Teach us to count our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart (Psalm 90).
Take courage; I have overcome the world (John 16:33).