In Other ‘News’

I was not watching MTV’s Video Music Awards show last Sunday night. I mean, seriously, why would I be? First of all, the St. Louis Cardinals were playing the Atlanta Braves, and the Cardinals’ televised games are a viewing priority in our house. Secondly, I was not aware that the VMAs were even on–and if I had been aware (and if the Cardinals hadn’t been playing), I would have chosen a quiet night of reading over watching an awards show recognizing musicians whose songs I’ve never heard. That’s not to say there weren’t some very talented, well deserving performers being honored for their work–I’m sure there were–but give me the likes of Jimmy Buffett and Nina Simone and Johnny Cash, or give me a good book.

With that being said, I might as well have been watching the VMAs last Sunday night because for several days afterward every “news” program deemed it necessary to show me over and over (and over) again clips of the on-stage antics of a young Miley Cyrus and a not-so-young Robin Thicke (please, let’s not forget his part). Outrageous! Shocking! Disturbing!

Yes. The old fogey in me agrees with every one of those assessments, but the soft-hearted mama in me also can’t help feeling a little sorry for Miley (I don’t have the same sympathy for Mr. Thicke). Such a beautiful face, such a beautiful voice–why would she feel the need to demean herself in such a manner? Doesn’t she have anyone she trusts who could have counseled her against such a display? Is she on her way to becoming yet another celebrity train wreck? I’m guessing, though, that Miley doesn’t care for my pity or anyone else’s, and I’m guessing that she and Mr. Thicke accomplished exactly what they set out to accomplish–they got the world’s attention. In the week since the VMAs, download sales of her single “We Can’t Stop” have sky-rocketed, and pre-orders on an upcoming album have done the same.

I’m also guessing that whatever shock and disgust I may have felt when viewing those brief clips on the news wasn’t all that different from the shock and disgust my parents experienced when my generation bumped hips to “Shake Your Groove Thing” by Peaches and Herb. And was that really so different from the shock and disgust my grandparents felt when my parents’ generation gyrated and thrust their pelvises to Elvis’s “Hound Dog”?

Why should I care what Miley does (or Lindsey or Kim or Snooki)? And the fact is that I don’t care nearly as much as all the “news” programs want to make me believe I do. Maybe I would care more if I had young daughters or if my sons were still young and impressionable, but honestly I’m more concerned about the mothers who were quoted as saying that they had to remove their small children from the room during Miley’s performance. Seriously? I was a pretty liberal mama who did very little censoring when my children were younger, but even I would have had more sense than to plop my children in front of the television during an MTV awards show. Maybe they couldn’t have predicted just how outrageous her performance would be, but c’mon–it’s MTV, not the Disney Channel.

I do, however, care that the U.S. still has troops in Afghanistan, Iraq and Korea. I do care that children are dying in Syria because of chemical attacks from their own government and that the U.S. is considering how to respond to those attacks. I do care that every night thousands of children die in their tortured sleep because of inadequate health care and that millions more go to bed crying in hunger and pain and fear. I do care that every day adults are unemployed or under-employed and are unable to properly care for their families. I do care that gas prices and the cost of living continue to climb and that school funding continues to decline. I do care that every day an awful lot of good people lose their battles with cancer and heart disease and diabetes and chronic lung diseases. And I do care that mental health issues don’t get the attention or funding they desperately need and that somewhere–right now–someone is already plotting the next big killing spree, perhaps in that little school just down the block from where you are or on the college campus where my son is.

So, please, dear news media, fill my “news” programs with those stories. And if you want to end each segment with a human interest story to increase your ratings, that’s fine–but make that story about the little boy selling lemonade to raise money for wounded veterans or about the homeless girl who beat unfathomable odds to earn a scholarship to Harvard. Leave coverage of grossly overpaid and under-clothed celebrities and their shenanigans to the gossip magazines, social media outlets and other more appropriate venues.

And for all those parents who are concerned that, because of Miley’s performance, their own teens will now be “twerking,” too, this old fogey knows how to prevent that. After a 30-year career working with teenagers, I can tell you that the fastest way to kill any teen fad and to make it totally uncool is for all the old folks to adopt it. So, here’s the plan: We’ll all meet down by Auntie Anne’s Pretzels on the mall’s Food Court on Friday night (a geriatric flash mob–what fun!), and when Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” starts blasting over the loudspeaker, we’ll bump and grind, thrust and gyrate, shake and strut and TWERK around the tables and all the way down to Aeropostale. Yeah, that’ll show ’em! Not only will we be providing a valuable service to society by proving to those teenagers just how disgusting twerking looks, but we’ll also be stimulating the economy–we may not sell any albums for Mr. Thicke, but sales of Advil, Icy Hot and heating pads will immediately skyrocket.

And just so you know, when I say “we,” I really mean you–I’ll be the one videoing the event and posting it to YouTube (just as soon as I can find a teenager to show me how).

Interesting footnote: Urban Dictionary made “twerking” its “word of the day” for August 30, 2013. Urban Dictionary’s definition: “Also known as dirty dancing. When a woman slams her bottom on a man’s pelvic area while dancing. The man can also lunge his pelvic area forward for a harder bang. This is usually performed in a dance club along with upbeat music.” On this same day, made “gynarchy” its “word of the day,” which is defined as “government by women.” Can you guess which word I like better?


 “Day after day I’m more confused . . .

blue sky

“When I look for the light in the pouring rain . . .

sunset3“You know, that’s a game, that I hate to lose 
I’m feelin’ the strain, ain’t it a shame . . .


“Give me the beat boys and free my soul 
I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and drift away . . .”
from the song, “Drift Away” by Dobie Gray

About icedteawithlemon

I have recently retired from a 30-year career in education in one of the best school districts in the world. I hope to spend my second life reading, writing, photographing, traveling, biking, cheering on my favorite baseball team (the St. Louis Cardinals), and soaking up glorious sunshine. In my spare time I enjoy playing with my pet tarantulas, trying out new flavors of chewing gum, and knitting socks for prison inmates. I'm almost positive that in a past life I was one of the Seven Dwarfs (most likely "Grumpy"), and in my next life I'm going to be either a taste tester for Hershey's or a model for Victoria's Secret's new line, "Bloomers for Boomers." I want to travel country back roads, singing Vanilla Ice songs at every karaoke bar and rating bathroom cleanliness at every truckstop. And someday I plan to own a private beach where skinny girls aren't allowed. I want to be a writer when I grow up. "Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake."--Henry David Thoreau
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11 Responses to In Other ‘News’

  1. SUE says:

    “gynarchy” – I like that new word!! As always, you have perfectly expressed our opinions. Next Friday, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels – its a date!

  2. jeanjames26 says:

    I’ll get my Elaine on anytime, anyplace (Seinfeld humor) if it means the demise of the twerk! You had me laughing out loud on that one. So what’s a government run by men called? Oh yeah a failure….Great post!!

    • Thank you, jeanjames26–and I’m glad I could make you laugh (your comment had me laughing as well). Perhaps we could convince Betty White to lead the dance line–wouldn’t that be a hoot?

  3. RayEtta says:

    I may have to see if I can find a clip of Miley. I have not seen any of it. I decided several years ago that we dummies are making mega wealthy some people that are only being as outrageous as they can. Hey, and we pay hard earned money to buy their CD’s or go to movies. Take a chimp and teach it some moves, make sure it has some really terrible looking costumes and you have the next celeb. Unfortunately teens can be awfully impressed by some of this and there is not a lot a parent can do to keep it out of sight. Maybe if I could have owned 2 or 3 really expensive mansions by the time I was 25 I would not have cared if I corrupted people and a society either, but I do not contribute many dollars of mine to helping any of them buy those houses either. We are missing something these days about ethics, dignity and a few things that I miss these days.

    • Honestly, RayEtta, I wouldn’t bother looking for that clip–it’s not worth watching. And while parents may not always be able to keep their children from being exposed to such displays, they can certainly influence their children and hopefully prevent such outrageous behaviors from becoming a part of their lifestyles. I have tremendous faith in today’s young people–I’ve witnessed too much goodness not to be encouraged–but we do sometimes seem to have differing opinions on what constitutes ethical, dignified behavior. I am showing my age … but I’m not sure that’s a bad thing.

  4. bronxboy55 says:

    Karen, I always expect a first-rate piece of writing when I visit your blog, as well as stunning photography. But this may be the closest thing to a perfect post I’ve ever seen.

    What time are we meeting at the mall on Friday night? And how are Auntie Anne’s Pretzels?

    • Thank you, Charles. Not only are you incredibly kind, but you are an inspiration as well–every time I visit your blog, I leave feeling refreshed, entertained and enlightened … and wishing that I had written your words myself.

      I suggest we all meet no later than 7 p.m. so that we can be back home and ready for bed by 9 (or should we meet even earlier so that we don’t have to drive after dark?). 😉 As for those pretzels, I’ve not had one in a while, but I seem to remember a fondness for the cinnamon and sugar ones with a little cream cheese dip. Ahh, yes. (Can you even get Auntie Anne’s pretzels in New York and Canada, or are they just a Midwestern thing? No matter–I’m guessing a native New Yorker has had his share of pretzels.)

  5. Karen my dear, I’ll dispense with my personal thoughts (and sheer, intense anger) re the impending insane planned attack on Syria, and address what generations get down to – music-wise. Your train of thought re Miley Virus and Bobbin’ Thickehead completely mirrors my own. Like you, I looked back at my own teen and young adult years (the glorious, raunchy 70s) and there were plenty of records (how we listened to music back in the stone age in Bedrock) that sent my mother into a frenzied tizzy (and part of me loved sending my parents into said tizzy – let’s face it).

    This 1975 tune really rocketed my mother into the stratosphere! She broke the record in two and threw it into the garbage! “Filth! Filth!, she loudly proclaimed. Ah! Growing up Catholic.

    Perhaps this quote from centuries past puts generational “shock and awe” into perspective…

    “Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.” – Socrates

    By the by, GORGEOUS photos! Truly evocative.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m looking for my Boogie Man to shake shake shake, shake shake shake, shake my booty, shake my booty.

    Tiger Lil

  6. Okay, I can’t resist one more “shocking” tune from days past. I gyrated, bumped and grinded to this 1981 hit in the smoky clubs at 2:00 am, wearing over tight jeans, a very revealing blouse, spiked heels, and far too much eyeliner and mascara. My husband and I still “dirty dance” to this one. Our kids cannot fathom that their parents actually got their groove thang on back then. Rick James is STILL the man!

    • Thanks, Tiger Lil, for the trip down Memory Lane! I can remember clumsily gyrating to the same tunes, although usually behind a closed bedroom door where no one else could see. I don’t remember my mom getting into too much of a tizzy over the music I listened to–I think maybe she was worn out from all the tizzies over the clothes I wore. (“Who wears short shorts?” Yeah, this girl.)

      And I love the Socrates quote–so very true. Each generation will find fault with the generation that follows it–and will be both right and wrong in its judgment.

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