It’s official, I’m a square. I had to ask what “twerking” was.
I had assumed it had something to do with Twitter and “tweeting.” Wrong!
Turns out tweaking refers to movements of the hips and buttocks in suggestive ways.
There, aren’t you glad you know that now? I know I am.
I found this out of course, through all the outrage over Miley Cyrus’ offensively silly performance at the 2013 MTV Music Video Awards.
As you might expect, when the United States is again thinking of getting involved in somebody else’s civil war, with a rival great power warning us to back off and the very real possibility of some very bad stuff happening, the attention of the nation is riveted on a 20-year-old making an idiot of herself in public.
Of course the sky is falling over on the social conservative side of the aisle as the specter of Soddom and Gomorrah looms over the republic.
And of course Miley Cyrus is getting a lot more attention than her looks and talent would ordinarily command.
“I’m really effed up!” she was reported to have said. “I have lots of issues.”
Miley, lots of us are messed up and have issues.
“I don’t have a normal life,” she added.
Lots of us who don’t have the excuse of celebrity don’t have normal lives and can’t provide a “normal” life for their kids. And we don’t provide it on less money.
Amidst all the fuss, comic commentator Dennis Miller nailed it to the wall on Bill O’Reilly’s show on FOX.
“I’m bored!” he said. “I’m bored with all these kids who want to get attention by shocking us.”
Listen, we’ve had child stars around for a while now.
Some transitioned into adult roles. Ricky Schroeder and Mark Wahlberg have careers and judging by their absence from the scandal sheets, lives as well.
Some hit bumps along the way and overcame them.
Jackie Coogan’s parents spent all the money he made as a child, but he went on to have an adult career.
Some found their appeal faded as they grew older and gracefully withdrew from show business.
Shirley Temple, perhaps the first child mega-star, went into the diplomatic service eventually becoming ambassador to Ghana and the Czech Republic.
Others went into the production side.
Freddie “Little Lord Fauntleroy” Bartholemew became a television producer after his film career died.
And a lot of them destroyed themselves.
Anissa Jones, who starred as a child alongside Brian Keith in the TV sitcom “Family Affair” died of a drug overdose, aged 18. A fate eerily presaged by the MAD Magazine parody of the show, where the child actress was shown running up offstage.
Miley, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Something your daddy Billy Ray and a lot of other people should have told you. Something I believe you may have a suspicion of.
For one, talent is not rare. There are lots of people with heaps of talent out there.
They either aren’t interested in a show business career or they’re content with singing in the church choir or performing in community theater.
Professional success involves starting to train that talent and promote it starting young, growing up in the business, or just sheer luck.
You did all three, but you have to realize something. You’re pretty, but there’s lots of pretty people around. You sing well, but there’s a lot of people who sing well. There’s no evidence yet you can write songs or scripts, so you’re a performer, not a creator.
You’ve managed to get a lot of attention by shocking a lot of people by breaking out of your Disney image. But that’s a one-trick pony, how many times can you shock people once they’re grown to expect outrageous behavior from you?
The fact is, you didn’t look the least bit erotic up there on stage. You’re 20 but you looked 16 or younger, like a child doing an imitation bump-and-grind with less entertainment value than Abigail Breslin pulled off in “Little Miss Sunshine.”
Miley, get a life. Take your money, hire someone to manage it, go back to school, get out of the limelight for a while. Settle down, get a job, get married, have kids, and hope they never come across Mommy on video someday.