Miley Is Not the Problem

Wallace G. Smith
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 Miley Cyrus’ vulgar and obscenely sexualized performance at MTV’s Video Music Awards—in front of more than 10 million viewers, in a program marketed to pre-teens, teens and young adults—has been widely criticized as degrading both the performer and the audience that watched it. But, in reality, the real story is that so much of what was celebrated at the awards ceremony generated little commentary at all, let alone outrage.  

 In short, Miley Cyrus is not the problem.

Her lewd and vulgar antics even captured the front page of the New York Times on the day after her “performance.” But did most everyone miss the real story? Consider some of what was honored during that awards event. The winner in the “Best Male Video” category was a sex-song featuring homoerotic scenes in a celebration of reckless abandon and unrestrained sexuality. “Best Song with a Social Message” went to a rap performance titled “Same Love” that pushed the acceptance of same-sex “marriage,” portrayed its opponents as irrational bigots and downplayed the Bible as irrelevant for our day. The band Thirty Seconds to Mars won “Best Rock Video” for a vulgar and artfully incoherent video glorifying sadomasochism amid sexual themes and levels of self-abandon that understandably call to mind the demoniacs described in Scripture.

All of this only scratches the surface of behavior the MTV Video Music Awards proudly lauds and praises every year. That such moral debasement is celebrated so exuberantly is not a surprise to those who pay attention to the forces actively working to make big money by polluting the minds of our youth today. In fact, the lack of reaction to such pervasive filth is far more newsworthy than the predictable reactions to the blatant extremes of Cyrus’ performance.

After Cyrus’ lewd, vomitous performance, even many of the more morally liberal commentators took to the airwaves to denounce it as “over the top,” pointlessly vulgar—and, as one said, a caricature of sexuality. The usual, expected comments were made pointing out how far this 20-year-old former Disney darling had fallen. A Huffington Post video showed several fathers reflecting on their reactions to their teen and pre-teen daughters seeing their favorite star from Disney’s über-popular Hannah Montana television series acting in such a perverted manner. Yet, the real story is why such fathers even allowed their children to watch any of that awards show in the first place—why they did not find the remainder of the program disgusting and why they were not worried about the influence the rest of the music was having on their children.

One is reminded of the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show, with its infamous “wardrobe malfunction”—when one of performer Janet Jackson’s breasts was briefly exposed. Despite so much fuss over the final second-and-a-half of that show, where was the outrage about the multitude of perversions that preceded it—including simulated sex acts—all paraded before a worldwide audience?

In denouncing the extreme antics of Cyrus’ performance—indeed, a performance that degraded both the performer and her audience—the critics have had their chance to make their righteous indignation known.

But where is the indignation about the rest of the show? In all of the sighs and cries about one performance, where is the recognition that the culture actively promoted and energized by many of the other “honorees” that evening is what created the atmosphere allowing such a repulsive performance to occur?

If a performance that extremely vulgar is what is now required to get our attention, then our culture’s morality is in a state of impoverished squalor. The word “desensitized” hardly covers it.

Thankfully, even in a world where such a disgusting culture is actively seeking our children’s minds, hearts and wallets, there is a way to rear them and help them escape the damage and scarring that such a culture can inflict. Order our free booklet, Successful Parenting: God’s Way. And read our Tomorrow’s World article, “What Is Happening to Our Kids?”