The usual critiques have included mockery of the right wing, which apparently includes anyone who cares about the culture we’re providing our children. But other commentary makes one hopeful that we may be experiencing a broader desire for greater decorum. Call it postmodern prudery.
This is possibly a false hope, I concede, but there’s some basis for imagining that the pendulum might find its way back toward civilization’s center. Even by the dubious standards of MTV, Cyrus’s performance was widely considered over the top. Or should we say, under the bottom? At a reported rate of 300,000 tweets per minute during the broadcast, viewers tweeted reactions that included shock and outrage. Not all, obviously, but enough to suggest a tipping point in America’s slow decline into prurient voyeurism.
Singer Lance Bass, who joined his former four bandmates on stage for *NSync’s brief reunion, also shared his opnion about the shock-and-awe of Cyrus’ performance, according to the Associated Press:
The singer said his young nieces and nephews watched the VMAs for the first time to see their uncle perform in ‘N Sync.
“I didn’t know I had to warn them that their little Hannah Montana was going to be naked and humping a finger,” Bass said.
During a commercial break, he spoke more of the incident.
“I think it’s her thing. I think she shocked a lot of her younger fans, especially the parents, who might not be so happy with her thing, and she’s just being Miley,” Bass said.
“I mean it is a big deal. Unfortunately I think young artists, especially coming from a Disney background, especially want to change that image. ... Lady Gaga does it. Everyone is like what can I do just to really shock people. But Lady Gaga and a lot of people have really missed the mark a lot where it goes over people’s heads.”
Not all viewers were dismayed by the showing. Columnist Clinton Yates makes the case that the public is judging Cyrus for the exact thing audiences should want from her, and that is to be true to herself.
It seems that we still can’t handle what it’s like for a young woman to be able to perform, as she chooses, without layering in a heavy helping of insults as well. While Cyrus was condemned for grinding on Thicke, very little criticism has been laid on the singer himself for his role in the performance. The nastiest of the comments have implied that Cyrus is somehow diseased because of her preferred dance methods.