Many Americans, not to mention the millions around the world, watched last night's VMA performance by Miley Cyrus and were shocked. People were confused, upset, disappointed and angry that the sweet, innocent "Hannah Montana" star had suddenly become a raunchy, drug taking, sex pistol. Her performance may just be one of the most glaring wake up calls the American people have ever had and may prove to be more significant than 9/11.
Terrorists kill people and that is definitely something to be alarmed about but what should be even more alarming are the factors which influence culture. I have long coined the motto "Artists Run This Planet" because I truly believe artists (creators, inventors, dreamers) are the people that most influence culture because they set a path towards the future by creating ideals worth working towards. However, like any artist knows, there are enemies of creativity, sometimes twisting art for their own ends, those that would have the world canvas-less, colorless with no more art than a barcode.
What happened last night at the VMAs was nothing new for the music industry. When I say music industry I don't mean the millions of musicians across the world. No, I mean the music industry: the businessmen making money from musicians. Some people think the music industry changed because of the internet. It did, but it also changed in another significant way back in 1996 with the passage of the Telecommunications Act which broke down limitations of how many radio stations someone could own and through a wildfire quickness of take overs and buy outs the radio stations in America became a monopoly. There is a reason you only hear a handful of artists on any given station and why their songs are played over other artists. It's not because of their talent. It's because they were picked.
Any message, whether it's true or not, if it is repeated enough times, will be accepted. Music and television programming is not a blind man throwing darts and hoping for the bullseye of people becoming fans. Instead, it's more like making the audience blind and throwing the darts at them instead. We've been hit with so much degraded content that the culture has definitely shifted. Over time Miley Cyrus' performance may prove to be a welcomed event. Why? Look at how many people were turned off by her. It was as if the whole country said, "Enough!" People are not docile lab rats or hamsters that are supposed to run around in endless circles. We are lovers of life and we want to experience elevation, not degradation. We want to feel inspired when we look to our artists, not be repulsed by them.
Hopefully this event is a milestone and people finally decide that enough is enough and demand more from the music industry, radio stations, MTV and all the rest. In fact, we should be so outraged that we write letters to President Obama about this because any war he is fighting with guns in foreign lands is no where near as important as the war that needs to be fought to ensure we have an inspiring and uplifting culture, in America and across the world. Artists wage this war each day and there are some casualties like Miley, but we have to push through and do even more. Maybe I'm a dreamer but I sure as hell know I'm not the only one.
Subscribe to my mailing list here.
Recently, in an interview Obama said he prefers Jay-Z's music more than he liked Kanye West's music. Back when Kanye made headlines by grabbing the microphone from Taylor Swift, Obama called him a jackass. That time and his more recent comments about Kanye West reminded me of a time, not too long ago where he attacked Matt Damon and said his movie "The Adjustment Bureau" wasn't very good.
What do these comments and actions say about Obama? They speak volumes about his character and the state of our country. Ideally our president should be above making comments like this. He should be the guy that finds the good in everybody and seeks to uplift all of mankind, not the guy that makes small verbal attacks towards artists. Regardless of political preferences like political party or ideology, the President of the United States should find the high road and not get into these small matters. It's very high school of him to do. Matt Damon and any other citizen of our country has the right to question government leaders and their policies but no government leader, especially the highest ranking person in government, has the right to use their podium in the public spotlight to attack an artist's works. When Obama says Matt Damon's movie wasn't very good as a way of attacking him for being critical of his policies, we should be very concerned because it means we not only have a mis-emotional, morally questionable individual running our country but he also demonstrates that amongst all of the problems he could be putting his attention on, he chooses to focus on the quality of a movie by an actor and how he prefers the music of a former drug dealer to a college drop out.
I think it's very interesting how Obama prefers Jay-Z's music given the countless times he has glorified drug dealing, materialism, and continues to call women bitches, even his own wife, Beyonce. My point is not so much against Jay-Z because I can enjoy much of his music, but is more so against Obama's choice of Jay-Z over Kanye West. I'm not saying Kanye is better, but why is this even something Obama is addressing in an interview and why even make a choice at all? The best thing for him to say would have been something like, "I appreciate all artists because they are the true creators of our future and picking amongst them publicly isn't something I want to get into. I'm focused on solving the problems that face our country and our world, but I want to thank them both for making their art." Now that would have been nice but instead we get a very low brow, insult commenting President that somehow sees it worth his time to say Jay-Z is better than Kanye and Matt Damon doesn't make good movies if he's against his policies. Those are not the actions of a President of the United States, they are the actions of a teenage girl. At the end of the day, his actions matter not because it is not the politicians that determine the outcome of our civilization, it is the artists. If that wasn't true then why would he say anything bad about any artist? I think he's jealous, he knows he's just a talking head spouting out regurgitated ideas that don't progress mankind forward one bit and wishes he was an artist. Me, I choose Jay-Z, Kanye, Matt Damon, every artist on Earth and that one day Obama gets more creative and leaves the podium for an easel, because "artists run this planet."
Join my mailing list to receive new blog posts and updates.
I'm David Carus. From overcoming one of the most dangerous cities in the country and graduating from one of the most prestigious colleges in America to leading an educational movement as a teacher and running for Congress at the age of 25, I decided the best hope our world has is through art.