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.
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8/26/2013 05:33:32 am
RIDICULOUS AND DISGUSTING
8/26/2013 06:42:56 am
I Completely Agree with YOU! I didn't watch it and won't but She is a Degradation to the ARTS! Period. Disgusting of her!
8/26/2013 05:42:52 am
If cultural destruction through the arts is what we are facing, THIS is the sign of it.
8/26/2013 05:46:45 am
I can't watch television much anymore so I was spared. I'm no fan of the degradation of culture.
8/26/2013 06:04:39 am
Very to the point and well written.
8/26/2013 06:06:50 am
Hear, hear !!!!!!!
8/26/2013 06:14:51 am
What we need is diversity, and reversing the Telecommunications Act would be a good start. We need for new artists to have more of a platform. Some would agree what we need is more "freedom" for companies to do as they feel, but NO, I feel the answer is the opposite. Left to its own devices, the market will produce what will sell, which is how we got Miley. What we need is for the people to no longer be ashamed by or feel animosity toward shared PUBLIC goods, and return to a model more like public radio, where a wider range of topics is discussed and lesser known acts can get a leg up in the field. Letting giant multinationals run our media obviously does not work!
8/26/2013 10:27:34 am
You got that SO right!
8/26/2013 06:22:45 am
Brilliant, David! Perfect! I didn't see the performance, but I got the picture! You're SO RIGHT! I would like to see this blog go viral.
8/26/2013 06:44:43 am
I AGREE. This Needs to Go Viral!! Thank You for Writing this!!!
8/26/2013 07:02:31 am
Couldn't have put it better myself David, you nailed it right there! And it'ls a shame to see what was once an extremely talented nice girl feel that she has to take this degraded path in the name of art! Whoever is advising her does NOT have her best interests at heart
8/26/2013 07:11:11 am
Of course, nobody is saying jacks hit about Thicke and his video of the topless women. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwT6DZCQi9k
8/26/2013 07:23:05 am
I already posted this on Reddit for David ;D
8/26/2013 07:24:46 am
Well said! totally agree.
8/26/2013 08:00:48 am
Well said David! Thanks for this viewpoint. As an artist, these are my concerns too. I need to reach as large of an audience as possible with a message that uplifts them, adds something needed and wanted to their day, to their lives. A message that gives them hope, gives them reason, gives them inspiration, helps them see something clearly about life or some aspect of it that was unclear before. I want to lift the culture up with my art not degrade it. There is enough of the other for sure. But I will keep fighting the GOOD fight because it is my senior purpose in life. I AM an artist. And we DO still run this planet. I intend to see to it that it is run in the direction of dreams and potential and an enlightened culture.
8/26/2013 08:00:55 am
Well, I think she made a caricature of the ex-Disney rebelling teen-grown-up. But while I personally don't see anything of significance artistically in her "lemme reaallly shock em" antics", I find it a bit over-the-top to characterize that performance as more significant than 9-11.
8/26/2013 09:15:08 am
Hi David, thanks for reading my blog and leaving a comment. I just wanted to clarify that the point was not that her performance as a performance specifically may be more significant than 9/11 but the overall event of her performance, including and mostly focusing on people's reactions to it. 50 years ago most people liked the Beatles and only a few burned their records. With this Miley thing it seems as if most people are repulsed by her act which would be a shift because lots of people have been going along with the trend of "shock 'em antics" but perhaps, and that's why I say it "may be" more significant than 9/11 (as a wake up call event) because people might go into a disagreement with the trend. Guess we'll have to wait and see who has the last laugh on this one but instead of waiting I'd rather put the future there that I'd like to see which is one where people wake up and take more responsibility for society and culture. That's just me being cause as an artist man, hope you understand.
8/26/2013 12:41:48 pm
David, thanks for the clarification.
8/26/2013 01:38:52 pm
I'm glad you clarified this because I was a little confused as to why it was more significant than 9-11 but it all makes sense now. Great article Thanks!
8/26/2013 08:48:12 am
Totally spot on article! The artists that demonstrate degradation like Miley Cyrus did need to be rehabilitated so they lead the culture toward inspirational highs instead of pushing it down into the dirt. I stopped watching her years ago and did not watch last night due to having observed the direction she has been going.
8/26/2013 09:23:37 am
8/26/2013 10:35:01 am
I just saw her performance and I am embarrassed for her even if she isn't, I didn't see an artist I saw a girl crying for attention. Great blog post, her performance as a musician was not inspiring and I too believe its not what the majority want to see for entertainment.
8/26/2013 02:44:53 pm
Artists most definitely do NOT run this planet. That's just wishful thinking. No, that is a fantasy. But they do push some boundaries, and that's a good thing. There is nothing wrong with sexy art. She is 20 years old and can make sexy art if she wants to. She is a lover of life, and this is her way of celebrating it. Let the uptight and prudish be embarrassed and repulsed.
8/26/2013 05:59:04 pm
Sexy art is one thing - ain't nothing wrong with a little sex appeal and celebrating the human form. What she did was seriously embarrassing and quite un-sexy (and I am neither uptight nor prudish, the thought of either is quite laughable). It made me think of my college days where girls got way too drunk and made fools of themselves in public (myself included), only to regret it at some time in the future. It was really sad, as was her "performance". I just felt really bad for her.
8/27/2013 02:39:30 am
The Telecommunications Act is the best target here, since it allowed for a monopoly. Similarly, allowing beer and drug ads on television affected the culture.
8/27/2013 04:53:15 pm
Hear Hear! Situation in the EU is different with regards to the media landscape, but we too get force-fed the choices that big companies make to maximize profit from culture.
8/27/2013 02:42:35 am
8/27/2013 02:54:36 am
In the words of The Jam - "..the public want what the public get.." Sadley this will not change. We can demand more from the Music industry, but they will give us what tthey want to give us. It's about money and power, and the number of people who truely do care about music are a tiny in number when compared to the sheeple who lap up this shit like theres no tomorrow. To paraphrase Bill HIcks - "Send in Miley Cyrius.......So, Cyrus, back again Huh?"
8/27/2013 08:29:17 am
You definitely said it Mr.
8/27/2013 12:38:34 pm
That performance was equivalent to holding a 1000-page anthology-styled book titled "SEX SELLS" in gold, sparkly, bolded capslock, and then smashing the front cover in someone's face repeatedly. nonstop. Neither party actually opens the book to read it.
8/27/2013 03:00:08 pm
Ha! I do not care for this kind of music, but I do not care about christian-judeic opinions that are completely based on a culture that comes from a bunch of puritans. Art is a point of view. Art is implicit to each one. This Miley Cyrus girl is doing a performance. That's all. Then maybe we can discuss if a performance is art.
I didn't know about thar act allowing monopolysing or radio stations. That explains why hardly any realnnew music with a different viewpoint coms to be heard by the public in the last few years. Really bad. I like Miley, but her performance was uncomfortable even for her. You could see it in her face. And she had Peso-Bear on stage. :( and the took her clothes off. Not a prude, I'm a rock musician actually. So, just feel bad for her.For the weirs messagesnshe gave on stage. Robin Thicke- too bad, I admire his work but seems he got bad advice. Very pedo. Doesn't matter if she's twenty, she looks 16! And now she looks like a pot smoking druggy. Looks like she hired "Lady" Gagas music director/choreographer. Another gem of the music "industry". LoL. Disaster.
9/19/2013 09:32:18 am
David, I hear you. I understand you. I get it. Good job!
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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.