In Which I Compare Mitch Albom Unfavorably to Twerking With Miley Cyrus

It is astonishing to me that young people aren’t flocking to newspapers, when there’s all this relevant content for them:

The details of twerking are now all over the Internet. Instructions. History. Some claim it goes back 20 years. Whatever. Folks from my era just shrug it off as another thing we will never do, like zip-lining or writing our own rap lyrics.

To be honest, I feel sorry for kids today. We only had to learn to roll our arms in the air, like we were conjuring up a magic potion, and we could survive on the dance floor. Kids today need to grind, slide and simulate sex moves in order to be considered worthy.

It’s disturbing to see 11-year-olds thrusting and gyrating, suggesting they know the seductions of lovemaking when they haven’t gotten their braces off. Wait until they find out that actual sex is nowhere near as coordinated as an MTV performance. How can they feel anything other than uncool?

Which is all this twerking fuss is about. Being cooler than the rest. Cyrus, who, like other former child stars (Britney Spears, Justin Bieber) seems hell-bent on destroying the image she worked years to perfect, told a film crew that, before going out on stage, knowing how twerky she was going to be, she and Thicke said, “You know we’re about to make history right now.”

Then again, if all it took to make history was squatting and twirling your butt, the makers of the bidet would be a lot more famous.

This column is a perfect example of something Jude and I were chatting about this week, which is that nobody should have a column for life. (Breslin and Royko and Ivins being the exceptions that prove this rule.) After a while, you run out of shit to talk about and you wind up with this crap, or you start thinking the backyard squirrel that’s bugging you is the Worst Thing Ever, or that what your cab driver says is representative of the entire country’s political opinion. You get complacent, you get lazy, doing work starts to annoy you, and this is the result.

Getting old and doing something for a while doesn’t automatically make you an uncurious knob who can’t report anymore (see above cited exceptions), but goddamn it seems to happen really often (see Brooks, David and Friedman, Thomas). I’d rather term limits were designed to guard against it than suffer under the current star system where being on the bestseller list for some treacly nonsense 20 years ago gives you the presumption of interestingness forever. Where are the editors to say um, dude, not only is this last week’s story but this isn’t exactly a novel take on it either?

I’m also gonna say this about Miley: Every story about her performance either gives her way too little or way too much credit in assuming nothing she does is motivated by business. Oh, she’s exploring her adult sexuality! Oh, she’s trying to be shocking! Um, maybe she’s looking at her bank account and saying that to stay wealthy she’d better keep changing because the audience keeps changing. I’m not saying she did anything right or wrong, just that at least she’s not on stage yelling about how nobody loves her anymore because she’s so much better than they are.

Unlike newspaper celebrities like Albom.


9 thoughts on “In Which I Compare Mitch Albom Unfavorably to Twerking With Miley Cyrus

  1. Getting old and doing something for a while doesn’t automatically make you an uncurious knob who can’t report anymore (see above cited exceptions), but goddamn it seems to happen really often (see Brooks, David and Friedman, Thomas).
    Your good-heartedness is steering you wrong on these two.
    Friedman and Brooks are NOT “uncurious knobs who can’t report anymore”. They are apologists for the extremely wealthy. Brooks’ apologia comes with a GOP bent to it, while Freidman’s is pure Money-Party.
    Neither one of them was ever a reporter, even for a minute.

  2. Well, to be fair, he also wrote this in the same column:
    Almost immediately, twerking — and whether Cyrus should be doing it on national television — shot to the top of America’s Most Pressing Issue list, slightly above whether we should invade Syria. Analysts broke it down. The word “twerking” was entered into the Oxford online dictionary.
    I think pointing that out is valid. And he’s not exactly a heavyweight journalist to begin with — “My Tuesdays with Morrie” may have been sweet and possibly even thought-provoking (I didn’t read it, even though Morrie was many of my classmates’ favorite professor) but it’s not some deep political analysis.
    And i wonder which is the chicken and which is the egg when it comes to kids’ political curiosity. Do they want what they see on tv (or read in newspapers, etc.) simply because it’s on tv, or does tv give them what they already want?

  3. I wonder if a large amount of the outrage isn’t the result of Disney et al. pushing their stars as “pure as the driven snow” while incorporating a high degree of sexual innuendo.
    South Park hit the nail on the head with the episode of the Jonas Brothers/Purity Ring. Also had an episode with an establishment named “Raisins.”
    Of course, I agree with you about the amount of money she could generate for her brand. But I’d add in a touch of our star culture cheering the entertainers to go further and further (and the actors’ tendency to get swept up in this wave and go for the most outrageous behaviors as somehow giving them credence.
    Remember when just a few years ago, the news was the action and resulting fine of Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction”?

  4. I remember having a column constantly for the student paper and how it basically became me bitching about stuff that even I didn’t care about.
    I gave up the slot because it was me being really bad at this. Eventually, I had a couple ideas that I had researched and wanted to put out there. They ended up being a big hit. Immediately, people told me, “Ohmergerd! You should write EVERY WEEK!”
    The answer was, of course, no. The whole thing that made these columns good was that I finally had something to say. One of my greatest fears is that doing this week in and week out that I’ll really start to suck. I mean more than normal.
    I’ll never know how the “starters” on this team do it every day, all the time.

  5. Well, back in MY day, dancing was considered “sex standing up,” and I didn’t coin that phrase just now.

  6. You’ve made me very happy that I neglected to buy a paper yesterday, thereby missing AlBomb’s latest turd.

  7. Bill, I remember it from an old joke about why Baptists don’t have sex standing up. Tho I fully agree that even back to the Minuette, dancing was a way that one could get close to their love interests.
    Doc, your description kind of reminds me of what passes for network journalism (Nancy Grace, et al.). By shrieking and feigning outrage at every action, one tries to get the audience upset.
    Remember a few months ago when a criminal defendant dared smile. Nancy was all over it – what does she have to smile about? Call in a couple of paid “experts” (or should I say prostitutes) to talk about how smiling shows the defendant didn’t have a conscience.
    Worst part was this was in the local burger joint. Family appropriate?

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