It’s 48 hours later, and Miley Cyrus’ performance at the VMAs is still way inside my head. The giant sad pink teddy bears. The twerking on Robin Thicke’s striped junk. The constant sticking out of her serpentine tongue. Jesus, that tongue is long. At first I didn’t know why she was sticking it out so much, but the more it grew to the size of Khaleesi’s dragons’ tongues, I was like, “I get it. You got to let that thing breathe a little.”
But even when that small part of the problem was suddenly clear to me, the rest was not. The rest was ingrained in my head like the vision of a pantsless homeless man taking a crap on a New York City street corner (which I actually saw on 19th and 8th—still not as damaging as Miley Cyrus on the VMAs though). Which is why I want all of these images of her at the VMAs out of my head.
I know that it’s my fault. I shouldn’t have watched the VMAs in the first place. My legit excuse is that I like to see what’s going on with pop music. I usually only hear it when I borrow my wife’s car. She rocks out the Maroon 5 and the Taylor Swift, and if she’s blocking me in the driveway, then suddenly I’m learning who Gotye is. My non-legit excuse is that in my ripe old age, I still watch MTV. I shouldn’t. I guess one tiny justification for this is that I worked at MTV in the late ’90s so it always has a place in my heart. I don’t watch the bottom of the barrel like Ridiculousness. I have some standards. But I’ll check out The Inferno. I’ll see who made up an internet profile on Catfish. MTV was where I had my first ever TV job so I’ll always love it in some way.
But the VMAs are ridonk. When I worked there, the VMAs were wild, like when you get a ton of rock stars and celebrities and a Kennedy together and hand out Moonmen. Acceptable wild. But last night…WTF. When Miley Cyrus busted out that foam finger and blurred Robin Thicke’s line, I was like “this is the future, and we’re all fucked.” Not the future of music. The future. And I know that she’s 20 or 19 or some ridiculously young age that is way outside of my Wilco-loving demographic. But Miley Cyrus has more Twitter followers than taste buds on that football-field-length tongue which gives her a lot of credibility. Tila Tequila also had millions of followers, but still, 48 hours ago, we all caught a glimpse of tomorrow, and it’s coming at us, like a Tonguenado threatening to lick us all up (I can’t stop with the tongue). And don’t say, “You just want to make out with that tongue, bro!” I don’t. It wasn’t sexy. None of it was sexy. I wish it was, honestly. I wish that it was vintage Madonna or Britney Spears ripping off a tux and showing a hot gyrating body. But it was just really disturbing. It was like a little kid who was trying too hard at a dinner party to entertain everyone so she puts her dad’s raincoat and her mom’s necklace that she found in her parents’ room, and she sang “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” and we all laughed because it was cute. Except 48 hours ago, that little kid wore a nude colored bikini-like thing and grinded (sorry, twerked) on the son of the Dad from Growing Pains. Not cute.
We’ve become a society that just watches bad shit happen. Or worse, we watch it, then tweet about it. Twitter blew up with Miley Cyrus. I think at one point, Miley Cyrus, Hannah Montana, VMAs and GFT (giant fucking tongue) were all trending. We have to stop commenting on the negative and start fixing it. The earth is on fire. Let’s not tweet about it. Let’s find a solution to cool it down. A gridlocked Congress can’t even pass a bill giving better benefits to soldiers. Their approval rating is 15 percent. That means 85 percent of people think Congress sucks. But we watch them do nothing, and somehow, even though less one out of 10 people like them, they’ll all win again. And maybe worst of all, Blair Underwood has a new TV show!! Most people say that L.A. has no seasons, but I can always tell that it’s fall in Southern California because Blair Underwood is on TV with a new hour-long drama. How many new TV shows can this guy get?!! Where’s the outrage, people!!!
But even if we don’t have any outrage, even if we do nothing…and by “even if,” I mean “when,” because let’s get real…we won’t do anything. We are the fat slobs on the cruise in Wall-E, just drinking our slushies and posting pictures on Instagram that say hashtag sad bear. Even when we don’t, I just want the image of Miley Cyrus’ twerking out of my head. I don’t know how to get it out, but I need to. For the sake of my three-year-old daughter, I need to believe that even though freaks like Miley Cyrus exist, they won’t be my child’s role model. Because my kid is about four years away from wanting to download a Miley Cyrus song. Or worse, six years away from wanting to go to a concert of the Tongue’s. And if I don’t let her watch the Tongue live while I stand in the back with earplug and a baseball cap to cover my bald head and my ashamed face, then I’m a jerk dad. And I don’t want to be a jerk dad.
At the end of the day though, I don’t want to ask Miley Cyrus to think about the kids that she’s influencing. Anyone who massages a dude’s nuts with a foam finger while his wife watches from the audience clearly doesn’t give two shits. So maybe I should just keep watching MTV to kill more brain cells. Luckily there’s a Ridiculousness marathon this weekend. Maybe there are some videos with giant bears. That should help me forget.
Matt Price contributes to Paste Magazine, and in 2012, he won an Emmy for his writing on “Regular Show” on the Cartoon Network. He has a medium-sized tongue.