Opening my mouth by closing my wallet


“Vulgarity begins when imagination succumbs to the explicit.” – Doris Day

You know, I didn’t want to be another commentator on the recent MTV Video Music Awards show, and yet, here I am, typing away from my little corner of the world. Since I can’t watch the news without being constantly reminded of this ridiculous dance routine, I just can’t stop thinking about how disgusted I am with the vile performance by Miley Cyrus, Robin Thicke, and all those involved in such a complete display of vulgarity.

Maybe I have just reached the end of my proverbial rope with the shock-pop culture and the double standard of it all. Everyone is quick to jump on the bandwagon and wag their fingers at Ms. Cyrus, but that is really unfair.

Most likely, some smooth-talking producer was stroking this young lady’s ego, promising her the moon and the stars, fame and fortune. And let’s not forget, there was a married man on stage, singing as she was twerking, back-up singers and dancers who were just as vulgar, and many folks behind the scenes. Sure, she could have said “no” to the pornographic performance. But she didn’t, as she, like many other young ladies, can’t seem to shake the “Miss Goody Two-Shoes” image fast enough.

But why? When did being a good person with decent morals and values become such a bad thing?

We can sit and blame her parents, the media, the music industry, the choreographers and a litany of others, but really, if we are going to be honest, we need to take a harsh look at the image in the mirror and put the blame where it belongs – on ourselves.

For decades, we have watched the erosion, as television, Madison Avenue and the music industry have added an edge to sitcoms, movies, videos, reality shows, commercials and the Super Bowl half-time shows. On the slippery slope of being edgy, each performer or commercial has to one-up themselves for the next round. And yet, we keep watching these shows and videos, and purchasing their music and products.

Look at the Herbal Essence commercials, where the gorgeous model with a magnificent mane of hair is having an orgasmic experience in the bathroom of an airplane (I mean, really? You can hardly turn to flush in one of those insanely small flying-port-a-potties, let alone wash one’s hair. But I digress…) And let’s not forget the big-chested, bronzed-up model seductively eating burgers and fish sandwiches during last year’s Super Bowl commercials, or the insanely provocative commercials promoting a Website hosting service…the list is endless.

Seriously, when one needs to sell talent, a product or performance with a large set of breasts, six-pack abs, heavy breathing or twerking, there must be no other value in said object.

Reality shows? Don’t get me started! We watch as babies are paraded around in beauty pageants and dance shows. What message are we sending little girls? And let’s face it, those are little girls that are being made-up in make-up. They are being sexualized for what? Potential scholarship money? A shot at stardom? A mansion?

If these little ones do get a shot at stardom, then what? We watch the train wreck that becomes their lives after their 15 minutes of fame ceases, or their first pimple appears? Then we read about their drug addictions? Or tabloid stories about who they are sleeping with? Or their stints in rehab, so they can be demoralized and humiliated by late-night comedians?

And yet, we continue to watch these shows, buy these products, and go along our merry way, until one of these child stars grows up, gets outrageous – either onstage or off – and we get all holier-than-thou and judgmental. We’ll drag his or her name through the mud for a few days, until the next child-star-gone-wild makes headlines.

And then, we will go through this insane charade again.

If, in fact, we are tired of this, and we are concerned about these kids as well as our own kids who are watching this disturbing trend in our society, then we, as parents, need to band together and make it stop.

How? Let’s hit the television and video producers and marketers in their wallets by keeping our pocketbooks closed. If they really think we are going to continue to allow them to line their pockets at the expense of our children and our society as a whole, they are wrong. If we demand something better, then they will have to deliver something better. Until then, they will continue to pump vulgarity into every aspect of our lives, because by our actions, and by our not taking a stand for decency, we allow them to deliver filth.

What do you think? Let me know in the comment section.

© Lynne Cobb – 2013




6 Replies to “Opening my mouth by closing my wallet”

  1. Amen! I totally agree with what you are saying. Enough is enough, already! Unless we act,we will continue to see the decline of our morals in society. Things are already bad enough. Let’s try to stop this insanity! Thanks for posting this excellent commentary.

  2. Totally agree with you Lynne — well said. As an artsy person, I used to think of myself as graciously open-minded– but I’m really not, especially when it comes to this topic. Reality TV is a big-bad joke (although I can’t help but laugh every time I hear the name “Honey Boo Boo” (!) As long as there’s a huge audience for the garbage, producers will keep putting it out by the curb for us. But as you point out, what does that say about American pop culture?

    These days I make a point of watching ONLY specific shows that have either educational value (like PBS) or are highly entertaining and well-done. And what’s with Disney? From Britney to Miley, Disney is breeding a little tramp camp 🙂

    1. Thank you, Cindy. I, too, wonder what is happening to the Disney kids…Lindsay Lohan is another sad “graduate.” It speaks volumes about our society, and where our “treasures” truly lie…

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