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August 28, 2013

Peabody Award Alert: ABCNews Proudly Runs Headline, "Twerking: A Scientific Explanation"

Parody is dead. You can't parody them.

An ABC Health/Science correspondent wrote this.

If this appeared in the Onion, you'd say "too silly."

Twerking is such a complex, technical subject, only a Ph.D. researcher can explain how the body does what it does to make it happen.

Twerking is a combination movement involving a deep squat and a pelvic tilt, Michelle Olson, a professor of exercise science and a certified strength and conditioning coach at Auburn University in Montgomery, Ala., explained.

“You take a wide stance with your legs turned out at 10 and 2 so your hips are externally rotated,” she said. “Then you pulse up and down as you thrust the pelvis bone forward and back.”

Olson said the booty dancing move is a good “twerkout” for your butt and thighs.

And etc. I'm glad ABCNews' science correspondent is up on all the medical lingo, like "butt."

Via Twitchy, which collects up a lot of goofing on #ABCreports.

Oh and speaking of not being pardoizable, The Onion attempted to parody CNN, writing a column explaining why Miley Cyrus was their Big Top Story all day yesterday, but the parody guest editorial is simply the straight truth.

Now, let's get back to why we put the story in the most coveted spot on our website, thereby saying, essentially, that Miley Cyrus’ suggestive dancing is the most important thing going on in the world right now. If you clicked on the story, and all the slideshows, and all the other VMA coverage, that means you’ve probably been on for more than seven minutes, which lowers our overall bounce rate. Do you know what that is? Sorry for getting a little technical here. The bounce rate is the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page. If we can keep that bounce rate low, and show companies that people don’t just go to but stay there, then we can go to Ford or McDonald’s or Samsonite or whatever big company you can think of and ask for the big bucks.

So, as managing editor of, I want our readers to know this: All you are to us, and all you will ever be to us, are eyeballs. The more eyeballs on our content, the more cash we can ask for. Period. And if we’re able to get more eyeballs, that means I’ve done my job, which gets me congratulations from my bosses, which encourages me to put up even more stupid bullshit on the homepage.

I don’t hesitate to call it stupid bullshit because we all know it’s stupid bullshit. We know it and you know it. We also know that you are probably dumb enough, or bored enough, or both, to click on the stupid bullshit anyway, and that you will continue to do so as long as we keep putting it in front of your big, idiot faces. You want to know how many more page views the Miley Cyrus thing got than our article on the wildfires ravaging Yosemite? Like 6 gazillion more.

That’s on you, not us.

Well it is on them too.

Via @rdbrewer4, from the sidebar, Camille Paglia diagnoses the malady in pop culture. She's still ga-ga for Madonna -- she will never get over that silliness -- but otherwise she's clear-minded about shock without value.

Pop is suffering from the same malady as the art world, which is stuck on the tired old rubric that shock automatically confers value. But those once powerful avant-garde gestures have lost their relevance in our diffuse and technology-saturated era, when there is no longer an ossified high-culture establishment to rebel against. On the contrary, the fine arts are alarmingly distant or marginal to most young people today.

Unfortunately, the media spotlight so cheaply won by Cyrus will inevitably spur repeats of her silly stunt, by her and others....

What was perhaps most embarrassing about Miley Cyrus’ dismal gig was its cutesy toys — a giant teddy bear from which she popped to cavort with a dance troupe in fuzzy bear drag. Intended to satirize her Disney past, it signaled instead the childishness of Cyrus’ notion of sexuality, which has become simply a cartoonish gimmick to disguise a lack of professional focus. Sex isn’t just exposed flesh and crude gestures. The greatest performers, like Madonna in a canonical video such as “Vogue,” know how to use suggestion and mystery to project the magic of sexual allure. Miley, go back to school!

Pornography has always existed in society, but what might be called "mainstream porn" -- thrills and naughtiness that might appear in respectable venues -- used to require merit to excuse it. A Henry Miller book might be trashed as pornographic, but its defenders would point to its literary merit as a reason to keep it off the banned lists.

Incidentally, the fact that it was both pornographic and meritorious made it interesting, as it existed in two categories usually thought to be contradictory; this makes such things compelling, that they actually do "challenge our preconceptions" about the boundary between trash and treasure.

We have now officially dispensed with that requirement. Did Miley Cyrus challenge any preconceptions? Oh Hellz no. She reinforced them. She didn't make things more complicated, and therefore interesting; she made them simpler, and therefore less.

But of course this isn't really Miley Cyrus' fault. There will always be deranged people willing to behave in lunatic fashion in public. The problem is that the... oh, they've called themselves The Gatekeepers before, haven't they? Let's use that word then. The Gatekeepers, the executives and flunkies who have made pop culture their lives, and therefore should be experts in such matters, are simply stupid and without taste or standards.

That Miley Cyrus wanted to perform analingus on a Teddy Bear does not have broader implications. There have always been flashers. There have always been pornographers.

What has a very broad implication is that MTV -- a unit of Viacom, which also owns CBS, once and nevermore called "The Tiffany Network" (update: Nope, Viacom and CBS split in 2006; thanks, BrokenNewsMikey) -- decided this would be a splashy, ratings-boosting bit of naughty fun for the Children of the World.

And make no mistake, adults do not watch MTV; children do. Tweeners. Even when MTV was "cool" -- it was never cool, by the way -- but even when it was new enough that kids thought it was "cool," they learned, as they departed their tweener years and became older teenagers, that the channel was for kids and not for them. And they moved on to stuff that older kids and grown ups liked.

MTV can say "we've always had our critics." Indeed you have. Everyone 16 or older was a critic. Everyone 16 or older soon realized that when MTV called itself a "youth channel" they meant youths of 12 years old. No self-respecting 16 year old wants to be all ga-ga over something his 11 year old kid sister loves.

I wrote about this general, terrible trend over at Breitbart some time ago.

When even a teen girl's magazine is celebrating "'batin'" -- instructing teen girls how to masturbate for older married men -- then our society is now championing an essentially animal-level existence. Not just in terms of morality -- the bien pensants will always scoff at such a bourgeois construction -- but also in terms of intellect. Something the bien pensants once pretended to be interested in championing.

This is lower than moral nihilism -- at least nihilism requires some kind of conscious, intellectual determination at the outset.

This is simply a kind of willful devolution, the human animal deciding to give up the higher functions of its brain and go back to pack-feeding and rutting.
Thinking and standards are difficult and boring.

But Dumb is Easy and Easy is Holy.

It's become a kneejerk response to praise the awful, to binge on guilty pleasures, to feed upon little but the rankest crap.

Isn't this fun? Isn't this terribly naughty? Isn't this thrilling to the spirit, mind, and senses?

It's none of those things.

Correction on that: The magazine I was writing about, XOJane, turned out not to be a magazine for "teen girls" (that was Jane Pratt's earlier magazine, Sassy), but for young women.

Supposedly. You know, the actual audience is always younger than the officially announced audience.

digg this
posted by Ace at 01:13 PM

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