What’s up with Miley Presley?

27 Aug

Alright. I get it. Miley stirred the pot. We love to judge so you can’t really be surprised at the amount of attention the story has gotten. I myself was a bit conflicted. The creative free spirit in me was all, “you go do your thing there little miss” while the dad in me was more “what the hell is she thinkin’?” And yes, as a father of two young daughters, I was more like, whoa there partner. Let’s see what’s on Sprout shall we.

So lets talk context. My kids love music and it’s kind of an important thing in our household. I make a point of exposing the kids to everything from Robert Johnson to Chopin, Doris Day to Yes, Cole Porter to The 88 and everything in between. I also try to listen to the music they like and do my best to keep up with what’s influencing them. Sometimes that means turning the station and other times just keeping my mouth shut and rolling my eyes.

If you’re going to teach kids about music; I think it’s important to teach them about everything that comes with it. The stories of the artists. Their histories. The good, the bad and the ugly. And that includes Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Milli Vanilli, Amy Winehouse, Woodstock, Jim Morrison, Lady Gaga, Elton John, Miley Cyrus etc. Talk about it and then hear what they think about it. I think you’ll be surprised at some of the comments.

It also includes teaching them about all of the shocking things that have happened in music throughout the decades. How Elvis the pelvis was only shot from the waist up on Ed Sullivan because his happy hips were too dangerous for network television and would destroy the innocence of anyone under eighteen watching the show that night. Or how every Catholic in the world did the sign of the cross and twenty seven Hail Mary’s when Madonna first performed “Like a Virgin.” And of course pick a story about Jim Morrison’s on stage antics.1984VMA_madonna_10

The point is, this really doesn’t feel like news to me. A young, outspoken, uninhibited singer put themselves out
there and offended a bunch of people. Listen that film has been remade more times than Batman. And it will be made again. And again. And again. Because we’re not talking about investment bankers singing at the MTV Video Music Awards. We’re talking about artists. As someone who makes a living in the creative realm, I can tell you, we’re not necessarily normal a good part of the time and often leave people shaking their head in dismay, disagreement and disbelief at the way we communicate and see the world.

Here’s the good news. If you’re spending time with your kids. If you’re providing them with a moral foundation that’s reasonable and respectable. If you’re talking about issues with them and listening to their point of view and respecting it. Chances are they’re not going to go to school tomorrow twerking against the members of the wrestling team just because Miley and Robin bumped goodies on an awards show last night. I made tea for the
3924228914_a59ee0790c girls this evening and asked one of my daughters if anyone was talking about Miley at school today. BOY did I get an earful. And frankly, they didn’t appear too impressed. And after about ninety seconds we talked about volleyball practice, what color she wants to paint her room and this cool pair of pants she found on-line. 

So let’s be grown ups (or apparently tweens); give it ninety seconds and move on. However you feel about the performance, I really don’t believe it’s going to end the free world as we know it. It’ll probably sell some downloads, improve a number of Web sites hit totals and get a Republican or two elected in the south. But beyond that it’ll more likely just end up as one of a long line of similar moments in the history of music that decades from now will be the ground work for a good “when I was a kid” story your own children will be telling.

What’s more important is that you’re there to talk about these things with your kids and guide them. They’re going to be exposed to much worse in life. And many times you’re not going to be there to point them in the right direction. So use this as an opportunity to lay some quality ground work on the ole’ fundamentals foundation. It’s a lesson just sitting there waiting to be taught. So twerk it for all it’s worth.


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