As I checked my Facebook account this past Monday, there was a lot of buzz about Miley Cyrus (the former Hannah Montana star from the Disney Channel) and her twerking during the MTV Video Music Awards. I had not heard this word before. Usually I am quite pleased to learn a new word. Maybe I can use it in Words with Friends or in a crossword puzzle? Unfortunately, I’m not too happy this time around.
When I was still working in a high school, the students would generally keep me aware of the latest fads in pop culture—whether I liked them or not. Am I really starting to become “out of it?” After I thought for a while, I remembered something that I had written as a principal. This message was directed to the parents of my Sacred Heart High School students back in 2008:
When acting as a chaperone at the school dances recently, I sat back and took clear notice of what I saw. For the most part during some of the songs it looked like an orgy with clothes on. Ladies and gentlemen no longer faced each other but the young men were dancing behind the ladies in acts that could only be described as simulated copulation. In other instances three or more people combined in a line making some type of layered sandwich of bodies. I could go on.
What happened to dancing?
I came to the conclusion that the music had to change. If you are doing the electric slide, the twist, the Y.M.C.A. or some type of country line dance, the music does not allow for this type of dancing. However, the acceptable pattern/style of dance for hip-hop or rap seemed to be simulated sexual activity of the basest nature. I told the D.J. at the last dance to change the music. Period.
I intend to hold to this in future dances if students do not learn that dancing in high schools should not come close to the lap dancing found in so-called “gentlemen's clubs.” Only proper face to face dancing or traditionally recognized dances (i.e., the twist, line dances, the electric slide, the Y.M.C.A., etc.) will be permitted at Sacred Heart in the future. Gentlemen should respect the dignity of a woman and women should not throw themselves around in suggestive gyrations. (I think that the students learned a new vocabulary word here when I spoke to them about this.)
I had witnessed this type of obscene gyrating years ago and I was extremely upset by it then. Now I can only say that I am completely sickened by it.
What happened to the funny, cute girl from the Disney Channel? Something tragically turned her into what I can only describe as someone looking like a cheap tramp leaving little to the imagination and displaying her body in a manner sadly befitting a prostitute or a lap dancer. She is not the first—and certainly will not be the last—train wreck of pop culture. Think of Lindsey Lohan, Brittany Spears, Whitney Houston, Charlie Sheen, Michael Jackson, David Hasselhoff, Amy Winehouse, Elvis—just to name a few of the many, many tragic stories surrounding celebrities gone awry. Money, fortune and fame could not save them.
I am quite certain that Jesus could.
“What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay everyone according to his conduct.” (Mt. 16: 26-27)
Fr. Ed Namiotka