I feel like there's a predictable cycle these days with "news" or semi-news or old news (RIP Neil Armstrong...still) or Breaking Bad spoilers on social media. First, the thing happens and everyone's talking about it. Then, everyone's talking about how everyone's talking about it. Then, everyone's talking about the one or two dumb dumbs who take the 'minority view' to be cool. Then, everyone's talking about how horrible it is that we're talking about it when X is happening over here.
Cue Miley Cyrus.
Last night I was writing the news round-up for Rhode Island and one of the stories I saw mentioned that the town of Warwick is raising money for a memorial to the 100 people who died in the Station Nightclub fire ten years ago. Remember that? When there were too many people inside and they got stuck in the doorway?
I spent the rest of the night clinging to Aaron's neck and trying to dam my mind flood of all the terrible things that happen all the time, and whether or when they will hapen to us and what they will be.
But when I went to bed, all I could see was Miley Cryus. Going to bed after the VMA's. Alone with her thoughts. With what she just did. I immediately sat upright in bed and said to a sleeping Aaron who never heard me - Aaron! Miley Cryus is alone somewhere right now! And that was almost as bad as the Station Nightclub fire in that minute.
I saw the Onion's article yesterday faking CNN Managine Editor Meredith Artley's reasoning for covering Miley's performance (performance?) at the VMA's. I understand why people take issue with its prominence in the headlines, but I do think it's news. Because this is where we are now. This is what we do. No one booed her. No one cut the feed. This is what we do now.
It's kind of unbelievable to me (though predictible) that we're so up in arms about it, though. The collective We usually pride ourselves on being rabidly non-judgmental, don't we? Aren't we the tolerant relativists your grandmother never had?
It's a legit question, this one: can we make moral judgments? About anything?
We certainly have about Miley Cyrus. And cigarettes. And pedophiles. And cheating on your taxes and going to war with Iraq and using your NSA title to snoop on your ex-boyfriend.
But then curiously, several other things are simply out of bounds. We must NOT make moral claims about homosexuality. We must NOT make moral claims about abortion. We must NOT make moral claims about art, or curriculums, or how the government spends its money.
I think we need to do some soul-searching, because I think we all know that we need to make moral judgments, not just about some things but about everything, about our role here in general; and in fact it doesn't matter whether we THINK we should because we do make these judgments every day.
Now, re: Miley:
When I was in kindergarten in Massilon, Ohio my priest's name was Father Kolp and he rode his bike everywhere. He had bright white hair and every year on the feast of the Assumption he prayed from the pulpit for Madonna. Yes, that Madonna. A few years back I finally asked my Mom why he did that (I remember assuming as a kid that all Catholic churches were praying for pop stars that day.) She said for some reason he had some special burden for her. Her mother allegedly named her for the Blessed Mother and she was so lost that it broke his heart, enough to pray for her from the pulpit every year at least.
So let's do that for Miley.