Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Miley Cyrus SCREAMS: "I have no talent! I know I'm not stunning! But 'LOOK WHAT I CAN DO!"

Interesting.  So many average people, parents especially, have been saying the same thing about Miley Cyrus' "twerking" performance on the MTV Awards show: 
"What a shame that Miley Cyrus chose shock value over showcasing her talent."  
..."Her TALENT"?!? While I suppose over-acting (i.e. having little acting talent), can be considered a benchmark on many popular TV shows with laugh-tracks ("Listen!  The 'live audience' laughed!  She must be funny!"), it is really the only 'talent' that this young woman has, outside of having a talented and famous (and therefore influential in landing his daughter jobs) daddy.  Just because you have had to watch your tween daughters watching Hannah Montana endlessly does not mean that the decidedly average Cyrus gradually became a more talented actor, singer, dancer, performer during that painful process. 

As is the case with Ke$ha (Ha! That dollar sign says so much!), Brittany Spears and so many others, the desperate desire to CONTINUE to be adored by millions for being 'sexy' is an instinctive and disturbing impulse. It was what powered Hannah Montana's REAL success -- Cyrus was so average in appearance and body type, had no real voice, could not really act or dance, etc., that she made the dream seem possible to all those throngs of 'average' tween fans:  "Ooo!  See!  I could be like her!"  Yet what Hannah Montana really was was a young woman adored by millions for being 'sexy' (if in a tween 'Disney-fied' way).  

It's a natural human instinct in our females between the ages of about 15 and 26 to desperately desire to be adored not for brains, or talent, or personality, per se, but for nothing more than 'being gorgeous/sexy' (and the impulse begins rearing its ugly head in toddlers -- it is the basis of almost every female-targeted fairytale promoted by Disney).  It is how we propagate our species:  by males of every age wanting to have unprotected sex with females who are in the peak of their healthiest childbearing age (scientifically: 18-28).  But fame, once achieved, becomes an addiction, as Dolly, Madonna, Cher, Brittany and so many others have demonstrated by clinging to it so desperately after that ship has sailed in their early 30's, despite each of them being fabulously wealthy and no longer needed the cash it provides.  

Madonna was a relatively unique example, however.  She was relatively average on most fronts: not a great voice, not breathtakingly sexy, not the world's best dancer -- but Madonna (like Justin Timberlake who is not stunningly attractive and has no distinctive or remarkable voice), HAS talent!  She is a consummate self-promoter and impresario who's talents lay in production, producing blockbuster performances and song tracks/videos, making friends and influencing people.  Dolly Parton is another example (though with a stronger and more distinctive singing voice).  Neither Cyrus, nor Spears, nor Ke$ha, have those multifaceted talents. Just sayin'!  ;-)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Internet and Smartphones ARE Having a Bad Effect on Your Kids' Development -- How Can They Not?

My comment to another comment in reaction to an article: 'Tech is Killing Childhood -- Time spent on gadgets could be hampering kids' ability to connect to each other and the "real" world' by Catherine Steiner-Adair on Salon.com:
I lean toward your point of view, Paul, but there is something else going on here that the author is right in bringing up. My issue with all the new tech we are unquestioningly immersing kids in is simple -- while human beings are incredibly adaptable, we evolved to be able to cope with certain things in our natural environment. At what point as we progress up the steep innovation curve we are on (skyrocketing vs. the first 7 million years of our evolution, or even vs. the past 7 thousand since our tribes began living in villages and developed a way to record and pass along knowledge) do we have to stop and question what the long term effect of radical social change (exposure to hard core porn and a significant decline in face to face social interaction) will have on childhood development?
Mine is not a question of opinions, but one of empirical evidence we do not have and are not studying at the moment. Like the increasing prevalence of allergies due to lack of exposure to the natural environment, long term negative effects are gradual in building up and tough to identify at first (using anti-bacterial soap to 'protect' our kids seems innocuous and intuitive). 
I don't think what is happening today globally with kids being not just exposed to highly addictive devices/tech/content at an early age, but sent to bed with the devices and 'attached' to them every waking moment, is innocuous. It can't be. Young brains are laying down neural pathways they'll use for the rest of their lives that are environment-dependent.
We know, without debate, that childhood trauma has a permanent effect on emotions. My nephew got dared by his friends to watch highly graphic, bizarre sexual video (including snuff) starting at age 9 or 10 and he still talks about the nightmares. And it was NOT just him, ALL of kids that age are exploring and experimenting and the Internet is free and instantly accessible (and the shocking stuff gets reveal in mere seconds in video clips).
Here's my take on just one aspect of it from a post of mine titled "Your Teens Have Grown Up Watching Hard-Core Porn, What Have You Been Doing to Balance Out That Influence?"


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