And not for the reasons you’re thinking…

evil_monkeyThe VMA’s are done and gone. And the ONE thing everyone is still talking about is Miley Cyrus and her performance. Mostly it was angry posts about her being a slut, or her dad being a horrible father (nothing about her mom, oddly enough). Everyone was sharpening their pitchforks and lighting their torches. And, yes, I got into it too. I even posted this on facebook:

I was wrong. Well, partially. I don’t really think any (sane) dad wants to see their daughter shake her groove-thing all over some married dude’s crotch on national tv. BUT…the point I’m getting at is this:

If parenting were taught in college, this would be a masters level class. There are so many layers going on that trying to find a coherent thread is hard because of all the background noise from all the other parenting type stuff going on. I’m not going to go off on Billy Rae Cyrus and his parenting. I’m not going to go off about Miley being a slut…etc. Instead, I’m going to blend Star Trek, Star Wars, and Miley Cyrus into the epiphany I had about parenting.

The Kobayashi Maru

If you know what this is…we are already friends and just didn’t know it yet. If you don’t know what it is, here’s a breakdown:

In the Star Trek universe, there is a test that cadets at Starfleet take if they are on the ‘Command’ track. The cadet’s ship gets called into the Neutral Zone to help a civilian ship called the Kobayashi Maru. If the cadet does nothing, everyone on the Kobayashi Maru dies. If they answer the call, they risk the lives of everyone on their ship as well as risk starting all-out war with the Klingons.

What is a captain to do? Well, it turns out that no matter what the captain does, they lose. It is a classic no-win scenario. It’s merely set-up to test a person’s mettle and see how they handle impending death. Except, there is one captain who managed to win the Kobayashi Maru. That would be Captain Kirk. On his third attempt at the test, he realized it was set up to defeat him no matter what, so he reprogrammed the simulation and saved the Kobayashi Maru from the Klingons, didn’t lose any of his crew, and avoided war. Instead of being kicked out of Starfleet Academy for cheating, he was given a commendation for innovative thinking.

I know what you’re thinking, how does some stupid Star Trek reference link up to Miley Cyrus being a slutbag on tv? I’m getting there. Because like so many parents, I was filled with a sense of outrage when I saw the video. Well, not outrage per se, but it was a pretty visceral reaction. I saw images of Britney Spears, Amy Winehouse, et al, bouncing around in my head. It looked like a cry for help. It looked like the final flash in the pan before something big happens like rehab or worse. And I, like so many others, reacted on that.

But, I like to think I’m constantly growing as a person and as a parent. And to do so, I must question myself, my beliefs, and more importantly, my reactions. I have to ask myself if my reaction was right. Was it fair? Why did I react that way? You get the picture. So, when I read an article about the debacle that framed it differently for me, my mind was blown. I looked back on my previous thoughts an feelings and was angry with myself that I wasn’t smarter.

Here’s a link to the article: Chicago Now

It basically states the facts at hand. Miley Cyrus did just HAPPEN to show up that night with a bunch of pedobears and a bad taste in her mouth. (I mean, is there any other reason to stick your tongue out THAT much?) No, this was planned down to the number of Twerks she did. This was all planned, and approved by a whole bunch of suits who are on this very day slapping themselves on the back HEARTILY. Why?

They offered the bait. And we, as a collective, bit. And we bit hard. But why put yourself out there like that? Flagging record sales? Losing the limelight? The word I kept seeing over and over is ‘relevant’. She has to keep herself relevant. Hell, we’ve watched Madonna do no fewer than five total redesigns of her image to keep herself ‘relevant’. (I mean, what’s up with that weird pseudo-Brit accent she’s rocking these days?) So, why not Miley? Oh, and if you tell your kids that they can’t listen to her music anymore…you’ve just guaranteed them another album sale.

Let’s bring Star Wars into this now. Mostly because I haven’t got my geek on lately and this fit. It’s another no-win scenario except it doesn’t have a cool name tacked on it. It’s that moment in Episode VI when the emperor has Luke on his ship, watching the impending slaughter of the entire Rebel fleet. Luke’s lightsaber is right there. He looks at it. The emperor smiles like a cat playing with a mouse. “You want your lightsaber? Go ahead, take it. Strike me down. Use the anger inside you and strike me down.”

If Luke strikes him down, the emperor becomes stronger, Luke goes over to the dark side, and the Rebel Alliance is obliterated. If Luke does nothing, the Rebel Alliance is obliterated, and he gets killed by the most powerful Sith Lord the universe had ever seen. So…what to do, what to do?

See, if you get all emotional and tell your kids, “She’s a tramp and you’re not going to listen to her music!” then you are guaranteeing that, not only will they listen to it, they’ll enjoy it more than they would have otherwise. Forbidden fruit is sweeter, you know. I listened to a LOT of Black Sabbath back in my day. Mostly, because living in a small west Texas town, there weren’t a lot of headbangers around and my parents liked country. Listening to heavy metal just pissed them off and I liked that. The more I was told it was ‘devil music’ and ‘you’re going to hell’…the louder I played it.

But if you don’t do anything at all, your kids get a skewed vision of what being a ‘grown-up’ can be. So, take the time to watch stuff like that with your kids. And then explain the media manipulation going on behind the scenes. Explain the skewed depiction of reality that’s being portrayed. And check for rubber underwear while doing the laundry.

Seriously, the point is this: Use these events as teaching moments. Moments to converse with your kids. You never know what might come of it. By not reacting the way they want you to react, you are reprogramming the computers in the Star Trek simulation; you are sticking to your morals and calling out to an unlikely ally for aid like Luke did. Each time the victor did something they weren’t expected to do.

The thing about no-win scenarios, you react to them differently if you know it ahead of time. So, looking at the Miley Cyrus thing, would people have reacted differently had they known ahead of time everything was geared to piss them off? I know my reaction was different after I realized I was being played like a fool. Next time, I’m just going to assume when the pop-culture machine is in play…they are desperately trying to put us in a no-win scenario. And then, I can get all Jedi-Starfleet Captain on their butts. (Mixed metaphors rock!)

What’s YOUR Kobayashi Maru?


I put a mosaic over the parts the internet found offensive. Then I censored it to make it look even dirtier. I’m funny that way.

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11 Responses

  1. Jessica

    Great article. 🙂 I never really watched Star Trek, but did find that Star Wars had a lot of good life lessons. As for Miley, I had a feeling this was all about publicity, and it worked. I just wish she thought better of herself and said no.

    • diaper_dad

      You and me both. But not being part of that world and the pressures therein, it’s hard to say how much of that was truly 100% her decision to do. I guarantee you, though, she’s never been talked about more than she has this week. Just to bolster book sales, I’m thinking of having a ‘fat guy twerk-off’ where I film myself twerkin’ it in strange places, hoping to get some publicity off of it. 😀 (I keed. I KEED!)

  2. J.D.

    Fantastic outlook on it, I would not have thought to include the Kobayashi Maru but I love the comparison. The Onion wrote fantastic satirical piece on why CNN posted the Miley Cyrus story on their front page.,33632/

    I thin you are right that she is trying to stay relevant, the issue i see with that is she is trying to move away from a musical genre that so many established artists are moving to, county.

  3. The Shoe Diva

    My kids are both adults & a bit beyond the whole Miley Cyrus madness but I like many others did discuss her performance (although I stop short of calling it entertaining) but I, like you looked at this as a power play. In showbiz, they say even bad publicity is good publicity. It got the tongues wagging, the youtube vids looked at & made her newsworthy (which is sad for reasons beyond her stripper like performance). The thing that always bugs me though is how the parents always manage to be the ones that are blamed. This girl is what 19? 20? Her decisions are now her own & interestingly enough, even when they are 9 or 10, we cannot make all of their decisions for them. We can want to but things that happen outside of our walls influence them as well. You mentioned pissing your parents off with music, I can’t tell you how many times I left the house dressed in respectable clothing only to go to school & change into something a little….ok, a lot more provocative lol We can’t be everywhere & if I were Billy Ray, during this performance I would have wished to be no where. If ever there was a time to become The Invisible Man <— See I got TV shows & movies too lol it was at that time. Poor guy for being a highly visible parent, at least her mom had the luxury of not being outted for this mess Great article, very thought provoking for sure

    • diaper_dad

      And that does bring up a perfectly valid point. She IS an adult now. The problem is the one that all of these teeny-boppers face at some point; they have to grow up. I remember how scandalous it was when Britney dropped “Not That Innocent”. Luckily, there was no social media at the time, otherwise it might have rivaled this hot mess. It’s funny because Annette Funicello wanted to break that ‘Disney’ mold but was never able to and was pigeonholed the rest of her career. I see these girls doing something about it and shattering the mold so drastically that you’ll never put them back in that position again. (Nobody puts Baby in the corner.) Good, bad or otherwise.

  4. Janet Dubac

    No mom or dad deserves to witness their daughter do such a thing. If my daughter did that, I’d have to pull her down tugging her ear and wrap her with a blanket and I won’t care what the whole world will say because I’d be on live tv then. Well this is just hypothetical. Seriously now, I do not think that even children grow up to be adults, parents do not have to care about what their children does. The responsibility of being a parent does not end when the child reaches 21 or even 50! Parenthood is forever and the kids have to realize that too.

    • diaper_dad

      While I agree with you on not wanting to see a daughter do that, the point of the article is that, as a parent, if you are faced with a ‘no win’ scenario, do you handle it differently if you know ahead of time that you’re being put in a ‘no win’ scenario? Do you stay the course, be outraged and forbid your kid from buying her album and do exactly what they want you to do? Or do you venture out and do something crazy they never see coming?

      I’m not asking anyone to put themselves in Miley’s parents’ shoes. I’m wondering what parent reactions are to their kids seeing the performance on TV or the internet. (And I use the term ‘performance’ loosely.)

  5. Run DMT

    I love the Sci Fi references! Great analogies and I totally agree. Here’s the bottomline: It’s the VMA on MTV, a program on a channel that prides itself in the ability to generate the next water cooler topic. If we don’t watch it, it doesn’t get air time. If we don’t talk about it, it doesn’t get the attention they were hoping to acheive. There are so many examples of past VMA shows where one incident caused people to go nuts. Remember when Brittney kissed Madonna? Or when Kayne was rude to Taylor? People get mad, irate and video get shared over and over and over and forums got hot. Bad publicity is good publicity.

    You know what I observed and is truly sad and also demonstrates what is wrong with society? In my own corner of Facebook, I saw more #VMA than I did #MLK50, which is TOTALLY worthy of attention and discussion, not Miley’s fall from fame. Hell, Dr. King fought for the right for a white girl to twerk next to a black girl.

    • diaper_dad

      Always great to get a new perspective on things! And I can say, we wish nothing but the absolute best for Debby. My kids watch Jessie on a near-religious basis.


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