I watched some of the American Music Awards with my wife the other night. Every once in a while I feel compelled to engage with the popular culture I typically dismiss. I'm not sure if it is a kind of penance or a need to reaffirm what I already believe. Whatever the reason, I came away from the experience feeling what I usually feel: sadness.
Perhaps it goes without saying that the show has almost nothing to do with music, and that things like lip syncing are the norm now. I can handle that, since it's clear that this music is made by producers, and in a studio instead of by instruments on a stage. What bothers me more is watching the parade of girls (I guess there were a few boys too) acting out what they have been told to do by mangers, choreographers, publicists, writers, directors, and sometimes parents. An endless line of girls all expressing their individuality and personal creativity, and somehow doing so in the exact same way. One is only truly individual in being the same.
It would be easy to dismiss me by saying that I just don't approve of the sexual content. If you watched the show you'll know that there was no sex and no nudity. There was nothing real on the stage. There was only the image, the imitation, the simulation. Things like real sex, nudity, and dare I say love, are an impossibility in this context. The real is too scandalous.
My daughters are still too young to watch this, but someday I'm sure they will. What I want them to know when that day comes is that their being is not in being desired. But they do have the chance to come to the fullness of being in love. You are not beholden to the imitation. If you want to be truly individual and express yourself through scandalous behaviour, seek out the real instead.