Saturday, September 14, 2013
It's funny how one generation thinks the ones coming up are so terrible-- but their own generation, now that was totally cool. So when I came across this link, it brought forth all kinds of thoughts. Yes, I am paying attention to what the current generation is hearing and who they admire. Hey, I got grandkids!
Listen to that first song if nothing else as you read the article because it's about innovation. It's about taking something and putting something new with it to make it your own.
My mom was a musician in the 30s. She traveled a lot with all girl bands where Mama played bass (sang it too in the trio) was a fact. She learned a lot in the world of musicians that she passed onto me. Many things, like gays, discrimination, abortion, I heard about in my own home in the years when that was not exactly the norm. Mom also used to talk about the silly songs of her day; so it's not like silly songs are unique to today. I have a blog coming up with the foxes song which I love. Silly though? You bet! Who cares?
The problem with being different, creative or first to do something is it becomes horrid to the ones who came before and went through a different kind of different. Now I have to admit that when I see Miley Cyrus doing her act, I also am a little-- oh my gawd (actually I don't say that but it's what I am feeling). I am asking is this girl in control of herself? Is she being exploited? Will she make it through these years better than many who have publicly gone before her? And role model for younger girls? Nope.
Why does Miley Cyrus matter? Well it would to you if you had a 15 year old granddaughter (who used to admire Cyrus when she was Hannah Montana), a girl dear to my heart, part of my heart, who is about to navigate the same waters. Yep, you'd be caring then.
So I saw the latest Cyrus video which has been so sensationalized by the media with single shots of her nude body. I heard the song before I saw the video and frankly as with We can't stop, it's a good song-- Wrecking Ball. She didn't write it but she sure put her stamp on it.
I won't put a link to the video here because some would find what I see as artistic as instead horrifying. We live in a culture where any nudity is regarded as porn. If you want to see it and haven't, skip the single images and do a Google search and choose the link on Vevo. Personally I think it's a pretty good account of how we can go wrong in a relationship-- not to mention catchy melody. I know. I know. I'm supposed to be horrified. The polls are full of how Americans view her now and it's not flattering! Do I see it differently because I am a creative person? Maybe.
The thing is when kids grow up, they will try to find a new way. That's the way it's always been. If you raised your kids and they never rebelled, they either haven't done it yet (and are saving it up for a mid-life crises) or you never knew when they did it. My daughter has said the goal is to find a way to let them rebel that doesn't hurt them badly. So you have to leave some room for that to happen-- which means parents have to disapprove and wag their fingers at something or how the heck does a kid rebel?
Where it comes to creativity the rebellion can come through music or doing something like no punctuation in writing. To me that was not good in the books that did it, but it's one way. It can come through rejecting all the values of those who came before or finding instead what you like and putting your own twist to it. You could say 1984 is a book about rebellion by illustrating what the author thought about his culture and what was coming.
At any age, we are going to be rebelling if we are creating-- even if it's only against what we did last time. Gotta find new ways. That's the nature of creativity-- otherwise, it's craft. Creativity is, like discovery, a kind of violent process.
I feel for these kids who grew up as Cyrus did in the eye of the public, stars before they know what that means. It takes a lot for them to navigate that. A few do it well but they usually weren't huge phenomena before they understood what that really meant-- as in flavor of the month.
If they make it past it, it's because they found some core values within themselves-- values they can live with and that protect them. It's what my granddaughter has to do. What I had to do. What we all have to do. Hopefully we find values that are real to us, not just taken from someone else. I think this is true in creative rebellion. It has to have some core values or it's gibberish. The songs Cyrus has chosen to put on her album (so far) are not gibberish. They are speaking to what's going on. Her method of selling them seems sad and more a statement on our culture than of a girl trying to find her way through it.
And some of her music like We Can't Stop is informative if nothing else. I didn't even know what molly was until I heard it discussed in connection to that song. Chuck Barry though sang similarly back in my youth and many of us had no idea what he was singing about-- well some knew.
Where it comes to the drug ecstasy, because of the song I not only know what it is, had a discussion with my son about what it was to his generation (he's in his 40s), but also know the warnings regarding its safer use-- which adults around teens better make sure they are telling them because if you can stop their drug use, great, good for you. I am no fan of using hallucinogenics to create-- but like with sex, if you can't, then teach them to be responsible!
It's funny as each young generation thinks the older ones don't understand. Don't get it. I've been told Cyrus' music is not meant for someone in any older generation to get. Well if we already went through those years, we might 'get' it more than they think! And as for Wrecking Ball-- if we have ever loved that way, we will still 'get it' and can relate to both the frustration and those tears.
I don't know how creative Miley Cyrus really is. How much of what she does is being directed by someone else? Does she write any of her music although it takes a level of creativity to interpret music even by someone else (unless that is also being done for her). If she was writing her own music, I think it would help her future. But the bigger question is what is she creating with her life right now-- that is so critical to a young person as they become their own person-- or not.
Of all the things we will create-- for any of us artist or not-- the most important is our own life. We should be the ultimate creators of it-- the question is what are we making of it. Rebelling for the sake of rebelling gets us nowhere. Building that life is the most important thing we will teach to the generations coming after us, and that we are creating our own lives is still true at 70-- if ya didn't know it!