Oh, yes. We’ve officially jumped the shark. Or jumped the twerk. Liberal Washington Post curmudgeon Richard Cohen returned from the Labor Day holiday with a doozy of a column on Miley Cyrus. For some reason, he got it into his head that combining commentary on twerking and the Steubenville, Ohio, rape case would be a good idea.
Here’s how the column opened.
Miley Cyrus twerked. I had to look up the word since my indefatigable spell checker had no idea what I meant. I discovered from Wikipedia that twerking “involves a person, usually a woman, shaking her hips in an up-and-down bouncing motion, causing the dancer to shake, ‘wobble’ and ‘jiggle.’ ” That’s precisely what Cyrus did at the recent MTV Video Music Awards, for which she has been amply and justifiably criticized. She’s a cheap act, no doubt about it, but for me her performance was an opportunity to discuss one of the summer’s most arresting pieces of journalism — a long New Yorker account of what became known as the Steubenville Rape. Cyrus should read it.
The New Yorker account by Ariel Levy is indeed worth reading. But Cohen’s cheap grafting of the foam-finger VMA stunt onto Levy’s investigative work failed big time — and ended up dehumanizing all the women involved. This was blatant traffic bait disguised as pundit profundity.
Cohen did succeed, however, in uniting feminists, conservatives, and other journalists in a collective cringe.