Growing up, I never would have thought of myself as a prude. I loved to go to the discos and dance with my girlfriends or go out on a date for an evening of wining and dining. Don’t get me wrong, I would “Shake my Groove Thing” to Peaches and Herb, “Celebrate” with Kool and the Gang, and dance “All Night Long” with Lionel Richie, but other than a little too much white Zinfandel, it was mostly clean fun. YES, we did drink that pink wine back then, thought we had it goin’ on, AND we liked it! I don’t remember seeing a lot of behavior that I found to be offensive. If someone made a spectacle of themselves, people would either eyeball them until they chose to go elsewhere, or the police were called to escort them from the premises. There was a code of conduct to which our society adhered. Recently, I was talking with a mom who had thrown a birthday party for her daughter’s sixteenth birthday which included a DJ playing music. The mom was telling me that she couldn’t get over the fact that these high-schoolers were dancing so sexually, AND it was all in front of the attending, and gawking, parents and grandparents. The kids showed no signs of being uneasy. It seems as though propriety has become a distant memory.
In our current culture, I believe that decency began its decline with the infamous little “blue dress”. Of course, we have had presidents that haven’t exactly left behind stellar legacies, but Bill Clinton’s takes the cake, or so it would seem. For the first time in our nations’s history, the Presidency was reduced to playing saxophone on late night television, “not having sex” with a White House intern in the Oval Office, and newspapers and magazines were filled with headlines about the creative use of a cigar. It was all over the news. Everywhere. During the summer of 1998, I was on a cruise ship in the middle of the Mediterranean having dinner at the captain’s table and the topic of conversation was Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. Contrarily, instead of him being stigmatized and made a pariah, the Main Stream Media celebrated him, and, in many ways, still does to this day. It is confounding, yet very telling, about our society’s moral standards and just how far they have fallen. I distinctly remember that it was about that same time I started seeing at the nightclubs heterosexual young women kissing each other trying to turn on the guys that would be watching them. It gave me pause then as it still would today if I were into the bar scene. I guess I thought that kind of behavior was saved for when you were behind closed doors…if that is what floats your boat.
The entertainment industry, minus a few exceptions, has become a cesspool of freaks. Years ago, they used to be showcased in the traveling circus. Now, the more vulgar their behavior, the more they are exalted. Last Fall, during Prime Time television, Miley Cyrus, dressed in a nude-colored bra and panties, dry-humped Robin Thicke at the MTV VMA awards all after she made “twerking” a household word. Within the week, my relatively sheltered ten-year-old daughter came home from school and showed me how Miley did her tongue and told me about her dancing on stage naked. Though she is legally an adult, the former Disney darling is making decisions to market herself looking through the lens of an impetuous child.
Not to be outdone, a skimpily-clad Beyonce opened the Grammys a couple months later, again during Prime Time, giving her husband a lap dance while singing her song “Drunk in Love”. I thought you used to have to show an ID to get in to see entertainment like that, but in that Fairyland that I fondly recall, you also used to have to show a picture ID to vote in elections. In her current song “Partition”, Beyonce sings about going out in a limousine and having the driver raise the partition so he can’t see what is going on in the back: “he popped all the buttons then he ripped my blouse; then he Monica Lewinsky-ed all over my gown.” Wait a minute, I don’t have a degree in sex-education, but shouldn’t that be “Bill Clinton-ed” ? This section of the lyrics is mild compared to some of the rest in the song. The difference between Miley and Beyonce is that Beyonce is a 32-year-old mother of a little girl. Shame on her! She used to be so classy before she got involved with her husband, Jay-Z. Sadly, it appears she has started going down the same downhill path as when the late Whitney Houston married Bobby Brown. He was ultimately her demise.
I once spoke with a Vietnamese woman working in a nail salon and she was telling me that her father was a violin teacher. We were both praising the beauty of the instrument because my daughter had been taking lessons for a year and a half. She said her father had once told her that as the culture goes, so goes the music. Wow, if that isn’t the truth! Maybe I’m really not prudish. Maybe I just have good taste in music.