Moral Panic

MTV Censors Miley Cyrus Smoking a Joint at European Music Awards

Oh MTV

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fuckin freak out!!1
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Would MTV risk upsetting some sensitive parents? Perish the thought. As Matthew Feeney noted in the morning links, MTV, which once upon a time could've been described as a subversive media outlet, censored Miley Cyrus appearing to light a joint after accepting an award at the EMAs, which were held in Amsterdam yesterday, and aired in the US on MTV last night. Deadline helpfully explains that "[h]ad MTV opted to leave the smoking stunt by the 20-year-old Cyrus in, the network most certainly would've gotten into hot water with watchdogs and parents."

Cyrus, whose latest album came out last month, previously attracted controversy and attention to herself by performing a sexually provocative number with Robin Thicke at this summer's MTV Video Music Awards. The FCC received more than 150 pages of complaints about Cyrus after the award show aired, even though the agency has no jurisdiction or authority over cable networks like MTV. Peter Suderman argued that the blurred lines between cable and broadcast networks mean the FCC should withdraw from the business of censoring broadcast networks, just as it's hands-off with cable.

MTV's self-censorship of an act that, even if it were an actual joint, would be basically legal in the country where it happened as well as in two US states and several local municipalities and that a majority of Americans believe ought to be legal, further suggest that cable network, and others, don't need the FCC's meddling to make silly censorship calls. Cyrus pointed out how bizarre MTV's censorship policies can be by noting they let her twerk at the VMAs but felt the need to censor her mention of Molly (MDMA). They are a music channel no one is forced to watch or pay for, and should be comfortable not censoring either.

Read Nick Gillespie on Miley Cyrus, MTV, and the "blandification of pop culture" here.

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  1. So this is going to be the next chainpost? From Lou Reed to Hannah Montana.

    1. I heard she bought her weed from the Cleveland Browns.

  2. MTV, which once upon a time could’ve been described as a subversive media outlet

    Where is the gateway/portal to your alternate universe home?

    1. You just have to watch 88 music videos in a row, which will transport you to a world where MTV plays music videos instead of shows revolving around drunken spraytanned guineas.

      1. MTV’s original programming back in the 80s was 24/7 advertising.

        1. I want my MTV!!!

          Et tu, Peter Townsend? Et tu?

      2. Racist!

        What’s that? Italian-Americans aren’t reliable Team Blue voters? Then carry on.

    2. The most subversive thing that I’ve ever seen on MTV is Daria.

      1. Uh, hey, Diarrhea….huh huh….huh huh….huh huh….huh huh…

      2. I dunno man, Singled Out was clearly the most scathing commentary of Love Connection and its evil host, Chuck Woolery.

    3. Nothing says subversive like pressuring two young singers into French kissing an old matriarchial crone asserting her power in the industry through them.

  3. Proof that the demon weed causes breakdown in the children’s morals!!

    Girl looks like she could use an appetite stimulant, maybe she has a prescription.

    Oh, and FRIED CHICKEN.

  4. would be basically legal in the country where it happened as well as in two US states and several local municipalities and that a majority of Americans believe ought to be legal

    I don’t think Colorado or Washington allow sparking up in public accomodations.

    1. They don’t enforce it, either. Not when a huge crowd is doing it, anyway.

    2. They initialized tried to ban access to speech involving MJ such as magazines for minors, but I believe there are still restrictions on public advertisement.

  5. For fuck’s sake, is there no site on the goddamned internet that this self-absorbed woman doesn’t taint?

    1. That’s no woman!

      1. But that is a taint.

      2. I’m convinced she’s half of Jedward, post-surgery.

    2. Actually, as far as media phenomena go, I kind of like Miley. In interviews I have happened to catch, she was ballsy and unapologetic and only too happy to say fuck you if you don’t like it. My feeling is that if her star collapsed tomorrow she wouldn’t really give a fuck. And I found her just as detestable as the next guy originally.

  6. Anything said on the subject of anything Miley Cyrus says or does can be summarized by the following two syllables.

    Uhm, waht.

    Nothing further posted on the subject can add anything to the discourse.

    1. Shorter Cyrus summary: “derp”

    2. I find her incredibly boring. Amazes me that people can’t just tune her out.

      1. I used this to troll my hipster FB friends. “Miley Cyrus, complex Dadaist critic of modern pop?”

        We’ll see if any fun comes of it. But mostly, I just see the relentless marketing machine churning out dollars.

          1. He posted a question to his circle of acquaintances on Facebook designed to poke at their belief system to which Miley Cyrus is a mortal threat.

  7. Yah know, this shit she’s doing is just getting pathetic. I understand she’s trying to change her brand from ‘kid-friendly’ to a more adult-oriented audience but you know how you do that? By putting out shit that adults want to buy.

    The stuff she’s doing right now is less “Hey look at me, I’m grown-up now” and more “You can’t tell me what to do anymore mom!”

    1. I agree. For her it isn’t about music, it’s about attention. (Which is no different than any other pop star). But that road never leads to anywhere that’s good.

      1. No, it’s about the money and I’m betting it’s working.

    2. As I said in the A.M. Links, I expect her sex tape to be “stolen” and sold any day now.

      1. I’d love to see video of her smoking the odd joint.

  8. When people smoke joints in movies and on television, what are they actually smoking? Paper? Tobacco? Real weed?

    1. I bet it’s usually been tobacco. But now that tobacco is evil, probably more other things. There are lots of non-drug things that are fairly pleasant to smoke.

  9. Peter Suderman argued that the blurred lines between cable and broadcast networks

    Haha!

    1. No way that was unintentional

  10. I don’t really think of “self-censorship” as censorship.

    When I don’t say what I really think to my girlfriend, or I don’t tell an investor what I really think of his idea, is that censorship or is that something else?

    I guess MTV censored Miley Cyrus–in a way. …but MTV deciding what it does or doesn’t broadcast on its own channel isn’t really what I’m talking about when I talk about censorship.

    There needs to be a better word than “self-censorship”. Self-censorship isn’t just an oxymoron as a figure of speech; it’s self-contradictory nature goes all the way to bone.

    1. I don’t think censorship necessarily has to have the force of law. For example, I don’t think it is inaccurate to say that commercial cable TV channels censor their shows to keep advertisers and various pressure groups happy even though they are not legally forced to do so like broadcast TV.

      1. No, but MTV editing its own broadcast isn’t censorship, and maybe “edit” is the word I’m looking for.

        I cannot “self-censor”. Miley Cyrus may call what MTV did to her “censorship”, but that’s just descriptive…

        It may have been like censorship, but MTV editing its own broadcast isn’t really censorship.

        Just like not telling your girlfriend what you really think isn’t censorship.

        It’s editing.

    2. There’s actually nothing in the etymology that makes it intrinsically statist action:

      1525?35; < Latin c?nsor, equivalent to c?ns ( ?re ) to give as one’s opinion, recommend, assess + -tor -tor; -sor for *-stor by analogy with derivatives from dentals, as t?nsor barber (see tonsorial)

      The censor was and still is simply the gatekeeper of speech for the publisher. It’s just that historically, there was only one publisher–the monarch.

      When dealing with editing works not of your own creation but of others which you provide a publishing service for, then the word still applies.

      Just like the word discrimination, censorship does not necessarily imply state originated action and indeed its formal definitions are not limited to the state.

      In the context of editing, censoring is basically a type of editing. Editing your own work, based on original intent, is very different than editing based on other’s discriminating values.

      Consider a song or speech in general that has all of its swearing bleeped out, even when it is not legally required, such as on cable, or internet streams. Yet when you get the original album or original work on video, you can hear it without the bleeps (or cuts of content in general) by the publisher.

      “censor” (see def in link) is used to differentiate between those two types of editing.

      1. “Just like the word discrimination, censorship does not necessarily imply state originated action and indeed its formal definitions are not limited to the state.”

        I appreciate that, but from a libertarian perspective, we need to make an important distinction between the government imposing something and people doing something to or for themselves.

        We’re not going to get the wider culture to understand the difference if we don’t make the distinction ourselves.

        And I just think that even “self-censorship” is the wrong word to use–from a libertarian perspective–to describe MTV edition its own broadcast.

        Our opponents would like everyone to think that MTV editing its own broadcast is just like when the government tells broadcasters what they can and can’t broadcast–they’re both “censorship”?

        I want to make that distinction clear. That difference is the whole libertarian point. So, don’t ask me to refer to editing as “censorship”. If MTV editing its own broadcast is “censorship”, then don’t Matt Welch and other censor everything that gets printed in Reason magazine?

        That ain’t “censorship”, and it isn’t “self-censorship” either.

        1. Bowdlerization, then. I think that might be an even worse “crime” than censorship, and both government and private actors can do it!

          1. How is it a “crime”?

            Is it a crime if someone’s speech gets edited down for time?

            Define the “crime” here, exactly?

            When someone stops her from posting a pot-smoking video online, get back to me – for now I’m entirely with Mr. Shultz.

            While the word “censorship” can be used here (as indeed can bowdlerization), I don’t see why anyone should care in this context.

            MTV has no monopoly on her dissemination of her views, after all.

  11. I hereby pledge to make a donation to the Reason Foundation for every week that passes without a mention of the above referenced subject.

  12. Didjou guys know Lou Reed is dead?

    LOU REED! DEAD!

    Fuck…

    1. Who was Lou Reed?

      1. Some old guy who collaborated on that Metallica song where James Hetfield describes himself as a table.

            1. No! Make it stop!

  13. As I say, now the only move she can make which will shock anyone is to announce she’s found Jesus, that she realizes her songs are immoral, and that she’s joining the Family Research Council to crusade against filth in entertainment.

    1. If she wants to shock, she could always tell jokes about the Lightbringer.

      1. She wants to fake shock the media for more attention not be the object of a massive investigation by the IRS and NSA.

    2. Wait for it…

  14. I hope her next shocking move is going to outer space with Lady Gaga where no one can hear them scream.

    1. As long as I can keep The Fame and The Fame Monster, I’m OK with this. Artpop is not looking good at the moment.

    2. She could do covers of all her dad’s hits and a duet with him on “Achey Breaky Joint”. Don’t smoke that joint, that stinky smelly joint, that hooter that’ll go and get you buzzed.

      1. I will track you down and murder you for putting that melody in my head. I had to ride an hour each way to school during the Achey-Breaky Heart/Boot Scootin Boogy years in a schoolbus whose radio was tuned to the country top 40 station, only their loop was only about 15 songs deep.

  15. I think Miley might have found out how to actually shock people.

  16. I dont care what enyone say that girl is HOT!

    http://www.Privacy-Road.tk

  17. Attention whores gonna whore for attention.

  18. We’ve come a long way from the days when I could turn on the FM radio and hear Jackson Browne singing about “cocaine, runnin’ all around my brain.” Oh wait.

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