Last night, for the briefest of moments, the world stopped turning. Like as dead in its tracks as a track-marked Jim Morrison in a Parisian bath tub filled with Schlitz.
The reason: Nicki Minaj threw some shade at MTV Video Music Award host Miley Cyrus, while the one-time Hannah Montana replied with a “fuck you” of her own. When it was over with, the course of human destiny had been irrevocably altered: Rock ‘n’ Roll was officially dead.
Don’t argue with me, I was there as Rock breathed its last breath and released its bowels backstage at the Microsoft Theater. Few if anyone else noticed. They were too caught up in a spectacle that had been carefully orchestrated years ago by the imagineers at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., the very place where the plan to kill Rock ‘n’ Roll was first hatched.
The plot was formed some 20 years go when the Mouse House rebooted the television variety show, “The Mickey Mouse Club,” featuring a romper room of future pop tarts and teen beaters. You know their names now, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake. Each one of them, along with the Backstreet Boys and Timberlakes’s N*Sync, were designed to titillate, to tease, to transgress, but only in the most wholesomely tawdry of ways.
Their every thrust, their every gyration, their every come-hither-stare offered a strictly above-the-clothes pruriency. It was like watching a heavy petting session between anatomically incorrect Barbie and Ken dolls. Object A didn’t go into Slot B because they simply didn’t come with those parts. And neither do any of the pop stars that have followed in the Teeny Bopper Triumvirate’s wake.
Not Demi Lovato.
Not Selena Gomez.
Not Justin Bieber.
Not Ariana Grande.
And not Miley Fucking Cyrus.
Coupled with that, came on onslaught of pre-teen programming by the likes of not just Disney, but Nickelodeon and ABC Family, each one offering a steady stream of sitcoms starring their budding pop stars in which the primary commodus operandi of every story involved an overly sexualized, but ultimately chaste promise-ring courtship between the main starlet and her current boy-toy obsession, whether for the season or just a single episode.
No hands were ever held, no kisses were ever made, no clothes were ever shed, but every aching moment of every aching show, the lead characters were striving to couple. They fought over anniversaries. They planned romantic getaways. They fretted about meeting each others parents in a pale and unnecessary simulacra of adult relationships.
And so, thanks to these pop stars and their respective shows and videos, an infantilized form of sexuality took hold, and with it an abstinence-only education replaced the dirty art of our beloved man Rock ‘n’ Roll. Over time, American teens could no longer tell the difference. Eventually, the adults fell prey as well.
Last night was a culmination of this, as one barely-there costume begat another and every well-planned nipple slip begat another feverish letter to the FCC. And we all amused ourselves at the manufactured PG-13 controversy as Rock lay dying in the wings.
No one knows for sure what Mr. Roll’s thought were as he entered oblivion. Although one can be sure that it wasn’t of the rockers who took the stage last night — there weren’t any.
Instead, Rock’s last thoughts were on Pharrell Williams, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift, Demi Lovato and Iggy Azalea, Tori Kelly, and Justin Bieber. Rock wondered, How did we get here? How did this come to be?
An EMS team arrived shortly after Rock ‘n’ Roll collapsed and it tried to revive him by reminding him that there were still some honest to goodness rockers out. Bands like Maroon Five, Imagine Dragons, Mumford and Sons, Walk the Moon, .fun, One Direction, Cold Play, Nickelback, the motherfucking Foo Fighters.
The Foos, of course, were the final straw. Upon hearing their name, Rock gave up.
Rest in peace, my friend. You broke the mold with a television set thrown out of a penthouse window of a 20-story building. There will never be another like you.