Media Musings: Losing our butts over a twerk lurk

Editor’s note: This is another in my series of monthly musings on the news, published on the Sunday following the last Saturday of each month, except when it’s not.


© 2013 Tom Pfeifer

Current as of August 31, 2013


This month really twerked me.

At the top of my list is the misguided complaint by the Parents Television Council about Miley Cyrus’s performance on the MTV Video Music Awards.

 “MTV continues to sexually exploit young women by promoting acts that incorporate ‘twerking’ in a nude-colored bikini,” PTC spokesman Dan Isett wrote in a press release. “How is this image of former child star Miley Cyrus appropriate for 14-year-olds?”

Did they watch the show? That “nude-colored bikini” was anything but sexually exploitive. It was a plastic, full-body, beige chastity belt. And Cyrus isn’t close to being sexy. You need a butt to twerk, and I couldn’t find one on her. That clip should be shown in every eighth-grade health class. It’s visual birth control. Watching Cyrus work the twerk is like watching porn with condom-clad performers.

“It ruins the fantasy,” porn legend Ron Jeremy said. Cyrus certainly did.

It’s not like Cyrus’s singing brought the house down either. That quirk goes to The Black Alley, a Washington, D.C. go-go band. Black Alley was playing the opening of the exhibit “Go-Go Swing: Washington, D.C.’s Unstoppable Beat” at the 200 I Street Gallery. According to media reports, the building couldn’t handle the pulsating bass and the plaster came tumbling down. Now that’s how to put on a show.

But what really gets my butt bouncing are diet fads. There are many on the menu and Cyrus apparently follows them all. Physician David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, digested many of the current diet fads and found them tasteless. That includes the current gluten-free fad, not to be confused with Cyrus’s gluteus maximus-free fad.

“It’s entirely possible to eat gluten-free junk food, too,” he told The Washington Post. “Now that it’s caught on, there’s a proliferation of highly processed gluten-free foods. You can definitely cut gluten and still get fatter and sicker.”

He poo-poos similar diets, such as the paleo diet, the Cleanse Program, The Fast Diet, and even the ever-popular Mediterranean diet. If you really want to lose weight, try the Syrian diet. They have a chemical concoction that’s to-die for.

“We know what to feed our aquarium fish, but we don’t know how to feed ourselves,” Katz said.

Except we’re putting our aquarium fish on diets, too. Take the proudly carnivorous black salmon. Not only have we domesticated it – essentially put it in aquariums – but scientists have succeeded in turning it into a vegetarian. They experimented until they found a substance the fish liked: “mixtures of plant-based proteins, fatty acids and a powerful amino acid-like substance found in energy drinks.”

Energy drinks. Yeah, those are healthy. If you get a jolt the next time you sit down to a healthy fish dinner, you’ll know why.

Perhaps in this economy, it’s best we don’t eat anyway – at least not with anyone we like. Workers who eat at their desks are more focused in the afternoons than those who have a casual lunch with a friend, researchers found.

Couple that with a severe stomach illness making its rounds in people who ate from the salad bars at popular family restaurants, and one can see where eating with friends can be hazardous to one’s productivity.

So here’s the lesson learned from the Miley Cyrus twerk lurk. The real problem is socialization. One rarely watches awards programs alone. One rarely dines alone. We are social animals. We want to fit in. And, we are losing our butts because of it.



Fears, Darryl. “Baltimore researchers turn carnivorous fish into vegetarians.” Washington Post. 11 August 2013.

Jalonick, Mary Clare, and Pitt, David. Associated Press. “Rare stomach illness difficult to diagnose.” Washington Post. 3 August 2013.

McEwen, Lauren. “Music rattles the rafters at ‘Go-Go Swing’ exhibit in D.C.” Washington Post. 18 August 2013.

McKinley Jr., James C. “MTV Awards Show Prompts Familiar Complaint.” New York Times. 26 August 2013.

Shire, Emily. “Has the porn industry been proven wrong about condoms?” The Week. 22 August 2013.

Shugart, Jessica, and Science News. “Sociable lunches may reduce work performance.” Washington Post. 5 August 2013.

Telis, Gisela. Freelance science and health writer. “The truth about gluten-free, paleo and other diet books.” Washington Post. 5 August 2013.

Tom Pfeifer is the managing partner and chief strategist for Consistent Voice Communications. Reach him at


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