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The Internet made me care about Miley Cyrus, and I’m pissed about it

One great thing about the Internet, I thought, is that it gives all who use it access to the world’s information. This week proves, however, that the complete breadth of human knowledge has nothing on a 20-year-old former Disney star, who seems to have something wrong with her tongue.

The Miley Cyrus twerkocolypse that overtook the Web this week caught me by surprise, to say the least. I had been traveling most of the weekend, and I don’t have cable TV service. Nor did I check Twitter all of Sunday evening, as MTV’s horror show played out in real time. In fact, I didn’t even remember that the Video Music Awards still existed. So you can imagine my bewilderment early Monday morning, when I found the entire front page of Reddit consumed by Cyrus and her oscillating antics.

Having experienced an acute shift in psyche after just a few days of Cyrus overload, I can say for certain that the Web can mess with our minds.

The Reddit community has almost the same level of aversion to celebrity news as I do, or so I believed. So to see thousands upon thousands of people, who generally usually avoid such things, commenting, posting, gif-ing, and otherwise opining on Miley Cyrus struck me as odd. Never mind, I thought. Give it a bit of time and this whole thing will clear right up, like a cold sore. 

Of course, that is not what happened, on Reddit or anywhere else. Every publication, it seems, has weighed in on Cyrus’ performance, from BuzzFeed to the Christian Science Monitor. Rappers have recorded songs about it. Artists have painted pictures of it. I’ll bet you $50 that someone is getting a tattoo of the cartoonish Cyrus at this very second. ABC News, bless its soul, has gone so far as to publish a “scientific explanation” of twerking – which, if you somehow missed it, is the bootylicious dance Cyrus slathered all over the front of 36-year-old singer Robin Thicke on the VMAs stage – because, dammit, that’s what the people want, ass science.

Of course, that is what the people want. And, much to my dismay, that’s apparently what I want, too.

Over the past 36 hours, I have caught myself clicking repeatedly on Cyrus-related links. On Facebook, I joined in a heated discussion with friends about the degrading sexualization of America’s children. An impromptu dinner party at my friend’s house last night inevitably devolved into arguments over what Cyrus’ baffling display of adulthood means for American culture – a conversation I started.

I soon realized that the onslaught of media imposed by the Web had suddenly made me care about Miley Cyrus, forced me to consider the implications of her actions. And that upsets me endlessly.

Despite what this may sound like, it’s not that I see myself as “above” popular culture, or whatever space it is that Miley Cyrus occupies in our society. No – nothing as pompous as that. Rather, it’s simply not my thing. Some people are into celebrity gossip, other people would rather read about the evolution of motorcycle carburetors, right? Take a guess which category I fall into.

But spending my days on the Web this week, I began to question who I am as a person. Confronted with a list of the “most popular” articles on the Huffington Post that was occupied entirely by Miley Cyrus content, I realized just how alone in this world I truly am. “Most people are nothing like me,” I thought. “I am the weirdo.”

“Most people are nothing like me,” I thought. “I am the weirdo.”

This feeling of isolation compounded as I bounced around the Web. Miley Cyrus tweets, Miley Cyrus Facebook posts, the endless stream of Miley Cyrus link-bait articles – all of it made me feel increasingly self-conscious and alone, on some grand scale I had never before considered. In olden times, I could have just gone on being my regular weirdo self. A few magazines or newspapers might write about the Cyrus twerking. It would pop up on a few TV shows here and there. For the most part, however, I could avoid all that easily – and none of it would give me the sense that every single person on Earth is preoccupied by something I consider absolutely meaningless. Not so with the Web.

Faced with this digitally imposed peer pressure, this overwhelming sense of humanity constantly ticking by on the computer screen, my inner desires shifted. MIley Cyrus became part of my day; she twerked around in my thoughts. Her VMA performance took on a weight I never imagined it could. And soon enough, I had transformed into someone I wasn’t, like an alien who suddenly feels the need to fit in. I am one of you now. I mean no harm to your planet. Accept me, humans.

Much has been said about the “fear of missing out,” Facebook depression, Internet addiction, and a whole slew of other psychological ailments seemingly caused by our interconnected existence – all of which I secretly assumed were nonsense. Now, having experienced an acute shift in psyche after just a few days of Cyrus overload, I can say for certain that the Web can mess with our minds in disturbing, unsettling ways.

Now, while you’re chewing on that thought, may I suggest a video?

(Images courtesy of Augusto Tokumori via Flickr.com. Video courtesy of MTV via MTV.com)

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