Owning Your Uncool

The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what we share with someone else when we’re uncool. Lester Bangs, Almost Famous

There is a great scene in the film “The Holiday” when Kate Winslet’s character, Iris, is so distraught over hearing the news of her ex’s engagement that she starts breathing in gas from her stove as she is getting ready to light the flame for a cup of tea.  She then realizes what she is doing and scrambles to open the window, finishing the moment with a mumble to herself, “Low point!”

I love this scene because it reminds me of our humanity and the vulnerability we carry in our hearts that result in situations in our lives that really are “UNCOOL.”  It makes me laugh every time.  The scene has become an unfailing reflection of my own relationship foibles.  As I have opened this article with a quote that I also love, from another film (yes, I am a cinematic nut job), I can’t help but refer to it over and over again in my own life.  A lot of getting over our self- judgments that usually result in some misguided perception about who we are, is about owning those moments in our lives where we really do hit those “low points” and seriously act “uncool.”  Iris’s goofy attempt at poisoning herself with gas from her stove qualifies as one of these moments for me.

There has been a lot of talk over the past week about Miley Cyrus’s performance at the MTV VMA awards, and it has been funny to see many people’s reactions here on WordPress with the weekly writing challenge incorporating it as a guideline.  Most people don’t want to give any energy to the topic and the hype of this pop performance dilemma.  I totally understand it, as a person myself who has always rejected in some way through my own musical snobbery such mainstream musical gunk- which is why I have always related to the main characters in Almost Famous.

But I can’t help but notice that even those that don’t want to give any energy to the event still do by feeling the need to make their statement.  When I finally had a second to actually watch the video, I found myself laughing out loud- really.  Why?  Because here was a person engaged in one of those “low points,” one of those “uncool” moments where her immaturity outweighed whatever it was she was trying to do on that stage.  To me her performance was no different than a bunch of 13 year old awkward boys or girls having a sleep over acting outlandish about sex, a topic they don’t know anything about but want to be “cool.”

In my heart, I can’t help but be grateful that I now have enough wisdom to honor Cyrus’s process of growing up amidst all the labeling on this planet and the continuous blubbering over one concern to another regarding pop artists and what they are teaching our kids or what they say about our society as a whole.  In the end, we have to all own our “uncool” moments for what they are and love ourselves because there is nothing else left that is real but that love.  One day, I’m sure Ms. Cyrus will own her “uncool” also and be a person she herself can fully love rather than seek the hype surrounding celebrity marketing and drama.

78 thoughts on “Owning Your Uncool

  1. I saw the Miley on the news and reflected like you. She basically was doing slapstick and buffooned herself. She really was not taking it seriously. What she did was overt, over the top and that was what it was suppose to be. There are worse scenes in some of the older movies which are truly perverse and certainly more over the top. There is a Greg Peck movie, yes that Greg Peck, where there is a stalking Indian killing one person after another. The whole movie is death and more death. I will take Miley as a sex object over that any day. Think of the Dustin Hoffman movie where he is seduced by Dickerson and then falls in love with her daughter and interrupts the wedding. How sick was that. Any more sicker than Miley? I can go on and on. I am glad you saw it as it was, a joke gone wrong and taken out of context.

  2. Here is the thing. Was I completely shocked by her performance? Yes. I found it gross. But it has been over a week now. People need to really let it go. There are bigger issues than Miley busting a move on a show that your 13 year old children shouldn’t be watching anyway.

    Great view though and I agree.

  3. Its just amazing how we make things like this seem so “important”! Everyday people loser their jobs, get in accidents, find out they have cancer…..bigger events than twerking! Nice article!

  4. I am a movie-lover too and can literally “see” the scenes you quoted, they are perfect! I agree, I wouldn’t want to have to re-live my low and uncool points in my life PUBLICLY- jeesh !! Just the reel in my mind is terrible enough! Well said :))

  5. I actually wasn’t that shocked by her performance. Maybe because I had heard so much about it beforehand. I wish I had seen it firsthand, so I could’ve seen what my ‘actual’ shock level would’ve been.

    But I do hear what you’re saying- when we have “uncool” moments. I remember in the 6th grade, a teacher asked what our favorite movie was, and she went around the room. I was trying to be really cool by picking something that was risque so I said “Private Lessons.” People just laughed at me, including the teacher. I was so humiliated because it was ridiculous things to say especially for a 6th grader- it was like a controversial sex movie in the 80s. I actually don’t even think I had seen the movie either. Anyway, it was my Miley Cyrus uncool moment. Not that this moment was the final Miley Cyrus moment in my life…. : )

    Thanks for your post!

    http://sleep100years.wordpress.com/2013/09/07/w-o-r-k-its-a-four-letter-word/

    1. Hi Mark, You have a lot of valid points about these issues surrounding female sexuality. I think that the simple fact that you care and that you will be teaching that to your son is huge. It is easy to feel alone in our desire to create a world that is filled with the love that our hearts are made of reflecting respect for all cultures, sexes and races- but remember even your kindness is enough to help change he world. You are doing it! Keep on blogging! I appreciate you.

  6. So true! We all have our moments, and I am thankful I didn`t have a camera up in my face when it happened. I cannot imagine how it must be to always be a “certain” way. Thank you for this post (and I love the Holiday)

  7. I love Miley Cyrus and I think you’re right, but I think what people are forgetting is that through this she has gotten so much press. Even bad press is good press. I totally agree with that you have said though and thank you for reminding me about that amazing scene in The Holiday, I had a good giggle to myself. x

  8. ‘Uncool’ moments are tools that keep us in check teach us about ourselves. Like most, I’ve had many moments like these ….and once I take the time to digest the moment I can view myself from the ‘outside’ looking in. That’s when I ask how I could have handled that particular situation differently. We cannot change our innate personalities, but these moments help us to adjust our behaviours if needed.

  9. I know everyone will shout in shock or horror but I don’t follow the world of entertainment. Yes I do go to concerts, cinema etc but I have discovered to simply live and not look at or worry about what someone who is ranked as being famous is getting up to.
    Enjoyed reading your blog and I would Rank the Holiday in my top ten, simply because it made me laugh.

  10. Perfect! And so true. I haven’t watched the video yet, and I may not. I know it is exactly as you say….. And big taunt to her Daddy Billy Ray Cyrus achy breakin’ his heart. Kids. Give them a Disney show and look what you get. Lol. She will grow up soon enough (in real life). Excellent post. 🙂

  11. It seems to me that Miley was acting in a way consistent with pop culture these days. I don’t think she was inventing any new envelop-pushing way of expression. It was ridiculous and risque and over-the-top, but no more so than Lady Gaga or Rihanna or any number or other acts. I think the problem people have with the whole scene was that it was Miley, our little Miley, our innocent little Miley, doing it. And what that reveals to me is that we’re all trying to own Miley’s image and through our outrage dictate to her what she can be. She absolutely should be free to own her uncool, to own her silly, to own her over-the-top, to own every aspect of her expression of whatever self she wants to be. Not only should we all own our uncool, we should also know where the limits of our ownership lie — I don’t own your expression, you don’t own mine. We each own the expression and the consequences of our own expression and if we’re willing to own those consequences, then so be it.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic and for sparking good dialogue. And congratulations on the fresh pressed honor.

  12. We are ALL uncool… it’s only a precious few of us are publicly so. For that, I give Miley a bit of slack. But just a bit. But the only thing I disagree with is that she’ll ever cop to how twisted that whole thing was. Great points… well written.

  13. Let me see, you are using quotes from “Hollywood” movies and telling us about their impact in your own life, as wisdom to make the case that pop artists don’t influence our kids?

  14. Ha ha love it! Embracing the uncool. I have given myself permission to do just that this year. Be authentically me and give others permission to do the same. It takes courage to stand there and be truly seen for who you are, imperfections and all. Risking vulnerability to state this is who I am and finding out how contagious courage can be.

    I’m talking about the exact opposite to what Miley was conforming to. That is exactly what is expected of girls in the industry. This pornified culture we live in, I fear for our girls. The only thing I thought about during that whole mess on stage (other than cringeeeee) was Robin Thicke is double her age, married, fully clothed and needs to be smacked upside the head with that stupid foam finger

  15. I love how you were able to make being uncool justifiable and relevant, especially in the midst of Miley’s performance. We all need those uncool moments, otherwise we would be walking around like robots.

  16. Owning your uncool sounds like a good idea! I can think of a few of my own uncool moments!

    I too love Almost Famous and The Holiday, both great films which I may now have to dig out the DVD collection and re-watch!

      1. I was first introduced to “reactionship” about twelve years ago, I totally got that word back when i heard it first, I was a completely different person way back then, seems like I’m in a fragile state of existence these days, and I believe the reactionships of mine, and the reactionships of others when they don’t jive must become “disastorships” I think right now my personal goal is just to survive without taking hostages or becoming someone else’s hostage. life is hard , and I know that’s true cause I’ve said it out loud over three times in 36 hours!

  17. Thank you! You really have said it well. It’s like being naked under your clothes – we’re all in this together…

  18. The really awful things like terrorism, war, gov’t shutdown, muggings and crime ARE VERY UNCOOL! Miley Cyrus is asserting herself in the Vanity Fair-like culture, cashing in on her talents if you will. Then she’ll find other things to do, as we all do growing up.

  19. I also have many uncool moments, but what’s funny is the people I am around hardly ever will acknowledge them with me. Maybe it’s the Hollywood atmosphere I work and live in, but I am trying to be unapologetically myself.

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