Tuned In

"I'm Not a Babysitter. I'm a Performer."

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OK, I have to say for the record, as to Adam Lambert’s claim that he has “no clue” his performance would be controversial: no one believes you’re that dumb, Adam. But the quote above, from Lambert’s interview/performance on CBS’s Early Show, should be the last word on the question of the propriety of a raunchy performance on the AMAs at nearly 11:00 p.m.

I mean, look, as a parent I am actually bothered by how easily and unthinkingly every single corner of pop culture is sexualized. As my kids get older, there will be shows that I’d like to watch together with them and that I’ll probably avoid because of the possibility of gratuitous sex explosions, and I think that sucks. (I think it sucks for that matter that we’re now a society in which “sucks” is a common term of art, and yet I contribute to it.) But I also think there’s nothing wrong with a zone of entertainment intended for adults, as long as the audience knows generally what to expect.

And one last thought on the subject: anyone who thinks there is no double standard applied to gay men in controversies like this should look at how CBS’s segment treats simulated fellatio and a man kissing a man as if they are equivalently graphic sexual acts—right down to blurring the kiss on the replay.

I mean, if you don’t want to offend viewers, don’t show any of it, but pixellating an onstage kiss sends a simple message: for a man to kiss a man is filthy, in a way that a man kissing a woman is not. Lambert’s performance may have been a transparent publicity ploy, but it doesn’t make that point any less worth making.

Meanwhile, here’s Lambert’s Early Show performance. Inappropriate for breakfast-time?