Now before I begin I just want to state that I am well aware that discussions that involve Miley Cyrus are VASTLY different from academic discussions that involve the Iliad, however, I do see a common thread that involves them both. The cultural differences, and similarities, of honor and shame culture.
The article that I have chosen is a commentary on how well of a job Miley Cyrus did as the host of this year’s Video Music Awards, and since I am going to discuss shame culture; you can predict how well she did. The article is filled with details of how she was “The Most Narcissistic Talk-Show Host Ever” and ends with the statement “The fact is, Miley was never suitable as a host”. And as I read this article I just kept thinking about the critical scene in the Iliad where Agememnon is convincing his army that “there is No shame in running” from the war. And how Odysseus shames him for being cowardice, commenting that “he is the disaster!”
These two, unbelievably different characters have the same dilemma; they were put into a position that they could not possibly strive in. Agememnon has been given the position of king through lineage alone, he is even a leader for an army that he wants to abandon! He sees no shame in leaving the war and is only shown the correct way to lead through a seasoned veteran, Odysseus (Izenburg 10/7/2015). Miley Cyrus has just turned twenty-two, is going through an experimental time through her life and has been the pinnacle of all media attention for at least the last three years. How could this adolescent girl possibly take this position and strive in the way that other seasoned veterans have?
The shame culture that prisons Agememnon is the same culture that constantly bashes on Miley Cyrus, when their actions are through no fault of their own. (Not to be confused with the consequences of their terrible actions). But our society shames them for what they are supposed to be and not what they TRY to be. Miley Cyrus is not subjected to the guilt culture our modern society allow us because her actions are made unapologetically and with a set of morals that do not match the majority of society; and Agememnon is subjected to a set of morals that all of his society can comprehend and judge them on. (Izenburg 10/7/2015).
Agememnon and Miley Cyrus are both in situations that allow their peers to judge them harshly and unapologetically, whether it be trying to run away from a war or making too many marijuana jokes during a television award show…yes. Somewhat the same thing.
Links to Pictures and Article