Yes, it was bad.

Judging by the reactions to the former child star's very adult performance at the VMA awards, we had a cultural moment there. We again realized that not everything that can be done should be done.

She did things that clearly made many in the audience uncomfortable, though many seemed to enjoy it very much. It was over the line, but it was also something else— it was effective. Her routine did just what it was meant to do. It got people talking (about little else, in fact); it grabbed ratings, headlines and publicity. It was… creative. And it worked.

But at what cost? Is publicity worth that type of debasement? Her management surely must think so. Was it worth the further coarsening of our culture and the message it sent to the many children and teens watching? "She's an adult now," people say. "She can do what she wants to do," as her song and her actions so adamantly proclaimed. But again, not everything that can be done ...

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