Shame on you, Robin Thicke

SINGAPORE - If you were shocked by a 20-year-old pop star cavorting controversially at an awards show, congratulations.

Well done for finally waking from your 40-year coma.

Still, many people felt they should be shocked by the MTV Video Music Awards performance.

Miley Cyrus couldn't keep her tongue in her mouth or her buttocks off other people - which sent the world, or the Internet at least, berserk.

That people reacted that way certainly came close to ending my faith in humanity.

I'm sure campaigners hoping to highlight impending war in the Middle East and radiation leaks in Japan could only look on and wonder if their needed some nude underwear too.

But why such scorn for poor old Miley?

She's young, she's hot and she's a pop star - and pop stars are meant to be controversial.

Basically, she's doing her job.

Could it be that she was a wholesome, precocious teen and we're uncomfortable that she's now acting like a provocative tart?

Her moves were certainly more mature than her age. More like a drunk divorcee trying to make her ex jealous.

Or could it be that to the greater world, she has basically "invented" twerking - the human equivalent of a mating ritual more commonly seen in the animal kingdom - 20 years after the fact?

Who cares?

What really shocked me about the performance was Robin Thicke's part in it.

As ramshackle as the performance was, let's not pretend it wasn't rehearsed. I guess at no point did he feel uncomfortable that a much younger girl was grinding against his crotch.

Thicke is 36, married and a dad.

I think of Thicke as an evil Rick Astley. Both are dull with a veneer of soul music, but underneath - not that soulful.

I don't know if he gets how sleazy he appears.

He has created one of the biggest hits of the year with Blurred Lines. The video uses topless models to distract from the fully-clothed Thicke's plank-like charisma.

But the lyrics to that song are dodgier than two-day-old sushi.

On the surface they seem flirty, but a closer look at "I know you want it" and talk of taming and educating women, suggests they are from the point of view of someone with one hand on the rohypnol.

Sure, pop stars should be controversial, but they should also be fun.

Cyrus, while being all over the place on the live stage, is primarily about enjoyment.

Thicke should grow up.

A brief history of twerk

She has made the term big enough so your parents are aware of it, but Miley Cyrus is far from the first to twerk.

There's no definite answer to where the term came from. Some suggest it originated in the West Indies as a combination of the words "twitch" and "jerk". Others believe it to be an amalgam of "twitch" and "work", or a contraction of "to work" - as in put that butt to work. 1993

The term is associated with a hip-hop sub-genre - bounce - that springs up in New Orleans. It is mentioned in DJ Jubilee's (no, we haven't heard of him either) Stop Pause (Do the Jubilee All). The term grazes the mainstream on rapper Bubba Sparxxx's (he was a big deal back then) debut album with a track called Twerk A Little. 2003

- Twerking makes it into Urban Dictionary, the web-based depository for slang and euphemisms worldwide. The action is defined as: "To work one's body, as in dancing, especially the rear end". 2005

- Beyonce takes the term mainstream in the song Check On It. She sings: "Dip it, pop it, twerk it, stop it, check on me tonight." (2006)

- Justin Timberlake gets in on the trend with a line in his hit SexyBack: "Let me see what ya twerkin' with." (2009)

- Three teens calling themselves The Twerk Team upload videos of themselves twerking to rap tracks. Some of the videos garner hits in the low millions and the team has even been namechecked by some rap acts. (2013)

- In May, 33 students from Scripps Ranch High School, San Diego, were suspended after they used school video equipment to film themselves twerking during school hours and uploaded the clip to YouTube.

- Miley Cyrus was filmed twerking at a concert in June. The video goes viral.

- Jay Z gives Cyrus some credit on his track Somewhereinamerica. He raps: "Cause somewhere in America / Miley Cyrus is still twerkin".

- This weekend, DJ Diplo plans on breaking a world record for twerking by organising a "Great Wall of Twerk" at the New York music festival, Electric Zoo. Diplo, a long time advocate of the dance style, has been calling for videos and Instagram pictures to choose the dancers to be featured at the event today.

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