Except in duration, Cyrus and Thicke go beyond anything shown in the Ndombolo video, which isn't live, isn't in real time, and doesn't simulate ultimate sex acts.)
Gibb is right: "cultural baggage." At a Roman bacchanale, people would have been disappointed, not offended. But simulating sex on live TV, with all those little nuances, is culturally taboo *all over the freaking world.* Think that fact "restrains artists"? Tough. It's still a fact. Like their millionaire "handlers," right up to the lords of MTV, the performers were *intentionally* giving the finger to a *worldwide* audience, including parents expecting a show rated for 14-year-olds. And for the Benjamins, baby, the Benjamins! The Benjamins that they're counting on the dumbest audience members to shoot their way, stat!
Except for the novel use of the football-fetish foam finger, I don't see any "art" there. It's people pretending to screw in public without falling off the stage. And in your face, as the saying goes, while the live audience cheers.
Is it wrong to be creeped out that Cyrus's parents(unlike, for example, Robin Thicke's mom) were among those cheering? (Billy Ray, a Christian fundamentalist, called his daughter's performance a "blessing," which must mean, "Her God-given energy and lack of taste and talent will make her famous and possibly super-rich!" I guess he didn't notice her cute little "devil horns.")
The act didn't showcase song or dance. It was designed to say, "We can and will do any goddamn legal thing we want in public for cash because we're already rich celebs. And you'll beg us for more!"
BTW, have no prominent feminists observed that the Thicke & Cyrus act was unarguably the most blatant and self-indulgent mass-media degradation of women into pure male sex fantasy in the history of television? (On the other hand, "The Benjamins! The Benjamins!")