Cultural Commentator

Miley Cyrus Is Under the Influence and She Doesn’t Even Know It

Cultural Commentator

Miley Cyrus Is Under the Influence and She Doesn’t Even Know It


In her near-perfect critique of Miley Cyrus’ MTV Music Video Awards fiasco, the divisive, libertarian, lesbian, feminist theorist Camille Paglia wrote that “the real scandal” wasn’t the sexual nature of the act (which is nothing new in pop), but, “how atrocious Cyrus’ performance was in artistic terms. She was clumsy, flat-footed and cringingly unsexy, an effect heightened by her manic grin.”

“Sex isn’t just exposed flesh and crude gestures,” Paglia declared. Cyrus’ awkward teddy bear booty down, “signaled the childishness of [her] notion of sexuality, which has become simply a cartoonish gimmick to disguise a lack of professional focus.”

“Unfortunately,”  Paglia continued, “the media spotlight so cheaply won by Cyrus will inevitably spur repeats of her silly stunt, by her and others.”


In her new video for “Wrecking Ball,” Miley Cyrus is, again, all “exposed flesh and crude gestures.” She’s pretty much completely naked. Bare, save for Doc Martens, thrusting a giant wrecking ball. A face full of makeup, fellating a sledgehammer. Compared to the dog in heat (like, weather heat, not ovulating) tongue wagging at the VMAs, Miley’s performance here—as absurdly objectophilic as it is—is actually kinda hot. I think it may have something to do with the slow motion, which transforms her normally spastic thrust into a rhythmic grind.

Still, Miley (to be precise, “Miley” = the pop star package embodied by this 20 yr old nepotist success, not an individual but a product many, many people are responsible for making) continues to demonstrate a cluelessness w/r/t her pop lineage. Like Gaga, who Camille Paglia called out for doing the same, Miley Cyrus is a knock-off artist. She is indebted to so many amazing artists before her but doesn’t show an awareness of her own influences.

“Miley, go back to school!” Paglia screamed, so let’s take her there (the internet is the new school). Here are *some* of Miley’s better-befores…

1. Tank Girl


2. Kathy Acker


3. Big Freedia

4. G.I. Jane


5. Rihanna


6. Sinead O’Connor

7. FKA Twigs (zomg this song & video are so good)

8. Tila Tequila


9. Fiona Duncan


Got more Miley precedents? Tweet them to @fifidunks