Yo. Miley. It’s me. AD. I know your hell busy with your upcoming SNL gig and all, and if you can’t tweet your response to this til sometime next week, I’ll totally understand. But something has been nagging me, all day. And I hate to say it, little darlin’, but it’s you.
It sux because, until I woke up to the latest Miley Cyrus Shitstorm™ (otherwise known as Miley vs Sinead™), I have defended you vehemently on a multitude of social media platforms, during all the previous ones. Sure, I thought your VMA awards thing was kinda tacky, and your performance profoundly unsexy. But you know, I’m basically old – I’m one of those 30-something fags who gets upset about Lady Gaga re-selling Madonna to teenagers (yeah, I know – but c’mon, she does). Still, while my comrades this time hissed about how much more transgressive – and, let’s not forget, artistic – the Sex Book was in comparison to your vaguely manic tongue routine and foam finger rubbish, I stood back and decided not to join them in this crucifixion of yet another young contemporary pop diva who isn’t half of what Madge used to be.
I did that because I remember being a teenager, and I remember what the adults were saying about Madonna. They were saying to my generation pretty much what my generation are saying to yours now. We were told that Madonna wasn’t really an artist, but just a slut who had to use her body to move her shitty product – and that we didn’t know what real art was, because we were too young and caught on the wrong end of the incremental cultural decline of western civilisation or whatever. I told those people to go fuck themselves. And of course, it made me love Madonna even more, because it meant that she, like me, was just a misunderstood outcast – and if teenage pop obsession isn’t about vicarious projection, then what the fuck is it? Miley, your fans love you more for every bullet you take from those of my generation who forget they were once no different to yours. And in all the firing of all those bullets, I chose not to forget those similarities. Much to the horror of many of my wanky intellectual friends, I became a Miley Defender.
As part of this defending, I also took great issue with the usual double standard of slut-shaming versus stud-crowning, and I was quite pleased to read your Rolling Stone interview where you noted the difference in reception to your bent over body in comparison to that of Robin Thicke, thrusting his from behind as he sang his horrid song about pulling women’s hair while he fucks the shit out of them. Even Robin’s mother, in an interview I’m sure Freud would’ve had a field day with, came out to defend her son, the supposed angel, yet crucify you, The Slut. Vomit.
Okay, so then you put out your Wrecking Ball video. I confess it was at this point that I found it a little more challenging to be a Miley Defender; primarily because I know way too much about Terry Richardson – the self-declared “pervert” who has a long history of helping the careers of young models who’ll suck his flaccid (but apparently quite large) cock, and the man whose gaze you unwisely chose to create your supposed “art”. It would have been art if maybe you had only the Sinead-inspired close-ups, or even alongside you swinging naked on the wrecking ball. But the licking the sledge hammer thing? Yeah. That’s not really art, darling, c’mon. That’s sleaze. And okay, I do recall Madonna sucking off a hand puppet – but that was for a song about being a sado-masochistic dominatrix, while yours is an emotional ballad about heart-ache. “I’m sad, I screwed this relationship up, I’ll never forget you, and hey, watch me give this hardware a blow job”? You can tell us it’s some sort of emotional metaphor all you like, but really, it’s just pop culture shock porn – and you’re doing some seriously good molly if you’ve convinced yourself otherwise.
And still. You know what I did? I remembered one day when I was sitting in my art class, at sixteen years of age, drawing this image from Madonna’s Sex book. My art teacher, doing his judgemental rounds of the classroom, finally arrived at my desk. He was not impressed.
“That’s pornography,” he damned.
“No, it’s not,” I sighed, “it’s art.”
“Oh, really?” he scoffed. “And what is this art saying?”
“It’s an existential metaphor for love for the self – a defiance of traditional porn, and a challenging of the patriarch who want a woman’s sexuality to be defined by needing men to pleasure them – which this image renounces by Madonna giving herself her own sexual pleasure with her own reflection. This is a threatening and provocative work on a multitude of layers. And you’re, like, 40-something and don’t get it.”
“I’m 30-something,” he assured me.
“Okay, well, whatever”, I rolled my eyes. “You’re a 30-something art teacher who doesn’t get art because of the puritanical conditioning of his religion. But this is how I choose to express myself, and you can’t stop me. I will not be oppressed.”
I returned from this memory and wondered if there was a sixteen year old Miley fan out there who was explaining to a square as fuck 30-something that in giving a blow job to a sledge hammer, Miley was painting a searing portrait of her counter-intuitive intertwining of romantic and sexual yearning with her ultimate will to destroy. I should add that I think that’s a pretty good one, and if you ever need a pseudo-intellectual justification of your pop porn, feel free to use it. But anyway, the point is I forgave you for giving that sledge hammer a blow job. Go on. Be young, and fool yourself that your shock tactics have some other meaning than the thrill and attention of pissing people off.
But today, everything changed.
Granted, when I first saw Sinead’s open letter popping up on my news feed, I had no trouble in balancing the fact that every point she made was valid, but that she was still missing the co-existing point everyone over the age of thirty seemed to be missing – the point of how ultimately stupid it is to expect to make even the slightest bit of impact with such an argument – either on you or your fans – and that, I don’t know, maybe that’s okay, and Sinead and the others, as I chose to do, should just accept what’s kinda off about elements of your success and let the Miley Fiasco™ play out. I mean, what did she honestly think you would do? Sit there at your computer, overcome with an epiphany that would you lead you to repent and, as she suggested, sack the Yes Men who are currently making you filthy rich (and themselves even richer) because, goddammit, you were going to take control and save your body for the man who loves you?! I mean, hello, LOLZ!
But neither was I anticipating what you did do. Miley Cyrus, today, you blew it. I mean, really. I know you’re the biggest popstar in the world, right now. I understand how the narcissism you’ve been raised on, as a child star of star parents, has culminated in something downright terrifying but probably inevitable. I’d already read yesterday about how you said God had put you on this Earth with a plan, and that the plan was unfolding, and you were now where your destiny had intended and all – and aside from being thoroughly vulgar, that’s actually, somewhat ironically, pretty fucking insane – and I did think, “Oh, dear. Here we go.”
But ridiculing an industry veteran and older woman’s mental health by posting her darkest moment and spitting at it – along with a double whammy punch at another poor girl who recently set fire to a driveway and is currently instituitonalised? I’m sorry, but the forgiveness thing about the sledge hammer is off the table. It’s not that you’re a slut. It’s that it turns out you’re a cruel, stupid little bitch who has officially been devoured by her own ego.
Send the message to your little fans that to be defiantly smutty is to be cool, all you like. But to diminish other women’s value on the basis of their mental health is vile. To send your fans the message that mental illness and distress is something to attack another human being on the basis of is utterly insidious. And the irony that you defend yourself against accusations of sexism, but then obliviously perpetrate the sexist and sadistic cry of “look, she’s insane!” is breath-taking. I mean, why is it only women this culture seems to be fascinated with the mental destruction and implosion of? Ever thought about that, darling?
And let’s get this straight: Sinead is right when she notes the irony of how, one day, you will probably be in a similar place. Unlike what many of your detractors are saying, it may not happen any time soon – you might not “burn out” on this high, as such. But whether you can handle the high or not, the point remains – one day, the high will be over. History tells us that’s a difficult process – especially for women (who, yes, are particularly disposable in the male money-machine of pop culture). Unless you’re Madonna. And I can’t believe it has finally come to this, but so be it…
Miley Cyrus, you are not Madonna.
Good luck with SNL. I’m sure your wrecking ball will continue to swing. But watch out, my dear. While it may be others you currently take down with it, one day, it may swing back to collect you.
Yours with rapidly decreasing faithfulness,