Deeply Disturbed Miley Cyrus' VMA Performance Was "Disgusting and Embarrassing," So Says Uptight MSNBC News Lady
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Deeply Disturbed Miley Cyrus' VMA Performance Was "Disgusting and Embarrassing," So Says Uptight MSNBC News Lady

By Agent Bedhead | Pajiba Love | August 26, 2013 | Comments ()


Last night brought us the MTV VMA awards, and we’ll discuss it … oh … a few times in this column. First though, here’s a dead-on op-ed on why the Video Music Awards is actually a pretty perfect awards show. (Grantland)

Lamar Odom, husband to Khloe Kardashian and basketball player for the Los Angeles Clippers, is allegedly addicted to crack cocaine. This could just be a smear attempt from the Kardashian Klan, which is not pleased with his (also alleged) marital infidelities, but if true, this crack news does not bode well for a professional athlete. (TMZ)

Lady Gaga’s opening turn onstage at the VMAs was actually pretty tame and involved a ton of mid-song costume changes that ended with a shell-bikini, which arrived complete with a butt-flashing thong. (Us Weekly)

Tom Cruise was conspicuously missing from this photo of Scientology’s 44th anniversary gala at the Celebrity Centre. Don’t worry, he was probably just in an auditing session somewhere or holding auditions for his next wife. Tom can’t quit the cult, or they’d cut off his lift supply. DListed)

plvmamiley1.jpgEveryone is talking about Miley Cyrus’ vinyl wedgie at the VMAs last night. Is she truly “disturbed,” though? Or is she just absolutely desperate for attention and hoping that people will stand up for her so as not to look like slut shamers? (WG)

Katy Perry tried to “Roar” on the VMA red carpet last night with a rainbow grill. Oh, girl. (Celebitchy)

Well, Pirates of the Caribbean 5 finally has a title, which means (I guess) that Johnny Depp is ready to get back to movies that actually spin a profit. (Film Drunk)

The trailer for The Book Thief decided that Death wasn’t such an adaptable narrator after all. Too bad. (The Mary Sue)

Good news for Hulk fans. Your green guy will smash in the near future, and Mark Ruffalo will probably still be playing Bruce Banner. (Slashfilm)

If you liked The World’s End, then chances are the you’ll probably enjoy watching these 10 movies too. (Film School Rejects)

Elmore Leonard’s son plans to complete his father’s final book, which includes a prominent appearance from Raylan Givens. This sounds sketchy as hell. As much as I’d love to see another Raylan book, I think Sonny should leave this one alone, don’t you? (Vulture)

Dustin points out Aaron Sorkin’s main strength in writing last night’s episode of “The Newsroom.” That is, growing up in a family full of lawyers helps one properly line up the evidence. (WG)

Likewise, if you’re still watching “Dexter” then STOP IT. You’re wasting your time. This recap is all you need to validate your disappointment in the Brain Surgeon Killer reveal. (Uproxx)

Who says piracy doesn’t hurt anyone? This new Victorian-dueling game sold 144 copies but was ripped off 50,000 times. Disgusting. (Kotaku)

I don’t really know who Erin Wasson is, but her ass went to the VMAs last night. (Go Fug Yourself)

It’s just about lunch time, so perhaps you’d be interested in learning about where the Thousand Island salad dressing got its name. Let’s just go to lunch, y’all. (Mental Floss)

Agent Bedhead lives in Tulsa. She & her little black heart can be found at

How the Weekend Demonstrated Everything We Love About Hollywood And Everything Disappointing About Its Audiences | Mandy Patinkin Is Even More Intense, Heartbreaking and Self-Aware Than We Knew

Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • John W

    The fact that you can't mention Lamaar Odom without also mentioning the K Klan, you'd think they would be buying him crack by the truck loads.

  • ,

    "Everyone is talking"

    Speak for yourself.

  • All I can say about this Miley broohaha is a simple "Oh, honey, no. "

    The end.

  • Salieri2

    I want to ask about Miley Cyrus's tongue thing, because I am middle-aged and out of touch. Why does she look like a golden retriever all the time? This is a thing? Do other people do it or is it just her? The majority of Miley Cyrus pics I've floated across the last couple of days are also showing the full Gene Simmons.

    I posted elsewhere how impressed I am that she can a) physically do that to begin with and b) do it while apparently smiling/not looking snakey. Because yay for her, but...what, exactly?

  • opiejuankenopie


    I wanted to say she looked retarded, in the clinical sense. But that seemed way too harsh. Golden retriever is perfect.

  • Like you, I used to be with it, but then they changed what 'it' was and what I was with was no longer 'it' and what was 'it' seemed scary and weird.

  • Kate at June

    Last season of Dexter wasn't bad and the finale was actually really good. If they had ended it there, with Debra killing La Guerta in the shipping container, having been turned into someone else by the influence of her brother's darkness and kind of bringing the series full circle--that would have been a perfect, if depressing finale.

    I watched a couple episodes this season and regretted it. For my sanity, Dexter ended this season in Debra's one moment of thinking clearly that I cheered on, when she tried to murder/suicide herself and Dexter by driving off of a bridge. In my head, they drowned. Thats how it ended.

  • denesteak

    omg the book thief!!!!

  • denesteak

    wait i just read through all the comments. C'mon guys, let's talk about the book thief instead of Miley! The trailer just made me realize that I need to reread the book (if my tear ducts can handle it) bc I've forgotten some parts of it. Also, I read it for Cannonball Read's book club! (I <3 cannonball read, even though this year I've been pretty bad at keeping up with reviews. Terrible. Sorry, mswas.)

  • calliope1975

    For what it's worth, the author of The Book Thief has stated that Death is in the movie. Just not the trailer.

    And Miley? Eh, I don't care enough to clutch my pearls. If she starts hurting herself/others, than I'll care but not about a lame awards show performance.

  • Berry

    Doesn't anyone want to get their book-lover rage on with me for that Book Thief trailer? Not only because they decided to ditch Death (surely a huge mistake) but because of the stupid, stupid, STUPID fake German accents from people speaking English. I thought we had agreed, as people, in 2013, not to do that anymore. I swear there was a meeting and everything.

    Anyone? No? Well, okay then. I'll probably still see it. The book was a weird experience for me: kind of an amazing reading experience on the first go, but when you put some distance between it and yourself, you start realizing that maybe it was actually a bit maudlin and tear-jerky in a curiously safe way.

  • L.O.V.E.

    I was totally offended by the performance. I had to turn the music all the way down and I was still barely able to finish. Barely.

  • Slash


  • L.O.V.E.

    Whatever. I get all my dance routines from 1980s era American Bandstand dance contests

  • bleujayone

    I'll try to keep this somewhat brief... at least by my standards.

    We all already knew Billy Ray's and Alan's crotchfruit are talentless hacks. That's not exactly covering new ground. And we also know that when you're in the spotlight and you want to stay in it and you have no real talent, you'll often resort to doing damn near anything asked of you to stay in it- even if it means being a spectacle with little dignity. Miss Cyrus didn't do anything last night we haven't already seen her participate in in some fashion or other. The only real problem is that people are acting as though she has come up with this all by her lonesome and somehow went mustang on stage without anyone's permission. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Anyone who acts surprised over what was done is either delusional, just arrived from
    Mars or just lying to themselves. Look at her entire career. There's very little that probably hasn't been engineered by someone else higher in authority. It's also very likely the word "no" has been a response she's given. Last night was no exception. They have rehearsals. They have costume approvals. They even have writers to come up with spontaneous banter. She already had the whole trailer-park twerking angle going on, young Master Thicke was already eating people's brains out with his audible ear cancer, so naturally theirs was a joining made in Reese's hell. These two are little more than dancing monkeys who willing hand over their free will in return for attention of any type and maybe a few shekels- courtesy of you.

    You want to be irritated with someone actually responsible? Aim your ire towards those in charge of producing this crapola. Demand better of your entertainment, or at the very least stop giving any attention to something like this.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Far be it from me to question an individual's pantomimed auto-erotic technique, but should not the foam finger be facing the other way for maximum faux-stimulation?

    (My stays just tightened themselves in a shocked huff.)

  • Crystal O.

    OK, I'm embarrassed to admit that I'm delurking for this, but here it goes:

    First of all, I am by no means a "slut-shamer." I can appreciate sluttiness, when done correctly (Madonna, Christina, Britney). Beyonce seldom ever wears pants and you can always count on her to give a jaw-dropping performance. Gaga had less clothes on by the end of her opening number and it was 100 times better than what Miley did. It works, and when done right, it's not slutty, it's actually sexy (believe me, I have extensively studied the multitude of slutty VMA and Grammy performances over the past 2 decades.)

    This was just plain terrible. She tried so damn hard. But she couldn't sing, dance, or twerk at all. The outfit was ill-fitting. There was no real choreography. It was a complete mess. She's 20 years old, she can dance around in a bikini for all I care, but if she doesn't have the talent to back it up, and resorts to this, then it's just going to be embarrassing, which it was.

  • Mrs. Julien


  • Sara_Tonin00

    Here's the question: is she *trying* to be sexy? Or is she trying - and succeeding - at being freaky, freakier even than Gaga?

    I have no grasp on how self-aware this performance may be. The hair and shoes say to me that's not going for straight up sexy.

    And additionally - ok, she can't sing - but is the problem that people think she was going for sexy and failing? Is it a problem that most people just didn't think she was sexy?

    AGH. Somebody tell me what prescription medication I can take to cure devil's advocate.

  • Crystal O.

    I hadn't even entertained the idea of it all being purposely freaky/disturbing, which means that it wouldn't matter if she failed at "sexy." I just don't think she's evil genius enough to come up with that. Or is she?

  • opiejuankenopie

    No. She isn't. Her 'slanty eyed' picture with her friends wasn't a scathing indictment of racism. She's an idiot begging for attention. And it's working.

  • lowercase_ryan

    I honestly don't know why this is pissing me off so much, I sincerely don't even like Miley Cyrus. I know one of her songs and I owe that to Pitch Perfect. But the amount of bad press she's getting for this is fucking ridiculous. Yes I get it, she's fucking tacky, and hyper-sexed "in an attempt to shed her disney image" (nobody has thought of her as Hannah Montanah for years people), she tries too hard, she can't fucking twerk, and even Michael Jordan thinks she should put the tongue away, I FUCKING GET IT!

    But the outrage over her performance last night blows my mind. Someone who isn't that talented got on stage at an MTV event and made an ass of themselves?? CLUTCH THOSE FUCKING PEARLS AND JUDGE THE SHIT OUT OF THAT!!!

    Because while she was making an ass of herself, you know what she wasn't doing?? Going to rehab, getting pulled over for drunk driving, having her parents granted a conservatorship because she can't handle life, lighting fires in people's driveways, getting arrested, or acting like Justin Bieber even for a fucking second!

    My facebook feed is full of people bitching about her, going so far as to call her a skank. That is fucking unacceptable. Also unacceptable? Saying you're concerned for her of that she's deeply disturbed. She's not disturbed, she's a unexceptional young adult doing her job, even if she did it badly last night.


  • NateMan

    It's about talent. My wife watches So You Think You Can Dance every week. Looooots of white dancers with black choreographers often dancing in traditionally 'black' ways. And no one (or very few) has a problem with it, because they're really good. Cyrus isn't, so some people feel it's a good place to direct their ire.

  • Ruthie O

    Well, also, the performances on SYTYCD (did I get that right?) are isolated, three-minute shows. For the past year, Miley has created a whole persona, both on stage and off stage, that embodies the "ratchet" image. And when confronted about it, she comes off as being dismissive and insensitive... again. I don't think it's as simple as a white girl dancing with 'black' moves.

    Also, I know WAY too much about Miley Cyrus considering I know all of two songs of hers. Jeez. I need to get off the internet.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    The comments on the article about pirating that game are just mind-blowingly oblivious & entitled. The gamers whining about how difficult it is to pay for a game? The gamers claiming that it's not a lost sale because they wouldn't have paid for it? Pretty staggering.

    Hopefully the developers will find a way to register usernames with paid-for versions of the game, and block the piraters (ironic that it's a swashbuckling game?). Who can then figure out if they really will or will not pay a mere $3 for it.

  • DominaNefret

    I'm 28 and I pay for all of the things that I enjoy. I buy all of my music, I pay for cable TV as well as Amazon Prime and Netflix, I pay to see movies I want to see, I pay for a subscription to the Washington Post, I buy books.

    Apparently, this makes me REALLY WEIRD.

    I can't say I have never pirated, but when I became an adult and started really working for a living, I realized that I didn't want to work for free and therefor the people I was pirating from probably didn't either. So I stopped, and haven't since.

    It is always amazing to me how many people my age still don't pay for anything.

  • TCH

    Game prices have been going up, though that probably has more to do with development costs. My concern would be with Day one DLC and DLC abuse. That is were things could get ridiculous.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    But price isn't the issue on this - it's a $5 game. It's on sale for $3. If you can afford the device to play it on, you can afford the game.

  • George Tarleton

    No joke. If you can't afford $3 to buy a game, then you need to stop what you're doing and go get a freaking job.

  • TCH

    Ok I just actually read the article. I do not think this is a case of lazy gamers not wanting to pay for IP. The article singles out Russia and China. Which both happen to have issues with IP theft and or respect.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Really - I know the article mentions Russia & China, but do you think that's most of the commenters on the board? Example - one commenter calling himself a "noble pirate" because he while he does download many things illegally, he bought SOME books and music? This is a thing?! People think this? "I don't steal everything I enjoy/want, so I'm 'noble.'"?

  • TCH

    No but, it would not surprise me if a large amount of the pirating came from those areas. Personally I think it i ridiculous to pirate given such services as Steam.

  • disqus_N4EigheiZo

    Could the trailer for The Book Thief not want to spoil something for the people who haven't read the book, or do we not give marketing people any credit anymore?

    I mean, trailers are generally pretty terrible.

  • The best/worst part about all this? No one would care if a hot, non-awkward "artist" did the exact same routine.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I think Miley Cyrus is doing a brave and pointed thing - she is taking female sexuality so far to the extreme, all the supposedly desirable traits to men: skintight outfits, lascivious licking, grinding - *so far* to the extreme that they become unattractive and highlight the ridiculousness of society's determination of what is sexy.

    She just isn't aware that she's doing it.

  • Classic

    I just realized you were sarcastic (I hope).

    She is just gross.

    And I call foul on people for saying society is slut shaming Miley Cyrus.

    I dislike her a lot but not because of her skimpy outfits (who cares, you got it flaunt it) I think the problem is she looks like a coked up squirrel.

  • TCH

    I was going to say either that or she has a clueless wardrobe department.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    (I also like that she picks up her dance props from Whose Line Is It Anyway?)

  • Ian Fay

    Re: Elmore Leonard.

    I just picked up The Hot Kid, and if you're a Raylan/Justified fan, you'll love it.

    The protagonist is basically Raylan in Prohibition-era Oklahoma. It's pretty great.

  • bonnie

    The person I am most disgusted by is Robin Thicke. He should have known better. Miley is definitely desperate, and judging by the "off" facial expressions, she might even be heading in an Amanda Bynes-like direction. I am getting concerned for her.

  • pthalio

    I dunno...he looked... uncomfortable

  • PerpetualIntern

    I'm not going to lie, I keep getting Miley and Amanda mixed up.

  • The entire time I was watching her performance, I couldn't believe how drugged out she looked. She was behind, disconnected, erratic.

  • TheAggroCraig

    I'd rather talk about Robin Thicke's Beetlejuice suit.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Buzzfeed has got you covered.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    That is amazing. If only that happened.

  • Some Guy

    Lydia is the icing on the cake that is that picture.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I didn't even notice her! Good eye.

  • Finance_Nerd

    I think it looks more like the NFL Referee shirt. In fact, they should make his outfit the formal wear for the Super Bowl. Ya know, class it up a little for the big game. BTW - I would greatly appreciate it if someone could Photoshop Miley w/Ed Hochuli

  • Three_nineteen

    Ed would have called Miley for illegal motion and shut that shit down right away.

  • Either that or 'unnecessary celebration.'

  • Ruthie O

    The Book Thief is one of the best books I've ever read. Period. It's surprising, provoking, powerful, and emotional. It provides a unique perspective into WWII-- how civilian Germans (many of whom didn't support the Nazi agenda) faired in the war. The book blew my mind.

    This shouldn't be a spoiler since it's a book about WWII (which was, you know, pretty damn tragic overall): it's also one of the most heart-wrenching books I've ever read. I just don't know if I can handle the movie.

  • DominaNefret

    It is on the list of books that I started reading and then suddenly a day was gone because I had just read the entire thing. I agree with you completely.

  • Bert_McGurt

    That MSNBC lady is one of the idiots who got completely verbally eviscerated by Russell Brand earlier this year, correct? About how they basically just yap, yap, yap with no thought or substance to the content of their discussions?

  • Sara_Tonin00

    One of the commenters on the uproxx post is *brilliant*:

    This kind of gross display is what happens when you let some dumb blonde assume a prominent role just because her daddy was famous a few decades ago.

    Same thing goes for Miley Cyrus, now that I think about it.

  • Maguita NYC

    "and Mark Ruffalo will probably still be playing Bruce Banner."
    I was really hoping for some sexy good news today.

  • Maguita NYC

    If it were Madonna, Christina, Britney, heck even JLo, no one would be so apalled. People do not realize that a. Miley is all grown-up, and b. She just has no talent whatsoever and her only talent is to shake it... Add the Gene-Simmons tongue attempt, and you got yourself an annoying talentless brat.

  • Ruthie O

    I don't care about her shaking it or sexing her image up. I understand the pressure put onto young women to do so, especially in pop music. However, there have been some really interesting and nuanced critiques about her new "ratchet" persona. Like many white, privileged kids before her, Cyrus borrows trends from marginalized cultures to "rebel" against her squeaky clean image and tends to use people of color as props in her performances (perhaps in an attempt to validate her street cred?).

    So, yeah. I am also bored of folks criticizing her attempts at sexynopants dancing. But there's some interesting stuff floating around about race, appropriation, culture and privilege that's worth looking into.

  • Maguita NYC

    I love your comment Routhie, however, I do not agree with the appropriation that most are criticizing her for. I for one am always for fusion: You get better food, better artists, better performances, and even better looking babies :)

    It is how anything art evolves, borrowing, adding your brand to it, and giving it a new twist. Every artist had borrowed from past genius, and every past genius, was just another artist paying respect to past glory. Evolution in arts is important, but as in everything, too much try is tacky. Takes away the potential beauty from merging worlds, and becomes nothing but farce.

    Which in my opinion was the situation yesterday.

  • Ruthie O

    Agreed. I, for one, am a huge fan of the artistic evolution that can occur via cultural meshing. When Blondie starts rapping in "Rapture"? I die. Every time. I'm also a fan of Macklemore, who was honored last night. I appreciate how he fuses hipster culture with hip-hop culture. He does so with a deep respect and knowledge of hip-hop: the music, the culture, and the history. He also has lyrics acknowledging his white privilege in his songs. So he borrows, and music evolves. He tries really hard to do it right, and that goes a long way.

    Like you said, Miley tries to hard at being a spectacle, not evolving music. And her borrowing is more like fetishizing. It makes me so uncomfortable how she slaps the asses of the black women who perform with her during music videos and performances (I know male performers do the same, and it makes me uncomfortable then too). She's actually got a pretty okay voice on her (someone once pointed me to a video of her signing Jolene, and it was shockingly good). I just hope she reaches a point where she tries to evolve as a musician while also acknowledging the roots of the cultures she experiments with.

    But yeah, most people were just really clutching those pearls for dear life. LET THE PEARLS GO, PEOPLE. Pearls never killed nobody.

  • jspeyton

    Seconded. As someone/African-American woman who grew up around girls/women who twerk and the men/boys who enjoy it, what I find most offensive about this whole Miley Cyrus discussion is that it's being called "twerking." I don't know what that is ('sexynopantsdancing' works), but twerking it is not.

    From my gchat convo with the BF: "a dance motion has to at least be somewhat sexy in orientation before it qualifies as twerking . . . as a lifelong fan jiggly butts this is most upsetting"

  • Yeah, that aspect disturbed me way more than any of the pearl-clutching about the skin show. It is a kind of poverty tourism, since most of the people who live "ratchet" or "ghetto" lifestyles do so because they have no other options. When someone like Miley gets bored of grills and twerking, she can toss her little costumes in the trash and move on to her next playtime activity.

    People want to know what privilege is? Have a nice, long look.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I'm gonna sound superwhite here but can I ask: are grills and twerking, or being ratchet dependent on a lack of "options" rather than a style choice?

    I'm not debating anything re: the all-black dance crew though.

  • Twerking is basically emulating strippers. It is like pole-dancing, but with fewer endorsements.

    Being ratchet is basically the new "ghetto". There is no real difference, just somebody decided to put a new label on it. And stuff like grills are symptomatic of the same mentality: a desire for flashy material goods to emulate and bastardize another lifestyle, rather than investing discretionary (and not-so-discretionary) funds into something more lasting.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    That's all pretty much what I thought, so my question is: how does that come down to a lack of options (how is privilege involved at all) rather than personal taste?

  • By themselves, as a luxury item, grills are indeed a matter of personal taste.

    But they are not in a vacuum, and for far too long, they have been established as a standard in a culture that says "hey, you can't pay your light bill or feed your children, but you can have THIS!" It isn't the item, but the iconography of it. It is viewed as a shortcut to a life very, very few of those who indulge in them will ever achieve. People want to have Miley's money and fame, but the best they can manage is a illogical purchase of something they think will make them LOOK like they are successful.

    The privilege comes in when somebody like Miley can spend $3,000 on a grill, flash it a bunch of times, and then toss it in a drawer when they are done. But the real "ratchet" folks don't have that luxury. They spend that kind of money, there is very little chance they are gonna get it back. It is throwing a quarter of your annual take-home away on absolutely nothing. Unless, of course you either do something illegal or make it big in some form of entertainment, thereby perpetuating the mentality.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Ah, I was just coming back here to rethink my previous comment after reading the Jezebel article Artemis linked to. I am refreshed on the notion of cultural appropriation again. It's a tough one because it swings me between two points on "fairness" (which is a big [idealist] thing for me): that some styles should be off limits to some people, just because they didn't come from that background and/or don't intend for it to be a lifelong choice rather than a phase VS. that, for lack of a better word, oppressed cultures should be costume pieces for affluent members of the "dominant" race/class. I forget the latter sometimes, because, by birth, I'm white middle class. And because I live in NYC, where I can see pretty much any ethnicity co-opting styles from any other given ethnicity. (eh, maybe not a black drag queen in a sari....yet).

    I do get annoyed though, and you can call me out on this if it's appropriate, at the notion that people feel they have to buy unnecessary luxuries. Because that's not limited to one culuture/race/class. That's everyone. I don't own Mahnolos even though Carrie told me I should, because I know it's insane to pay $800 for shoes, especially when that's what I pay for a month's rent.

  • Salieri2

    I swear I read something relevant not that terribly long ago about how frugality, for lack of a better word, is a middle-class value, because it's aspirational. If I remember it right--and probably not--the gist was that saving is rooted in a middle-class sense of upward mobility not modeled in poverty; no one's saving because no one's seen it work for them, so if you get a windfall you put it into a more visual marker of self-worth. You'll never own a house, but you can have sneakers.

    Crap, I wish I could find it, but I've got an internet history like the NSA's, and all I can come up with is a Cracked list about "The 5 Stupidest Habits You Develop Growing Up Poor."

  • Sara_Tonin00

    That's one of those paradoxes that makes sense. It's the flipside of the upper middle class kids who have no drive because they were given everything. "My class is my fate, regardless of what I do."

  • Salieri2

    Another 'Not The Thing I Was Thinking About But Similar' just floated through my feedly feed:

    “One thing that is a big factor in the life of a lot of young people is that when they don’t see themselves being able to achieve things, like a career, having a child is a way to feel successful,” Franks continues. “Family is a really central value, being a parent is really important. That’s a success that’s accessible to people, when—because of racism and the economy—other avenues of success are not accessible to them.”

  • Salieri2

    There's a good discussion of ratchet culture and Miley's appropriation of it over at Racialicious, if you're interested.

    "It is super-easy to borrow from the experiences of others as a way to be 'fun,' or stretch boundaries on what is 'acceptable,' without any acknowledgement of context or framework.

    But being ratchet is only cool when you do it for fun, not if those are valid practices from your lived experiences. We watch shows like Basketball Wives, Real Housewives (of all the cities), and Bad Girls Club where women act ratchet as hell all the time. But they do so in designer clothes and at 5-star restaurants, and this paradox acts as a buffer for the ratchet that is the real reason for the shows’ success."

  • Ruthie O

    I just wanted to say that I think it's fucking AWESOME that you went and did some research about cultural appropriation and came back to flesh out your thoughts. Seriously. It's cool to see someone actually using Internet discourse to reflect on complex matters and solicit other perspectives.

    Like you said, some folks think that accusations of cultural appropriation are people trying to police which races get to do what. It's not that. It's about honoring and respecting marginalized cultures that have been exploited in the past.

    I also was sometimes disgusted by the manic, unchecked spending and materialism on SATC. I am happy with my $15 Reef sandals, thank you very much.

  • NateMan

    Yeeeees... Sort of. Because here's the thing. She didn't appropriate something like Native American headresses. She appropriated a secular dance and fashion accessory. Does she look absurd doing it? Sure. But so what?

    People have been talking about cultural appropriation in music at least since Elvis started making rock music actually rock. They did it again when Kenny Wayne Shepherd took blues by the nutsack and made it his own, and then again when Eminem blew everyone's mind by being one of the finest vocalists and lyricist in hip-hop. But they did it well. And people's problem with Cyrus seems to be A.) That here's this little white girl trying to do the same thing, and B.) She did it badly.

    The woman performs dance music. She's not very good at it, but it's what she does. She doesn't play metal or ska or country, which are about the only 'white' musical career paths in this country.

    I guess my point is that if you want to get rid of cultural appropriation in music, you're going to have to get rid of virtually the entire world of pop. Which, now that I think about it, might not be a terrible thing.

  • There are a number of other differences between your examples and Miley Cyrus though:

    C) Eminem didn't pretend to be part of a culture he was the furthest thing from. He was accepted not just because of his talent, but because he never tried to project a culture onto himself on a lark. He was, for lack of a better term, "real". Elvis was the same. And whether it was Elvis, Eminem or The Rolling Stones, when they did it, they treated the music and culture with at least a modicum of respect. They professed their fandom for all sorts of black artists and didn't pretend that it was a trend or a neat trick they learned. They took the music and made something of their own. Nothing in Miley Cyrus'...ugh...oevre indicates that. She is still putting out the same old crap, and there is no indication it would be any different if she wasn't pretending to be a stripper (that is what twerking is).

    D) Thing is, Miley has done this before. Remember when she was starting out? She had this whole country persona attached to her with the barest of strings, trying to tie into her father's lameass legacy. You would think that, being born and raised in such a culture, she would have more roots in it. but she discarded that with hardly a thought. Now she wants to waltz in and play dress-up with another person's culture. If she can throw away her own culture with such abandon, why the hell would anyone think she is going to treat this with any more respect?

    E) It is worse that a headdress; a headdress represents something respectable and important. Gold teeth and booty-shaking are the complete opposite. And the idea that they are somehow as iconic to another culture as a headdress makes this even worse. Being ghetto or ratchet isn't even a racial thing, it is a social class thing. It just so happens that most people in that strata are minorities. So it's double the clueless privilege, double the fun!

    F) The saddest one: She is doing this to apparently prove her maturity and grasp on her sexuality. It is clear she is lacking in both. Say what you will about your examples, or Lady Gaga or Madonna, but they is no doubt those were grown-ass people. Regardless of the date on her birth certificate, Miley is clearly not.

  • Guest

    I'm not deliberately obtuse here, but if you're not upset that the dance and grill are an appropriation that matters, why are you upset about it? It makes sense to dislike an appropriation over something important - someone wearing a head dress who is unaware of its religious or cultural significance, or a cross or yarmulke - but if it's social class instead of culture, so what? Can people who made a boatload of money no longer sing about poverty, or dress below their status? I can accept it might still be offensive to someone in that social class, but it's not the same thing to me.

    And yes, she's changed genres in the past. Are we not allowed to do that? Don't get me wrong; country or pop, I don't listen to it so maybe it's worse than I'm seeing. I just don't see it.

    And as far as her sexuality goes... Well, here's the thing. She's a 20yr old. She's got the same maturity level as your average gerbil, and about the same grasp on her sexuality. I can't judge her for that, because very few people her age know who they are any better than that.

    And maye it's a manipulative cash grab. But there's nothing new in that.

  • I'm saying the grills and dancing aren't the most lauded or respected parts of the culture, not even within said culture. A person is usually not ghetto or ratchet because they CHOOSE to be. It is because they are born into circumstances that put them there, and they had to deal with it the best they could. that is why I said it was not the same as a headdress. You wear a headdress, it conveys a certain position of power and authority. You wear a yarmulke, it conveys a certain aesthetic and cultural/religious bent. What does twerking convey that is any any way positive or admirable?

    Compare soul food. It is fattening, greasy, made form the garbage parts of animals that the more fortunate didn't want and could afford to throw away. But there were people who made it work, and gained sustenance from it. But it isn't supposed to be an exclusive diet, and it is certainly not the best that that culture can produce. And while it is a symptom of social class difference, it has been so closely associated with certain skin colors that there is no way to judge one without crossing into the other.

    As far "people who made a boatload of money no longer sing about poverty", when has Miley Cyrus ever been in poverty? No really. Tell me. There is a huge amount of difference between someone clawing and scraping themselves out of the poor house and making it, and someone born into wealth and practically handed even more.

    But she isn't changing genres. She never did. She has always been a pop singer. She is just changing the window dressing. Instead of banjo string plucking, she has a drum machine and Autotune (well, more Autotune). There is no difference.

  • NateMan

    Hmm... That was me who posted that, decided not to and hit delete, but it's still there. Feel free to reply or not as you chose. I decided I was too tired to be articulate in the discussion.

  • Maguita NYC

    You edit first (replace comment with period), save, then delete.

  • Britney wore smaller outfits, but she could also dance and put on a show that was entertaining to watch. Miley last night didn't sound or look good. While we are on the subject of "no one would complain if Britney did it", that snake business at the VMAs was only a couple years before her full-on psychological meltdown. Miley is nearing Lori Petty/Sharon Stone levels of dissociated insanity.

  • NateMan

    Or she's a 20yr old woman experimenting. Once again we're judging someone based on their behavior in a party situation, when I promise you half of the people there were at least as drunk\high as she was.

  • Maguita NYC

    She's a performer, and like most, an exhibitionist when on stage. She got up there and expressed her idea of sexy. It did not appeal to the masses, but there is no need to over-exaggerate the spectacle.

    It did not deserve that much attention. At all.

  • opiejuankenopie

    This wasn't a party situation, this was her job. She's a 20 year old woman with a job. Her job is to sing and dance. She is bad at her job.

  • jspeyton

    "her only talent is to shake it" . . .

    I'd have to disagree because she really doesn't shake it all that well either. As I said elsewhere, the problem is that Miley Cyrus really has no sex appeal whatsoever. I had to look up how old she was because her concept of "sexy" appears to be that of a 16 year old's (i.e stick your tongue out a lot and uh . . . shake your butt the way a 5 year old would if you asked them to. Oh, and just so don't forget my crotch I have big finger to remind you!). :I

    Also, despite their racy performances (which I generally have no problem with whatsoever), Madonna is/was an excellent entertainer, Christina can legitimately sing, and JLo and Britney can actually "shake it."

  • ,

    Let me boil it all down to this:

    I wouldn't fuck her with Pookie's dick.

  • simplysarah

    That's what bothers me about her, not her attempts to dance or the skimpy outfit, it's that tongue! Put it away already. She looks like a lizard.

  • kushiro -

    Kevin Spacey agrees with you:

  • TCH

    Swimming with Sharks?

  • kushiro -


  • TCH

    So close, I guess I do not get coffee.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Coffee is for closers only.

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