Hey, were you just dying to hear what some self-obsessed, entitled, gleefully ignorant 20-year-old white woman has to say about the race, class, and gender implications of Miley Cyrus's extremely problematic VMA performance? Well, great news! MILEY CYRUS HAS RELEASED A STATEMENT. [Rimshot.] [Throws self into the sea.]
As expected, Miley's statement is a profoundly nuanced, heartfelt apology, stripped of all posturing and pretense, expressing full accountability and a commitment to introspection about cultural appropriation, the systemic objectification of women of color, and the social responsibility concomitant with owning one's privilege. Oops, wait, my bad, I spelled "SELF-ABSORBED GARBAGE RAMBLINGS OF A DODO" wrong.
The gist: You guys are just over-thinking this shit. Instead, you should put exactly the same amount of thought into it that Miley did. Which was fucking zero. Obviously.
Take it away, o fell tongue-goblin!
I don’t pay attention to the negative because I’ve seen this play out so many times; how many times have we seen this play out in pop music? You know now. You know what's happened. Madonna’s done it, Britney’s done it. Every VMA performance. Anyone that performs, that’s what you’re looking for, you’re wanting to make history. Me and Robin, the whole time, said, “You know we’re about to make history right now?” What's amazing is, I think, now we're three days later they're still talking about it. They’re over thinking it. You’re thinking about it more than I thought about it when I did it. Like, I didn't even think about it, 'cause that's just me.
QEWL PO1NT$, MILEY! So glad you finally weighed in to let us know that you and Robin Thicke decided in advance to "make history" with that utterly inept racist shit-show, and that anyone bothering to think critically about it is just a "negative" dumbass rube who fell for your "plan" to barf all of your unconsidered whims and nonexistent showmanship chops all over national television and call it a "performance." (Or, wait, by "make history" do you mean you were literally trying to imitate history? Because in that case, kudos! You are literally the Mt. Vernon of half-baked pop stars in off-brand Taz bustiers.) The entitlement. I can't even.
Just to be crystal clear, here are the things about Miley's performance about which I give no shits: 1) The smallness of her underpants. 2) The sluttiness of her slut-holes. 3) Whether or not 20-year-old "children" "should" be "allowed" to do butt stuff on TV. 4) Butt stuff in general. 5) The tongue thing. 6) Any crusty grandpa-feelings about how all pop music is garbage because Ricky Nelson didn't have Auto-Tune or whatever. 7) Whether or not some elfin dum-dum thinks that Miley's butt is the wellspring from whence all the world's sexy intercourse floweth.
But here are the aspects of her performance that do warrant discussion: literally everything else.
Miley Cyrus is young. She is high on fame and chemicals and just a month ago spoke openly about how she's "messed up" and "has issues":
I’m messed up. I have so many fucking issues. I am so fucked up – everyone does dumb stuff when they are messed up. I don’t have a normal life. I take a hiatus every now and again but I’m not good at that.
All I do is work, so I eat to live and to keep going. People are impressed with me because I can sleep for just 45 minutes – I’m used to it. I suppose I am a workhorse. I love being in the studio and when I take vacation I get so bored. I think of work as something I have to do. I’ve made a record so I have to promote it so I have to work to get it done – and then pass out. Because I work so much, I’m always on the road so I eat healthily. I have to give my body what it needs to keep going and if you don’t then you will crash and burn. I love soda, but I haven’t had one since I’ve been here in the UK. If I have a Coke I’m going to be ‘Aaargh!’ and in an hour I’ll crash. I don’t get to work out. I do yoga and 30 push-ups every day and try to get my mind right.”
Miley has problems, but it's not like people are just magically predisposed to yell at her. People are yelling at her because she keeps doing shitty things. That is a problem with a solution, and the solution is firmly on Miley's end.
What people like Miley (and the rest of the "I'm Sorry if You Were Offended" brigade) don't seem to grasp is that one quick, sincere, "Huh, I really never thought about it like that, sorry! I will proceed to educate myself now!" can go a really, really long way. Nobody's asking Miley Fucking Cyrus to solve racism. But people are asking her to think about it, to place her actions in a broader historical context, and to consider the ways that her movement through the world impacts other human beings. Also, to stop presuming that she, Miley Cyrus, somehow has a firmer grasp on what constitutes racial insensitivity than people who are actual victims of racism. That's all. You don't have to be perfect, but you could at least try.
Or, you could keep going with this "la la la I can't hear you" defensiveness until somebody finally calls Super Nanny. To be fair, that would be an amazing episode.
Image via Getty.