What If Miley Were on Our Side?
It's a Fucked-up Time to Be Alive
Every once in a while there’s a perfect storm of subcultural affects and pop culture icons. Like when Rihanna asked the question that was on all our minds: “Who’s gonna run this town?” Or like the time the stars aligned and we found ourselves briefly and beautifully on the same page as Kesha when she rattled off the itinerary of an ideal evening: “Tonight we’re going hard, just like the world is ours, we’re tearing it apart.”
In March, W Magazine published Ronan (who?!) Farrow’s interview with Miley Cyrus and it blew my fucking mind. At first I asked myself: are we not bored of her? Is her style at all meaningful? Is she setting trends? Since when? Never has Miley ever done for me lyrically what others did, but something about this interview made me wonder: what if Miley were on our side?
I couldn’t help salivating at the potential of what gold I would uncover in that heavy, hella-glossed pile of paper. But then we also had two food-stamped Red Baron pizzas and some corn dogs in the oven so maybe it was Miley, but it could also have been the snacks tugging at my appetite.
“It doesn't even look like her,” a friend cooed as he passed me the magazine to free up his hands to roll a joint. Miley, all bedroom-eye-made-up, leeloo-dallas-hairstyled and wearing like a billion goddamn Sterling silver bracelets, clutched a pillow to her body barely covering her a naked hip and dreamcatcher rib tat.
Peeling through the ads, I groaned at this season’s cuts and colors, lamented wedges, deigned to let So-and-So designer be the arbiter of styles I'd already been wearing. Typical fashion mag experience. And after thoughtfully moving my orange Jarritos from the freezer to fridge, I turned the page to reveal the interview: My Oh Miley!
I launched into a dramatic reading. The cast of characters sounded like a combination of drunk girls and every Ashley I've ever met. Even in my artful slurs I couldn’t contain the thrill I felt reading about who I would come to regard as Our Queen, Miley Cyrus.
I’d like to clarify something. I’m very critical of white girls. Those youthful beauties, embodiments of the things we all want to have and/or be and/or be rid of. The jeune fille who is simultaneously complicit and ignorant, clever and stupid, dangerous and blithe, rich and poor. You know exactly what I mean, the thing you and I have been tricked into aspiring to keep, conquer, or epitomize. They literally have it all including no reason to stop. They’ve spun their oppression to generate massive rewards and assimilation is always in style.
So, OK, Miley is that, but make no mistake! The fact that she personifies the white girl is only remarkable because Miley hates everything. And everyone.
Where Ri and Kesha prevailed sonically, they disappointed stylistically. Failing to capitalize on antagonism, their predictable imagery got clean or just dirty enough. Yawn. Meanwhile, from the house of Cyrus comes this brilliant critique of surveillance society: “I think with, like, Instagram, Twitter, whatever, everyone is a paparazzi now. How scary is that? Like, you’re never safe.”
Her experience of social estrangement via social enmeshment leaves her not depressed, but proudly captive:
“I never leave the house. Why go to a movie? I’ve got a huge-ass TV. We’ve got a chef here that can make you great food. We don’t need to leave. I would just rather be here where I'm completely locked in.”
Above and beyond reproach, she’s critical of the limitations of normative social constructs: “I hate sitting down for dinner! You don’t have to do that to me! You don’t have to take me on trips! I literally just want to chill here!”
Pizza’s done. I pause the reading, absorbing preservatives and the significance of the interview so far. My mind wanders.
I want to mail her the Unabomber Manifesto. I want to inspire her to drive her Maserati off a cliff. I want her to get stoked on the same things that make me hate politics, society, normativity. I want her to open up her mansion to us as a commune as we Patty Hearst the shit out of her, sharing the wealth that comes with it.
Now, I don’t believe Miley Cyrus could deliver us from anything (as if there were anything from which we could possibly be delivered at this post-tipping point of our beloved, crumbling society). I'm simply suggesting that she’s a fucking anti-social linchpin. This bitch grew up on a 500 acre farm in Tennessee (I didn't look into whether the land is a former plantation, but really, I don’t need to because obviously. Obviously.), is the goddaughter of Dolly Parton, and made Disney a billion dollars in five years. She has no responsibility to anything or anybody because with or without popularity, she will be rich for eternity. Her level of access to wealth and power is so off the charts that even she understands that her life is exceptional to the point of being negligible and I couldn’t agree more with her absolute nonchalance: “You know, I’ve made my money. If no one buys my album, cool. It’s fine. I’ve got a house, and I’ve got dogs that I love. I don’t need anything else.”
What better node of potentiality for our dreams to circulate around than the lives of heiresses of privilege like Miley? One could easily apply Whatever-philosophy to her. The Miley Cyrus monolith is Lacanian, Foucauldian, Bataillean. She’s everything we could want in a vehicle of futility!
… loves being naked: “...I like wearing no clothes so much and I'm always naked.”
… hates kids: “I don’t love kids”
… hates gender constructs: "Fuck that. You don’t have to wear makeup.”
… hates haters: “Anyone that hates on you is always below you, because they’re just jealous of what you have.”
… hates politics: “The news kind of gives me a little bit of anxiety so I'm less political.”
… hates men: “Guys watch too much porn,”
… hates work and boredom : “Nothing too heavy, nothing boring.”
… and loves weed: “I love weed, I just love getting stoned."
She’s about a heartbeat away from dropping jouissance in her next interview.
Before Miley, I had failed to consider the significance of the young-girl as an incredibly viable and alarmingly malleable advocate of anti-social confrontation. But of course! Why wouldn’t someone who benefits from every systemic inequity be bored as hell and therefore the perfect vector of conflict against all those systems? The archetype of the young-girl is as dangerous as it is maddening but as of yet it’s an untapped market. What would happen if obnoxious white girls got a little more angry, a little less attached to identity and just slightly invested in propelling negation? What would Miley do if she were robbed of her rationale to play the game? It’s really the perfect thought crime.
I finished reading the article that day with those friends and that pizza, but it wouldn't be the last time that I entertained a crowd with this devotional. It seems too important and too surreal to overlook. I have a lil’ dream that instead of another wrecking ball video, she could graduate to a black-clad phase of trouble-making and sharing a deeper hatred for the things that keep her from being able to chill. She's a sponge soaked in negativism.
When we talk about the crumble, the spectacle, the ennui, we may as well be preaching the gospel of Miley fucking Cyrus. May her status, emptiness, and lukewarmth engulf us all. Young-girls run the world.