Camille Paglia: Miley, Go Back to School

August 28, 2013

“Pop is suffering from the same malady as the art world, which is stuck on the tired old rubric that shock automatically confers value. ” – Paglia

Ideas

“Disgusting!” “Raunchy!” “Desperate!” So went the scathing reviews that poured in after once wholesome Disney star Miley Cyrus’ recent bizarre performance at the MTV Video Music Awards.

Bopping up and down the catwalk in hair-twist devil’s horns and a flesh-colored latex bikini, Cyrus lewdly wagged her tongue, tickled her crotch with a foam finger, shook her buttocks in the air and spanked a 6-ft. 7-in. black burlesque queen.

Most of the media backlash focused on Cyrus’ crass opportunism, which stole the show from Lady Gaga, normally no slouch in the foot-stamping look-at-me department. But the real scandal was how atrocious Cyrus’ performance was in artistic terms. She was clumsy, flat-footed and cringingly unsexy, an effect heightened by her manic grin.

How could American pop have gotten this bad? Sex has been a crucial component of the entertainment industry since the seductive vamps of silent film and the bawdy big…

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