Saturday, September 14, 2013

I Call Your Miley Cyrus and Raise You a Mick Jagger

So, former Disney child-bot Miley Cyrus attempts to add an urban edge and adult entertainment* aesthetic to her brand and in the process raises a kerfuffle. With the help of a latex granny bikini, some arse presentation, crotch-to-crotch twerking, racial and sexual stereotypes, general pandering and otherwise poor role modeling, her VMA performance goes viral, stirs some loins, and excites a media spew cycle into hyperdrive.

Why the ado? I, for one, don't get it. Putting aside the obvious racial issues, (which is a whole other discussion), was her so called sexed up performance really so boundary pushing? Considering what Jayne Mansfield did with a with a neckline nearly 60 years ago, and Madonna's Boy Toy floor show in '84, not to mention bumping and grinding going back to the '70s, I'd say no. And as for the twerking and diddling with that oversized foam finger, even those seemed tame compared to what Madonna and Britney Spears did with their tongues back in '03. I will say that Cyrus's apparent eagerness to submit herself to a kind of hoary version of objecthood was disappointing. For all of Madonna's erotic explorations, she always managed a kind of liberation and female emancipation, even when she flirted with bondage.

*Then, as if to put an exclamation point on her VMA aesthetic, this: Objecthood squared—the pitiable scorned woman in her requisite period of self-immolation (or whoring as the vid seems to indicate).

What I find more troubling was Mick Jagger's lechy and coercive Lolita/granddaughter fantasy performance with Christina Aguilera.

Sure, the age difference is creepy but it's only part of the issue: If crinkly Viagra Spider Mick can still draw in the blondined flies, more power to him. The bigger issue is how he lords his status over Aguilera as he pulls her in for the Jagger dagger and his other various skank. Aguilera, who's clearly honored to be on stage with these iconic grayheads, is also loath to act in anyway unbecoming to Sir Jagger. Jagger for his part was acting much more like Chester the Molester than what we might have expected from the exalted Knight Bachelor, father of seven (four daughters), and four-time grandfather.

Judge for yourself. The fact that these overripe "bad boys" The Stones can have their tours underwritten by multinational corporations and share the stage with comely pop celebrities to be ham-handed and drooled over by the legendary lips may just be the spoils of a unique success. (And so "every hero becomes a bore at last," as said Emerson.) And while the moves may not quite be like Jagger anymore, Sir Mick still seems to think so. Maybe in the presence of sweet smelling Aguilera he just forgot for a moment what a Grecian Formula-44'd, Retin A'd Viagra cocktail that he actually is. (Doesn't he at one point ask Aguilera don't you want to f**k with me?) And honestly, ol' Mick doesn't sound half bad.

Then again, maybe we should all be so lucky.

The lyrics of Live with Me were featured in the textbook of my first college literature class. (They were pretty good, I'll give you that.)

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