With thought-leaders like Rush Limbaugh calling Miley Cyrus’s performance of “We Can’t Stop” and “Blurred Lines” at this weekend’s MTV Awards “just short of pornography,” it is important to clarify how an actual pornographer would have done it better.
Don’t Be A Sex Clown
As America’s Beloved Porn Journalist, I am comfortable being around public displays of sexuality and know that they have their place, especially in an environment conducive to making them sexier. But despite her outfit, Cyrus spent much of her time in a cheap pantomime of sexuality, contorting her face like a jackass, telegraphing both a lack of understanding of what sexy is and an inability to fully commit to her own. It was anything but adult entertainment.
Even an 18-year-old porn actress is cautioned not to overdo it, lest she appear like she’s just dressing up.
While she has been in front of a camera most of her life, Cyrus, at 20, has already aged out of porn’s ingenue terrible bracket and, had she chosen to perform at the AVN Awards, a thoughtful mentor like Nina Hartley would have suggested decorum befitting a gently-aging performer.
“Put your damn tongue back in your mouth,” Hartley might have said.
Don’t Mix Messages
Cyrus begins her medley with her own “We Can’t Stop,” in which dancers dressed as brain-damaged bears shuffle onstage expensively. “We Can’t Stop” is itself a childlike declaration of rebellion against nothing. Who has ever told Miley Cyrus she couldn’t party exactly as she wanted to? Was she refused dancing bears at her fifth birthday party? I don’t think so. Still, like a child, she employs grotesques from the official video of the song, including a woman with an abnormally large, stuffed butt with whom Cyrus is quick to declare solidarity. Are there places where girls with big butts can’t shake them? Yes: Schools, churches, and banks. But never are they told they can’t shake their butts at a party.
Had an actual pornographer directed this appearance, there would have been serious choices made about the number of additional personnel onstage, due to budget. The chorus line of furries would be gone, as would the Bread And Puppet-sized Big Ass Lady. Alone, singing against the Witness Protection Program-sounding backup rapper, Cyrus could have reflected the plaintive music of the song (someone who speaks no English could not listen to the chord structure and tempo of “We Can’t Stop” and understand why there are dancing bears in it). Instead, the stage looks like a children’s party with clowns and an endless supply of Ritalin.
Don’t Force It
But what has people talking is Cyrus’s transition to Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” in which she strips to plastic underwear, dons an inexplicable foam finger, twerks, and grinds against Thicke, who looks like The Muppets’ Sam the Eagle by comparison.
This did not strike me as a Fun Girl Having A Good Time. Instead it looked like the drunk girl at a party, the one who manages to turn off even the least-laid person there.
Whatever this performance was, it was neither sexy nor a mature expression of sexuality. Sadly, it is just a matter of time before porn starlets on red carpets will affect the Miley Rictus for the camera, forgetting that, now that they’ve sabotaged their own sexuality, they don’t have Disney royalties to fall back on.
Previously on Porn Valley Observed: Justin Timberlake’s “Tunnel Vision” does a disservice to nudity