Feature

Miley Cyrus: What was that all about?

The star's performance at the MTV awards contained a “cavalcade of behavior that would have made even the mayors of Sodom and Gomorrah blush.”

“Mommy, what is Miley Cyrus doing to that teddy bear?” That was the question collectively asked by impressionable young children across the nation this week, as they sat down with their parents to watch the former Disney star perform at the MTV awards, said Todd Starnes in FoxNews.com. Supposedly kid-friendly, the show contained a “cavalcade of behavior that would have made even the mayors of Sodom and Gomorrah blush”—and Cyrus’s set even outdid Lady Gaga’s seashell-bikini act. Dressed in nude-colored panties, Cyrus, 20, delivered a salacious, rump-shaking performance in which she lolled her tongue suggestively and did “unmentionable” things with giant teddy bears. “When she wasn’t simulating relations with a stuffed animal, Miss Cyrus was incessantly scratching her nether regions” with a giant foam finger and grinding her derriere against 36-year-old R&B singer Robin Thicke. Even by MTV standards, her pornographic performance set a “new low for filth and debauchery.”

Don’t blame Miley, said Sadhbh Walshe in TheGuardian.com. Everything that she did—from the “crotch grabs to the simulated masturbation”—she copied from Madonna, Britney Spears, and Lady Gaga, all of whom got rich and famous by marketing themselves as sex objects. Madonna even managed to pass off her sexual shtick “as a grand gesture of female self-determination.” In Miley’s hands, though, the frantic sexuality looked forced and embarrassing. Blame Hannah Montana, said Pepper Schwartz in CNN.com. Cyrus can’t seem to get away from the shadow of her wholesome kids’ TV character. Her bumping and grinding was clearly aimed at killing off Hannah once and for all—a “screw you” that said, “I am a fully sexual, bad-assed vixen. Live with it.”

Most viewers—especially older ones—weren’t impressed, said Joe Coscarelli in NYMag.com. The Parents Television Council blasted MTV for “marketing sexually charged messages to young children using former child stars.” On MSNBC’s Morning Joe, co-host Mika Brzezinski was apoplectic. “That was disgusting and embarrassing,” she said. “That young lady is obviously deeply troubled, deeply disturbed.” But despite such outrage, or perhaps because of it, said Jim Farber in NYDailyNews.com, Cyrus’s performance generated a peak of 306,000 tweets per minute. For days, it was a dominant topic in the entertainment world. In a culture where chatter is now the ultimate measure of success, Miley succeeded wildly in “what really matters: dominating the conversation.”

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