Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Warholian Skew on Miley's Twerky Performance.

Something that belongs on Girls Gone Wild not the stage of the VMA's...or any stage for that matter.
I know what you're thinking, hell has frozen over indefinitely now that I'm comparing Miley Cyrus to Edie Sedgwick, but a friend of mine talked me into it and insisted I refer to him as the smartest most articulate person I've ever known. I know him from grad school, and it's not far from the truth actually. Anyway, back to this, which could be like riding a psychotic horse to a burning stable but we'll see how it goes. Robin Thicke, in many ways can be seen as a sort of Warholian figure, and his video for 'Blurred Lines' if not for Pharrell's funky beats, and hashtags, and use of well...color and sound, could easily have been a Warhol film from the 60's. 
the only thing gratuitous about this video is the exploitation.

Warhol almost always used naked actors and actresses, but calling them actors is a bit of a stretch.
If we're talking about exploitation, gratuitous nudity and implied sex that is not actually pornographic in any way, that's basically the recipe of every Warhol film (discounting Empire (1964)). He's a voyeur in a sense that he controls but does not participate. This is how he compares to Robin Thicke, which could be to do with him being a married man, (WHA??) but still that's the vibe that he gives off. And consider he sang little more than two lines at his VMA performance which still has people everywhere cringing, we can liken him to a Warholian-type voyeuristic pleasure seeker, way better than his original nickname which was; total fucking idiot. 
Besides that thought, this is exactly the kind of thing Warhol would have loved, being the VMA performance that made everyone do a quick dash to the bathroom for a hurl and a half. It was at its utmost pure exploitation, and especially exploitation of the seemingly vulnerable. It really sickens me to liken Miley Cyrus to Edie Sedgwick, but it's a probability that I can't sidestep. Let's examine the similarities and not the differences. Sedgwick had what we like to refer to as a 'predatory father', we can also say the same for Miley. Yes, he's funny and weird, and a stage-dad/dad-a-ger what ever you want to call him, but his presence makes him seem rather creepy and always put her in the position of what Edie basically was which was a poor-little-rich-girl. She cemented her kinderwhore style at the VMA's by performing basically like a child dizzy on lemonade who just had their first wet dream. And even though she's 20, old enough to vote, but not old enough to rent a car or buy alcohol, we still see her as the young and innocent Disney product even though she's desperately been trying to break the mold. And still, acting like a hyper-sexualized kid is not what's going to do it. You either take the plunge and go full on sexually aware woman on everyone like Britney or Christina, or you stay in the Disney bubble forever and get all Mickey Rooney towards the end, and that's just sad for everybody. 
What Miley symbolizes as a 'child' is similar to what Edie symbolized in her innocence amongst a sea of perverts, vagrants, and lost souls of the factory when she showed up on the scene. Not much older than Miley (22) when Warhol first took her in, it was a big change in the tempo. She resembled a small beautiful boy, almost like a Greek cherub minus the fat arms, who was going to lead everyone into the light. Unfortunately, Edie's dark side was far more morose than anyone had every anticipated and she quickly began to self destruct. It appears that the same is happening with Miley, whoever her Warholian figure is at the time, will eventually lead to her destruction, because behaving like a child whilst exploiting yourself as a full fledged sexual creature is no fun for anyone to watch. That's basically why Warhol's films are so uncomfortable to sit through. 

I hate to admit it, but at the VMA's Miley did tend to resemble Edie to some degree, but only in physicality. That's where I draw the line.
If that performance reminds me of anything, it's of Warhol's Beauty #2 (1965), where Edie and another Warhol superstar; Gino Piserchio are sitting on a large bed while off-camera, a menacing voice asks Edie increasingly personal and hostile questions, while Gino keeps trying to get it on with her. That film was the essence of exploitation, particularly exploitation of innocence. And in a way, that's exactly what Miley's performance was, though perhaps she was the one who was pushing herself into all of these awkward situations, it begs the question; why are we so uncomfortable right now? 
Warhol once famously said; 'if someone wants to make a movie on their life, you can do one or two, or three, for as long as they remain interesting'. Perhaps that's what's happening to Miley. She's desperate to remain in the spotlight, and is doing whatever she can, even self-exploitation (a very Warholian concept) in order to achieve it. In this sense she's more like Ingrid Superstar, and Edie clone (I don't have time to give you the history, look her up) in that she's desperately trying to be something she's not because she knows it will make her famous, or keep her famous, if only for a short period of time.
Warhol never seemed to want people to have genders, or sexuality, he wanted them to be ambiguous and yet objects of sexual desire. Edie, if you haven't noticed by now, was fraught with sexuality, even though she dressed herself up like a little boy just out of ballet practice. While on the completely opposite side of the spectrum Miley is doing her utmost to prove that she's peaked in sexual maturity. But twerking up on a 36 year old man while stick your tongue out Gene Simmons style is only going to turn people off instead of turning them on, which is what Edie was capable of doing just sitting on a stool smoking a long cigarette. 
Miley's been trying too hard for years now. Remember her dancing on an stripper pole (ahem excuse me, ice cream stand pole) a couple years back to 'Party in the USA'? I don't even remember if that was the VMA's or the Teen Choice awards or some such garbage, I just remember, again, being grossed out. 
Which brings me to a very interesting point. in 2000, the bar was set way high by another teen idol and former Disney product; Miss Britney Spears who was all of 19 (a year younger than Miley at the time) when she performed 'Oops...I Did It Again' which basically skyrocketed her from teeny-bopper pig-tailed jail-bait to a full fledged woman with abs that won't quit, messy sex hair, and the best damn hip-hop choreography of the that era. She ripped off her retro suit to expose a scantily clad glitter two-piece costume, basically her own version of the infamous 'skin and beads' dress Marilyn Monroe performed in when she sang Happy Birthday to President Kennedy. She owned the night that night, and people took notice that she was no longer Britney Spears with double braids and a catholic school girl uniform. She was a woman now, and she knows exactly how to move herself around. She's a sexually aware being, and get the fuck out of her way or she'll lock step your ass into the background where you belong. 
Miss Spears owning it at the 2000 VMA's. Every girl watching was staring at her in awe wishing that was them up there.
Miley's choreography (which I'm sure she conceived herself) was basically her trying to be hip-hop and burlesque through the cheeseball filter all at once, and it was the most embarrassing thing I've literally ever seen. Smacking your back-up dancers, twerking on a middle aged man, and pretending your ridiculous foam finger is a giant dong is not dancing. Miley, you are no Britney, you are no Edie, you are a wannabe superstar at best, you should Google 'Ingrid Superstar' if you're reading this. Just like you, she was poor white trash from bumblefuck nowhere whom someone greater than them turned into a phenomenon, but for only those famed 15 minutes. And honey, you're clock is ticking. There's a difference between slutty and sexy, between the obscene and the erotic, the vulgar and the enticing, and Warhol was always interested in the latter. No matter how gratuitous and nudity-filled his films were, they were seldom vulgar, and if they were, it was intentional. Miley's performance was nothing short of disgusting, and Warhol, were he alive right now, wouldn't touch her with a ten foot pole.

For your viewing pleasure: 

And finally... 

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