Have you seen Miley Cyrus’ Instagram? Of course you have! She has well over 10 million followers That’s more people than live in New York City. That’s like 10 and half Rhode Islands. That’s insane.
And Miley’s no photographer. There’s nothing particularly beautiful or artistic about any of her shots. There’s an overwhelming number of selfies and photos of her pack of canines. And for some reason, it feels lonely. So lonely. Like “hold me” lonely. Let’s explore this.
Miley wears her heart on her Twitter. Remember when she tweeted at her famous dad, Billy Ray, “tell the truth or I’ll tell it for you” when her mom filed for divorce? She’s not hiding much, this one. All her feelings are laid out on the web.
Miley’s had a strange life so far. Instead of living in the relative safety of a college dorm where you talk to your roommates about everything, she lives on the internet. Which is pretty sad in and of itself. When you’re about 18 to 21, you stay up late with friends recounting in an eight-hour conversation every word the guy you like said, every weird feeling you had while peeing that morning, all the twisted thoughts that came into your head after smoking weed out of an apple. It’s a very dramatic age. And Miley Cyrus, at 21, really has exemplified this time of life over the past few years in a very public way.
Her VMA performance was shameful. It’s what happens when a 20-year-old with no real education gains too much power. It was clear that Cyrus was calling the shots and that she was woefully ignorant of anything being taught in women’s studies or black history classes. My general feeling on it was, “How embarrassing for her.” She brought pop culture back to the days of the Hottentot Venus.
You cannot talk about Miley now without bringing this up. Does it contribute in any way to her lonely Instagram? Maybe. Maybe the isolation and buffer fame provides has not only kept her from understanding gender and race issues but also from exploring anything much outside her own head. And she’s not a dummy.
That leads us to her recent video exploring the effects of LSD with the Flaming Lips — her fave band, which is not a bad choice — and Moby. Wayne Coyne titled this fantastic work of art “Blonde SuperFreak Steals the Magic Brain.” Miley posted its behind the scenes on Instagram, but only a few of those pictures included other people.
That’s the thing: Even when Miley’s taking a photo along with others, it’s like they’re not even there. It’s just her and the oculus of the camera. They’re about as present as her pups. Maybe she just spends a lot of time alone or fills the solo time taking photos with her iPhone.
Maybe I’m just projecting. Or maybe personal feelings of loneliness make me more sensitive to the fact that she looks so very alone. Even the photos of her dogs are lonely. I hope I’m wrong, though. I hope someone good is there for Miley IRL when she needs to talk about her last acid trip or has some “creative” ideas on her live performance concept. Like someone to advise her against wearing a Native American headdress while ushering in a train of immigrant children from Central America dressed as bears.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 25, 2014