Miley Cyrus shocked America with her recent, very sexual performance on MTV’s VMA awards show. Among other things, she simulated sex and used a large foam finger to touch herself.
Now, she is appearing completely naked riding a wrecking ball and sensually licking a sledge hammer in her newest music video.
Well, don’t be shocked.
Cyrus isn’t crazy, and she isn’t stupid. And she is certainly not talentless.
She knows or is responding to something that I have been writing about for years now: As technology sterilizes the range of human experience and drains our autonomy into the Web, leaving us spiritually empty, human beings will seek to remind themselves they are alive in very raw ways.
They will do this by having more sex, buying more sexually explicit material, watching and participating in extreme, dangerous sports, piercing themselves, tattooing themselves, drugging themselves to feel less spiritually dead and eating themselves into obesity.
Sex, drugs, violence and food are our unfortunate dams against the rising tide of complete depersonalization that we now face.
Miley Cyrus is just the leading edge of young people desperately searching for icons to keep them from drowning in the fakery of Facebook and iPhones and Twitter and addiction to plastic surgery and the overuse of Prozac and the scientifically unsettled, psychologically unsettling implications of “gender reassignment.”
With little to believe in (certainly not their individual initiative or dreams, given what I call the “dependency drug” being sold from D.C.), they know they can at least believe in a flat abdomen, in their ability to attract the opposite sex, in their ability to bring sexual partners to climax and in their own ability to climax.
When we have a camera-ready president all too ready to go on late night TV talk shows again and again and chat glibly about world events, who is also willing to model on the cover of GQ magazine, and U.S. senators willing to appear in movies playing themselves, a first lady who is willing to appear in a hip-hop video and Senator John McCain tweeting his opposition to Secretary of State John Kerry’s comments about Syria, we have lost our way so completely, have gotten so utterly sucked into the Web of technology, we are so far on the road toward disempowering ourselves by essentially “playing” ourselves in mini-reality TV versions of what could have been our real lives, that Miley Cyrus looks to young people like a road back to reality.
Did Senator McCain’s staff even consider that it might be better for a patriot, decorated war hero and supreme public servant to not “Tweet?”
Maybe next stop is "Dancing with the Stars"?
Miley Cyrus is the Mixed Martial Artist of pop. But she isn’t just gloves-off, she’s topless and bottomless. And so what if she supposedly lost the cover of Vogue because of her antics. Fashion magazines are now officially a joke compared to the reach of the Internet.
After all, as an entertainer and icon she has to stay several steps ahead of mainstream America, which is flocking to styles like the “crop top” just heralded by Fashion Week in New York—a top for women this spring that bares the skin under their breasts, all the way down past their belly buttons.
With otherwise serious people going around half-naked to attract the opposite sex, what is a diva to do?
Keith Ablow, MD is a psychiatrist, and was host of the nationally-syndicated "Dr. Keith Ablow Show." He is a former member of the Fox News Medical A Team.