Miley Cyrus Wrecks Your Idea of Herself

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So, I recently watched Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball” video, and I gotta say … I know everyone’s still pissed about her VMA performance, and I have some feelings about that too, but this video on its own is actually really fucking good.

People have been saying it’s disturbing or cheap or trashy, and I disagree. Women wear skimpy clothing and dance provocatively in videos for male artists all the time. Every day, we see women in the media used as props to make the men around them look better. A woman’s beauty and sexuality are used as a marketing tool for cars, beer, web hosting, you name it. What people can’t stand is that in this video, Miley absolutely works her stuff in way that benefits herself instead of someone else. She’s getting naked to sing a song and sell some records. She’s making money. Yes, it’s shameless. It should be. If a man had *ahem* assets like that, you bet he’d be working it to sell some records. Why shouldn’t Miley?

I’m not saying I agree with everything the girl does. I think her VMA performance (along with her video for “We Can’t Stop”) was a disaster because it treated black women’s bodies as a joke. I wasn’t fond of the dancing with Robin Thicke because his whole damn song is about date rape. And I don’t approve of twerking not because it’s too sexual but because the mere thought of doing it makes my back hurt. Yeah, so what, I’m old.

Anyway, I’m not some die-hard Miley defender. I’m not really a fan of her music. I think she needs more sane adults in her life. But as for her music videos, I think the strong reactions people have to her are more indicative of our own hangups than something wrong with her. If it freaks you out that much to see a woman acting sexy without a man around, maybe you’ve got some shit to work through. If you’re afraid she’s sending the wrong message to young women, maybe think about what message you’d like your daughter to receive and then have an honest conversation about that. And of course, if you simply don’t like what you’re seeing, you have options. You could go make something better.

 

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Monday Night Nonfiction: Arson

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He said, Go write. Write what? Write something just for you.

Everything I write is for me. Get in the moment of ink in pen on page stop thinking thinning out like hair growing up going up to some height unseen uncomposed undreamed. Forget to plan the right word foot in mouth disease like the dis-ease of life watch my glass ice melting smoke fills this room in me. I am a house on fire, and inside me, someone’s choking on smoke. Those poems I used to write. I was a natural. I was brilliant beautiful unedited, uncensored, unplanned. I was surprise. On the page making myself, many versions of myself, cry. Laughing so hard at how ridiculous life is all the times you’re so desperate to feel something you’ll pretend to be in love. Then real love throws you for a loop, and you have to admit to all those years of lying. But you weren’t lying. You were just pretending. It was a game. I don’t care if she doesn’t get it. I don’t get a lot of writers and I don’t expect them to write me a preface.

There is no preface to me. This is, I am, writing is experience. I am asking you to submit yourself to this experiential learning. Conceptual ideas abstractions don’t work here. We’re talking about abstractions already. You can’t make abstractions about abstractions. That’s just stupid. That’s why we never get anywhere. So that’s it.

Stop and take a sip. Get your head together again. Relight the incense. Be glad you can’t erase this. If only all life really were recorded in some great book. Memoir is how we make up for all our lost belief. There is no god to tell me I’ve been good and treasure all my deeds, so I commit them to pages and leave them to you, world.

Stop stopping to think goddamnit. He said write something for you. Do it. I don’t know how. How how how to be mine and that’s what’s scary. Yes to the night. Yes to time. Yes to smoke filling that room inside me.

Get out goddamnit get out. Climb the ladder of my lungs and slide down my tongue to freedom. Open the shades of my eyes and jump for crying out loud. Get free. Get out. Smoke is filling that room, smoke from an infinite fire, and you’ve got to open up some doors or die.

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I Love Cindy Gallop

Cindy Gallop phptographed by Kevin Abosch

“Because it is uncomfortable to work with women, because we are different from you. Women ask tough questions, they ask them in life and they ask them in business. /…/ Greatness comes out of discomfort. Hire women, champion women, promote women, spend time with women. It is not as comfortable as hanging out with the guys, but it’s going to be more productive.”
Cindy Gallop on why you need to hire women

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No Explanations, Please

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Here’s something I’ve learned about poetry and all kinds of art: Don’t explain it.

The more explaining you do, the less interested I am. An explanation might as well be an apology. Like you need someone to approve of what you’ve created. Fuck that. You don’t need approval to be human, do you? Then why does your art need approval?

Put the work out there. Let it speak for itself. Maybe it catches on. Maybe it doesn’t. But if you have to tell people, “It’s a joke,” that’s how you know that shit’s not funny. And if you have to explain your art, that’s how you know it’s not working. That’s ok. Keep trying. Not everyone will get it.

Someone will say, “But it’s just a urinal that you signed,” and you’ll say, “Yes, exactly.”

And someone else will get it. They’ll smile or cry or tell someone about it, and you’ll know you’re getting somewhere.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t educate your audience. One of my favorite things is to go to a museum with someone who’s knowledgable about the things we’ll be seeing so I can learn about both the art and the person I’m with. But as an artist, you should resist the temptation to justify yourself. Focus on honing your work instead.

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