Miley Cyrus could either be the next Madonna or the next Howard Hughes. The next Michael Jackson or the next, well, Michael Jackson. In other words, she could be an enduring superstar or completely flame out, and this profile by Ronan Farrow (who knows a little thing about growing up in a celebrity bubble) in W makes both possibilities seem equally likely.
Among the details we learn about Miley: She apparently hates to leave her house, doesn't listen to people unless they're talking about music, and relates strongly to Blanche Dubois, the mentally frail heroine of "A Streetcar Named Desire."
Some of the things Miley doesn't like to listen to are the accusations that her act, which frequently involves spanking and groping women of color and little people, is offensive. "I don’t give a s---," she says. "I’m not Disney, where they have, like, an Asian girl, a black girl, and a white girl, to be politically correct, and, like, everyone has bright-colored T-shirts. You know, it’s like, I’m not making any kind of statement. Anyone that hates on you is always below you, because they’re just jealous of what you have."
Probably it's not a great idea to respond to accusations of racism with "You're below me." That could be misconstrued. Or correctly construed. Miley's own cast, though, also spoke out in her defense.
“I say, ‘Bah, humbug’ to that,” African American backup dancer Amazon Ashley says to critics. “Miley treats me with the utmost respect. Twerking is my act. It’s what I enjoy; it’s who I am.”
Little person Brittney Guzman agrees. “When she grabs my boobs, we’re just having fun,” she says. “It’s not degrading.”
"We're just having fun" has never sounded so creepy.